Top of the Tables for 'Tsitsomitsos'
PokerStars player 'Tsitsomitsos' from Greece is not a newcomer to the game. In fact he's been a PokerStars player since 2008 and joined our official poker school, PokerSchoolOnline, in 2011. It took those three tentative years playing recreationally for him to realise that he wanted to take the game more seriously, to work hard on improving his knowledge of the game, and to become a winning player.
That thirst for success and determination to succeed paid-off in January when he topped the Premier Skill League leader-board and collected the $5,000 prize-money that went with it. We took time out with 'Tsitsomitsos' to find out a little more about him and what winning the poker school league means to him.
PokerSchoolOnline: Tell us a little bit about the Monthly Leagues that they run at the Poker School?
Tsitsomitsos: The Monthly Leagues are the best way for new and intermediate players to practice their tournament skills. First of all they are for free, so everyone can participate. Secondly they offer substantial cash prizes at the end of the month so it's another great way for players to build their bankroll.
The Open Skill League is the first step. It emulates perfectly the conditions players are going to find themselves in when they compete in low buy-in, large field MTT's. At the end of each tournament, depending on your finishing position, you get points and at the end of each month you can compare your results to others as well as to your own results in previous months. Unlike regular tournaments you can lose points if you get eliminated too soon.
I can't even begin to describe how brilliant the concept is. The point system teaches players patience and the importance of survival and the monthly ladder motivates them to develop a stable schedule for playing poker. Most importantly it puts their mind-set in long term results. That's what MTT's are about in my opinion, developing a strategy that will allow you to be profitable in the long run. Variance is so high you can't really make any conclusions from the results of a single tournament. So, you can monitor your progress month by month and make adjustments to your strategy.
The top 500 players of Open Skill League get to progress to the following month's Premier League. The Premier has less players competing each month but the average skill level is a lot higher. It better emulates the late stages of a tournament where most weak players have been eliminated and the pay jumps are significant. I was amazed by the discipline and the great decisions players were making when I first started playing these leagues. It forces you to improve and you can learn a lot just by watching others. Because of the cash prizes the motivation to do well is also a lot higher.
PokerSchoolOnline: Now that you've won $5,000 in the leagues what will this mean to your Bankroll? Will you continue to play in the leagues or will you move up to higher stake games?
Tsitsomitsos: I already took my profits at the casino and put them all on red, unfortunately it came black! Seriously, it was a HUGE boost to my bankroll but since I still consider myself new to MTT's I want to progress slowly but steadily. This means I will keep playing the small buy-in tourneys and slowly add some more tournaments that have big prize pools, like the Sunday Storm for example.
I love the Premier League at PokerSchoolOnline and I'm going to continue competing there regardless of my bankroll. It's a unique form of competition you can't find anywhere else, I can't really describe the emotional swings and the pressure of competing at the top of the ladder where literally one point lost or won can be the difference between hundreds of dollars at the end of the month. Besides that free money is definitely +EV .
PokerSchoolOnline: Tell us about the Battleground poker forum threads each month and why it's good to encourage each other as the month progresses.
Tsitsomitsos: The 'Battleground' is a thread I stumbled upon when I was searching about the Skill Leagues in the poker forum at PokerSchoolOnline. It's supposed to be a ladder within the skill league ladder, with the person collecting the most points at the end of the month winning an $11 MTT offered by the poker school. What I found out is that it's more than that. It's a Community of players that support each other and rather than competing we encourage each other to do better and better. Playing online poker is usually a lonely activity but I learned that it doesn't have to be so, knowing that people are cheering for me has given me enormous strength and courage.
Apart from the emotional support there are a lot of experienced players offering valuable advice you can't get anywhere else. I'd highly recommend to anyone reading this to get involved and try it out for themselves.