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Morten Mortensen on Keeping Your Head in the Game

Morten Mortensen
  • Morten Mortensen discusses his QQ-vs.-AA hand versus November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka at #EPTBarcelona.

  • WATCH: Danish player Morten Mortensen on keeping your cool and losing the minimum in tournaments.

Danish poker player Morten Mortensen has fashioned quite a career over the last six years, accumulating nearly $950,000 in tournament winnings while consistently collecting cashes all over Europe.

Although he's scaled back his schedule somewhat recently, Mortensen was back at it during the recently completed European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event, making a deep run despite having to overcome a big hit early on Day 4 in a hand versus November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka.

There were about 100 players left, and with the blinds at 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante, Ruzicka opened for 30,000 from under the gun and it folded to Mortensen on the button who looked down at {Q-Hearts}{Q-Spades} and flat-called.

The blinds stepped aside, and the flop came nine-high — {9-Spades}{7-Hearts}{3-Hearts}. Ruzicka continued with a bet of 64,000 and Mortensen just called again, then after the {5-Hearts} fell on the turn Ruzicka checked. Mortensen fired 88,000 and Ruzicka called, bringing the pot to just about 400,000.

The river was a classic no-limit hold'em "blank" card — the {2-Spades} — and Ruzicka checked again. This time Mortensen bet 175,000 and Ruzicka called, turning over {A-Diamonds}{A-Spades} and collecting the big pot.

Ruzicka was up over 1.1 million after than hand while Mortensen was suddenly below 240,000. He still had his seat, however, and had he played his pocket queens differently, he might well have been out of the tournament despite the deep stacks.

Mortensen regrouped, and within an hour had gotten himself back up over the 1 million-chip mark himself, setting up for what would ultimately prove a 10th-place finish — equaling the 10th-place showing he had at the EPT Barcelona Main Event back in 2012 during Season 9.

Our Sarah Herring spoke with Mortensen the following day about that hand as well as his decision to play less frequently and — as he puts it — to approach poker more "as a hobby" in order to "play more relaxed" and perhaps deal more effectively with hands like the queens-versus-aces encounter. Take a look:

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