Interview with Sami "LarsLuzak/LrsLzk" Kelopuro

Sami "LarsLuzak/LrsLzk" Kelopuro.

HighstakesDB recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions from Finnish high stakes legend Sami "LarsLuzak/LrsLzk" Kelopuro. Most of our readers remember "LarsLuzak" from playing the huge nosebleed cash games on Full Tilt Poker. However, recently Kelopuro has focused more on playing tournaments and with very good results - both online and live. Check out what he had to say.

Interview with LarsLuzak

Hi Sami, most of our readers might not know how you got started in poker. Can you tell just briefly how you got started and moved up in levels?

LarsLuzak's biggest pot ever
Dec 20, 2008: $637,353

I think it was late 2005 when I first played poker. My friends were playing and I was invited to some home games and got very interested of the game and soon started trying online poker. I played small stakes for about six months before anything much happened, I think it was after cashing small 4-figures from some tournament I tried higher games, that would be like $1/2NL and $2/4NL and then I started rising quickly on stakes. I improved fast, the games were soft and I was lucky enough not to go broke even though there wasn't much bankroll management involved.


Congratulations on your recent online tournament success - you came close winning both the FTOPS High Roller and Sunday Million. Do you play a lot of online tournaments usually?

Thanks. "Usually" might be still a bit of a stretch. I used to play online tournaments just a few times a year, last year I started to play a some more, but usually would only describe this year so far. I'll probably keep on playing most sundays and whenever there are some bigger tournament-series running.


Although you haven’t been seen at the highest stakes you have been seen a lot playing $10/$20 on networks such as Ongame – is this just while you build a high enough roll to take on the nosebleeds, or is it that these days you just feel more comfortable being able to still make a very good living without the concerns of a major downswing?

It's definitely more of grinding a living. I have no plans for nosebleeds, I'll take a day at a time - see what happens and how things go. I'm much more concerned about my game selection and bankroll management than I used to be.


You will always be remembered as one of the first online high stakes superstars, which current nosebleed superstars do you rate as being among the best?

Ben86, Jeans89, Phil Galfond to mention a few - more so in PLO though, NL is a bit harder to say, especially when I haven't been active in high stakes for two years or so.


2013 has seen some insane action so far, Isildur1 in particular involved in several multi-million dollar swings. What’s your opinion on the most talked about player online, madman or genius?

He is definitely very skilled and talented, but also a madman at the same time. Maybe it's because I've become more of a solid grinder myself, but I really don't understand why he needs to have all of everyones money right away from all the games out there. Honestly, I think his money is going to run out before he becomes the best in every single game. He is a great poker player and a very nice guy from what I've seen and I do wish all the best for him.


Over the past year or so more and more high stakes pros have broadened their horizons to include games like triple draw, Omaha hi/lo and 8-game – do these games interest you or are you purely a “big bet” poker person?

Maybe some day. Would be very nice to be able to play all the games good, but It's not that tempting to start from scratch and spend hundreds of hours learning. I started to play PLO from the highest games, and I'm definitely not going to do the same mistake again with other games.


Do you spend time with poker players outside of your “dayjob” – there are quite a few decent Finnish players, do you guys hang out together like a lot of the American and UK players do?

Yes, I've made some good friends out of poker, Finnish and other. I'd say I spend more time with my none-pokerplaying friends, but still - there are a lot of great guys from poker I hang out with.


Having had such a (relatively) long online poker career and still being so young, is there anything long term you want to do career or life-wise, or are you more than happy being a professional poker player for the time being?

I'll try to keep my eyes open for everything, I also want to do something else with my life, other than poker. I don't know what exactly, and I'm definitely not going to quit poker - but I'm not that passionate about the game anymore (at least at the moment), so I wouldn't mind playing half-time and doing something else on the side.


Will we see you at more live tournaments?

Yea, I didn't play much live last year but now I'm planning to go to a few events soon. Maybe EPT Monaco and WSOP to start with.


Does winning something like an EPT or a WSOP bracelet mean anything to you?

Anything, yes, but it wouldn't be such a big deal. Anyone can win one tournament. Long-term success is way more important.


For all our LarsLuzak fans out there, where is the best place to find you playing these days?

I mostly play cash games on other sites than FTP and Stars and I don't want to give out my other screen names. So, LarsLuzak and LrsLzk is pretty much only seen on online tournament tables for now. Things can change quickly though.

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