Full-Ring Friends Series: Ranka

A big thank you to Ranka for doing this interview! He was worried that his English wouldn’t be good enough, but he did an excellent job. It was great to learn more about him, how he became involved in poker and Estonian life.

You are from Estonia. A lot of us know absolutely nothing about your country… What are some of the things we should know and what are the pros and cons of living there?
It’s a very small ex-USSR country in Eastern Europe, next to Russia. It’s very nice place for living if you love nature, quietness and small cities but weather here sucks because most of the times it’s cold, wet and rainy. So personally I think it’s quite boring country where most of the times you have to wear heavy jacket (WCG|Rider’s legendary PokerStars jacket would be OK) not to get coldness.

What is the poker scene like there?
Poker is quite new game here and many people still don’t know anything about poker and they think that’s another gambling game. But day by day new people find the poker and game popularity is growing. So, every day you can find new faces in Estonian forums/poker rooms and it means that they are inexperienced players (read: fishes/donators/etc) and so games are here quite soft and average skill level is very low.

Tell me a bit about your poker story, how you came to be involved in online poker and what made you choose full-ring no limit games.
August, 2006 my friend won $500, playing tournament in online. My first thinking was: “It’s easy money” and I instantly opened a poker account. I didn’t make any deposits and played freerolls without success and I realized that is the game of skill not luck. I searched different strategies from internet and started to learn poker. Also, in this time I made 2-3 small deposits but lost them all and I gave up. Some months later, like dec. 2006, I bought some poker-books through poker-forum. After reading them, my skill improved and I was little bit lucky and won a tourney ($500) in January, 2007. It was my real first “big bankroll” and I switched to cash games. Firstly played 6max but 6max was too aggressive for me and there were too much betting. So I switched to full-ring and am still playing full ring 2 years now later.

What are some of the major breakthroughs and leaks that you have plugged in order to get the point of playing solid winning poker?
And the winner is… After signing up there and start reading and COMMENTING (it’s very important) I got better and still getting better and better and better and better. I love this site and it’s FREE, just be active and u gain new knowledge’s, friends, enemies etc.

How many hours a week do you generally put in at the tables?
I play too little, like maximum 30 hours in week. But I put lots of hours to other poker sources like forums, coaching, blogs etc.

What are the best and worst aspects of being a poker player?
The best aspect of being a poker player is that you have lots of free time, you can play (earn money) when you want and you earn lots of money quite easily. Bad aspect is that most people don’t realized that poker is the skill game and if you say that you play poker for living, they think you are liar and are poor person who is addicted by gambling.

What are some of the hobbies and interests you have away from poker that keep you level?
Jogging and gym, 3-4 times in week. No real hobbies, I am no-lifer obv.

What do your family (both immediate and extended) think of your poker playing?

Their first reaction was, that I am addicted by gambling (lol usual fish reaction) and I need help. I ignored their “good” advice, kept playing, made some money and paid very important bills – like bank depts. After that they know that it’s the skill game but still they don’t know exactly how you can be winner in poker.

$200frnl has been your regular game for a while, but recently you have been taking some shots at $400frnl. How has that been going and what are the major differences you have noticed between the two stakes?
Hmm.. 400NL is crazy game, I am definitely +EV here but my EV is too small. But thanks to good luck I am running like a god and showing pretty good win rate. I think I run much better than SobraoCoW. But generally 400NL is the limit where you can’t give up “small EV” pots anymore (like folding coinflip), otherwise you have to move down sooner or later.

As a PokerStars Supernova VIP what changes do you think could be made to the VIP program to improve it?
Heh, I don’t care about VIP program because PokerStars VIP Program sucks compared with other poker-rooms. If I want to be real VIP (like 60%+ rakeback + more extra bonuses) I should switch to Euro sites (Why I don’t do that — read the next question). But generally, I don’t like PokerStars tourney payout structure and large tourney fields. They should start capping some tourneys, like 1,000 players max or so.

As a European that could play at any number of sites what makes you chose PokerStars as opposed to others where the competition is probably softer?
Stars software is the best and that’s all.

Do you listen to music while you play? If so, what types of songs are on your current playlist?
Hmm… Sometimes I listen random radio, sometimes playlist with random songs and sometimes I don’t listen music, depends on my mindset.

Quick Quiz – Of All 2+2 SS Full Ring and PokerStars $200nl regulars
Best avatar?
Me obv.

Best strategy poster?
Dr. SABR42 and Mr. AllTheCheese are the best strategy posters IN THE WORLD.

Best trash talker?
They all said srk, I have to do the same. Srkbigbaby or whatever his name was.

Best 24-tabler?
I really don’t know and also I haven’t played 200NL lately. But at 400NL, GoMuckedSelf is super-good and playing tons of tables, probably 24.

SpeedleBoY the Portuguese Comedy Genius

Obviously Ms. LearningCurve and it’s not close!

Piscogay the Google Translator (I hope he don’t read this blog)

Most under-rated?
Dunno. Maybe Chargers in 08.

Most over-rated?

I think I skip it too because others did that as well. I don’t fear to post the names but I don’t think there are over-rated players. Maybe Mr. PotPattayHead? We thought he was good player but looking his 400,000 break-even stretch.. Don’t know.. Good player and experiencing 400k break-even stretch? Can’t be TRUE! Dude, if you read this blog (I hope he don’t) – quit smoking weed and try to learn more poker instead.

Who, if anyone, have you met in real life?

Most Tilty?
Cooooooooooordiiiiiiiiiiiiiii the WallPuncher and MouseCrusher

Least Tilty?
You my dear friend! Not you who currently reading it. I mean You, the blog author – EurekaKid.

Best table selection?


Best short stacker(lol)?
I called to my lawyer and he said that I should refuse to answer for this question.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • nice interview, ranka’s hilarious

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