Could we have a wire-to-wire champion in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event? Mark "Poker Ho" Kroon finished Day 1 as the overall chip leader, and he occupies the top spot in the chip counts again after another impressive performance on Day 2. We caught up with Kroon before the start of play to discuss his poker background and his success so far in this event.
How was Day 1 compared to Day 2 for you?
My Day 1 was really different. My Day 1 tables were really easy. By that I mean they were a lot softer. In Day 2 the players were a lot tougher but I had so many chips that I could overcome the fact that they were better players. In Day 1 there were just so many easier spots where I could pick up chips. Plus I was just running like a God. I flopped a lot of sets and picked up chips every time. At the end of Day 1 I probably jumped up 120,000 to 240,000 in the last couple of hours just because everyone tightened up so much because they wanted to make Day 2, making it easier to pick up chips.
You are really chatty at the table, telling lots of stories with a lot of energy. Do you think that helps or hurts your game?
I think it really helps. The more I get other people to talk to me the more information I can get about them. By talking to other players I can find out their experience level and if it is their first series. As we get closer to the money bubbles the information becomes more important. Someone who has cashed a bunch of times won’t play as tight as the guy who made his first appearance. There was a gentleman I was playing with Thursday who said this was his first tournament. He wanted to make Day 3 so bad. I kept raising him. I hate doing it but there was no way he was going to go broke at the end of Day 2 because he was determined to make it to Day 3. So he pretty much just kept giving me chips in the end because he would raise and I would re-raise knowing he would fold because he wanted to hang on as long as he could. I feel bad about that but if players are going to give me the information then I am going to use it.
You played 10 WSOP events in 2011 and cashed once, and played eight events in 2012 and didn’t cash at all. Have you been trying to improve your game?
I think I really improved my game. I think back in those days I didn’t really take the game as serious as I do now. I didn’t have the passion like I do now. I played more volume, which gave me a lot more confidence, and now I think I am making better choices, better folds, better calls — just things you pick up from playing so much. Now I am more focused.
I also went really deep in the Seniors Event this year. I finished 25th out of 4,400. I was actually chip leader with 40 people left and felt I should have won that tournament. That gave me a lot of confidence going into this event. To tell you the truth, I have so much confidence going into Day 3 that I don’t really see me not running really deep.
Where did “PokerHo” come from?
I thought it was a real catchy name. Having a really strong and aggressive name online is important. I just came up with and it just took off. It was a Godsend because I could use it to where people would just fold to me because of the name. Everyone thought I was this wild and maniac guy. The name really worked out great.
Do you have any superstitious routines for the rest of the series?
I’ve been wearing the same sweater for the last two days but it was so hot today that I don’t think it’s very clean. I probably won’t wear it tomorrow because it’s not comfortable anymore. I’ve also been wearing the same red socks. I’m thinking those are bad to wear again too. You might see me wearing something else tomorrow. Hopefully that won’t change my luck at all.