Exclusive Interview with Sami "LrsLzk" Kelopuro

Picture courtesy: PokerStars
Online games are getting tougher each year and it takes a lot of effort to beat the games nowadays, says Kelopuro.

Finnish high-stakes legend Sami "Lrslzk/LarsLuzak" Kelopuro joined recently HighstakesDB for a short email interview. Over the last few years, Kelopuro has made a succesful transition from the big No-Limit Hold'em cash games to Pot-Limit Omaha and just last month we witnessed one session on PokerStars, where he left the tables a $300k winner.

Hi Sami, thanks for talking to us. First off, can you tell a little what is going on in your life at the moment?

Nothing too spectacular going on right now, the usual poker life. I’ve been working really hard on my game this year.

You have played the big Pot-Limit Omaha games recently on PokerStars, have you switched now completely to PLO from NLHE (in cash games), or is just because there is no action in NLHE?

Yea, a long time ago actually. I’ve been playing less and less NLHE, almost none this year. I think the action is much better in PLO, also I’m not good enough to compete in NLHE anymore. At least for the moment. I’d like to take the time to improve my Holdem game too, but it’s really hard to find the motivation when there is so little action and the best players right now are miles ahead of me. Also, studying and playing PLO takes a lot of my time. Besides, if I’m going to start playing something other than PLO, it should probably be 8-Game. And that would take even more time to learn. I will consider getting into that at some point.

HSDB doesn't currently track the 5-card PLO on PokerStars, but there has been some action. What are your thoughts on that game type?

I think it’s a fun game, which is still pretty fresh even though it’s been around for some time now. There aren’t too many people who are specialized in that. There are some games out there, but the highest games are not running that much. The softwares for 5o are not as good as the ones available for NLHE and PLO. Also there aren’t that many coaching videos for it. I’m still pretty new to the game, but I’ve been doing really well. So far at least.

Recently fellow Finnish high-stakes pro, Patrik Antonius, claimed that all the tracking softwares out there have made the games unfair, at least in Hold’em and Omaha. Do you agree with him?

Yes and no. The softwares are available for anyone, so in that sense it’s fair. Would it be better for poker if no softwares were allowed? Probably yes. But it is what it is, it’s better to adapt in my opinion. It’s pretty hard to beat the highest games without using any software, when most of your opponents are.

In general, do you think there are still value in online games (tournament or/and cash games), or is the competition getting just too tough?

Obviously there are. Just much less than before, and it takes a lot of effort to beat the games. It has gotten really tough, and just keeps getting tougher. So the answer to this question might be different a few years from now, but let’s hope not.

I remember reading somewhere, that you are aiming for Supernova Elite on PokerStars, how is that going for you?

I’m almost there. 982k VPP right now, so just 18k to go. I was definitely not happy to read about the changes in the VIP program, it’s starting to look like it wasn’t a Halloween prank.

How was the 2015 WCOOP for you, I remember seeing you playing the massive $51k buy-in event at least?

I didn’t score anything remarkable in WCOOP. It’s nice to be a part of something like the $51k, even though it was probably –EV for me since I don’t play NLHE cash anymore, and I almost only play tournaments during these series. Same goes for $10k HU NLHE event, but no regrets.

I assume you didn't travel to Las Vegas this year for the WSOP. Have you been playing any live poker recently or do you have plans to do so in the near future?

I didn’t go to Vegas, I haven’t been playing any live poker in a long while and I have no plans for it at the moment. I will at some point though.

Viktor "Isildur1" Blom has absolutely been tearing it up this year and is nearing $5 million in winnings. What do you think is his secret to recent success? He seems to have more conservative approach to the game?

I don’t think it’s a secret that he is one the most talented players in the world. I haven’t played with him much other than some ring PLO, I assume most of his winnings are coming from HU PLO and 8-Game. Since I don’t play any 8-Game, I don’t have much idea what the rankings in there would look like.

Thanks a lot for the interview Sami and have a great end of 2015!


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