Christian Jeppsson: "I would put a fishy note on myself"
He started this year as the world's top online poker player. Thirty-one-year-old Christian "eisenhower1" Jeppsson from Gothenburg, Sweden started playing poker back in high school with his friends. In 2006 he found PokerStars where his big breakthrough came after winning Sunday Warm-Up in July 2008 for $97,600. Now his total winnings online are more than $8.6 million. He's a regular on the European Poker Tour and has $530,000 in live tournament winnings.
After winning a lot of the major tournaments online, Jeppsson's first WCOOP win came last year in event #61 - $700 No Limit Hold'em 1R1A - where he beat a field of 518 players. This also secured his first spot on PocketFives world ranking. Jeppsson held on to it for 15 weeks straight until he finally had to let go to another Gothenburg resident, C.Darwin2, in February. Of the top 15 players in the world ranking right now, five are from Sweden, and four of them live in the same little city on the west coast.
After losing the top spot in February, this year hasn't been Jeppsson's best year online. But after a warm summer in Sweden off poker, Jeppsson came back filled with confidence for EPT Barcelona where he cashed in both the Estrellas and EPT Main Events, cashed in another side event, and finished second in the very last tourney of the festival for €70,700. It was a great warm-up before the three-week long grind a few weeks later when it was time for this years highlight: WCOOP.
Last week, in event #6, Jeppsson beat a field of 834 to secure his second WCOOP victory and $72,339.
I spoke to him after the win. Here's what he had to say.
PokerStars Blog: Congrats Christian! Well done! Is it time to take back the first spot now?
CJ: Nah. I don't think it's possible. "C.Darwin2" and "Lena900" are running way to good for it to be possible.
PSB: How important is the first spot really, and how did it feel to start 2016 as number one in the world?
CJ: I love all kind of competition, and to be able to compete about being number one in the world at your "job" is obviously very nice. It gives you some extra motivation on a boring weekday. But that first place doesn't mean you are the best player in the world, because you can't really measure it like that. Obviously it was really nice to get there after years of trying.
PSB: Another WCOOP win. Which one of them was the hardest to get?
CJ: The first one. That field was way tougher in the end of the tournament.
PSB: Do you play all the days during these three weeks?
CJ: Pretty much. Maybe I'll try to find one or a few days off, and I'll also try to change places where I play. I play some at home then go out to the country house, and then some others guys and me are going to sit together for a few days too.
PSB: Will you be playing any of the more expensive events?
CJ: I will play the 10k and obviously Main but not the Super High Roller.
PSB: Do you still just play No Limit Hold'em or have you find the urge to try any other games?
CJ: No I still only play NLHE.
PSB: When winning WCOOP-6, you we're behind when you started heads-up. How did you turn it around and what was your strategy?
CJ: I met someone heads-up who I felt was a weaker player, so I tried to hold down the pot sizes. I also flopped well, so it was pretty easy.
PSB: How's the year been? Have you played as much as you used to?
CJ: It's been a pretty bad year until now, so for my self-confidence it was very nice. I've stopped playing as much as I used to during weekdays, and I normally only play around three days instead of four-five like I used to. But during SCOOP and WCOOP, I play daily just like I before.
PSB: You finished EPT Barcelona with a second place finish in the 5k Turbo. Was it frustrating to not win since you still wait for the big win in live tournaments?
CJ: Of course I wanted to win. I always do, but in a turbo, there's a lot of luck involved, so I was happy to make it to heads-up to save the trip.
PSB: You've won almost $9 million online but "only" $530k live. Do you consider yourself a better player online, or is it just the quantity you've played online that's the difference?
CJ: Well, to say I won $9 million actually sounds better than it is. That sum says more about how much money I turned over and not how much I actually won since the buy-ins aren't included. I would say I have the same salary per hour when playing online as I have live.
PSB: How much would you consider online poker changed since you first started to play?
CJ: If I would see myself playing 7-8 years ago, today I would definitively put a fishy note on myself.
PSB: How do you do to always compete with the best?
CJ: There's a constant development of the game, and it's a lot about daring to test different theories and to make mistakes. As long as you analyze the mistakes you and others make, you will develop to a much better player. I discuss poker on a daily basis with some of the best players in Sweden. Discussing poker is very important to not stop the process of developing your game.
PSB: What are the plans for the rest of 2016? Will you go to Mexico like last year?
CJ: No, not this time. I'll go to Prague in December, and then I'm going to spend more time at home since I now have a girlfriend who I live with and who has a normal job and can't be away for two months. But maybe we'll go on a shorter vacation instead of me going with my poker buddies.
PSB: So what does your new girlfriend think about your job?
CJ: I let her answer this one herself (Christian gives her the phone). I think it's nice that Christian has a job that gives him as much freedom to work from wherever he wants to. It was a changeover for me to understand that he goes to bed as late as he is and that he drinks his morning coffee at 2pm. Now during WCOOP I try to help him and push him to do long walks and go to the gym to be able to stay focused for that many hours.
PSB: How do you manage to play and also try to have a "normal" life on the side?
CJ: Of course it's a bit hard when you don't sleep during the same hours, but I try to not play as many days as I used to and try to have a normal life in-between.
PSB: What will you do ten years from now?
CJ: Hopefully I have a family and play poker on a more recreational level. I hope I can stay healthy and enjoy life. Maybe play some golf on a daily basis.