EPT12 Malta: New cash record for Johnny Lodden

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Johhny Lodden happy with his 21st cash today

We love breaking records and reaching milestones on the EPT, whether they are our own or someone else's. Today, Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden broke a long-standing record and reached a new milestone when he reached the money in the Main Event for his 21st EPT cash. His teammate Luca Pagano cashed for the 20th time at the Deauville leg in Season 8 and Lodden drew level after his 111th place finish at this season's opener in Barcelona.

The Norwegian is already an all-time great when referring to EPT history and is only a Main Event victory away from becoming a true legend of the game. These stats prove the point:

-Cashed in 10 straight seasons (3-12)
-Cashed in 11 different countries (Malta now the 12th)
-Total number of cashes: 21
-Total amount cashed for: €1,267,562 (minus what he wins here)
-Best cash/result: 3rd at EPT9 Grand Final for €467,000
-Final tables: 3
-Top 20 finishes: 10

Lodden sat down with the PokerStars Blog and looked back at his time on the EPT. He talked about how he got started on the EPT, his style versus others and a couple of memorable hands.

"A company came on board and asked me to play for them, travel around to do commercials and play big events. For me it sounded really fun and I was planning to do it anyway but they offered to pay for it all! I don't regret it at all as I much prefer playing live to online and I'm sticking to that now.

"I didn't struggle to the pace of live poker at all. When I started playing live tournaments it was a different game. It was like playing online poker 15 years ago because everybody was so tight and playing straightforward. The thing I remember best was that everybody was 3x the big blind and that was when you started with 10,000 in an EPT Main Event compared to 30,000 these days. The levels went faster too and it seemed as if everybody was playing all-in poker all the time. I was the only one raising less as I realised the value of the chips where others didn't.

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A younger Johnny Lodden

"I did fairly well at the beginning and crushed day ones from the off. I remember one season with 10k starting stacks where I finished the first day of every EPT with over 100k and second was around 50k. I was just crushing through it and I don't know why!

"On day ones I like to play a lot, a lot, a lot of hands. I feel I have my advantage on day ones because I love to play deep and I love to play post flop. So on day ones you get to play as many hands as you want and I do very little three-betting or four-betting. Then I ramp it up a little on Day 2 and calm down again on Day 3. I use that strategy now.

"For me, poker is post flop. When the internet kids came around - a bunch of them - five years ago, you couldn't see a flop. Everyone was so aggressive: raise, reraise, reraise, reraise, all in, fold. You could never see a flop. I tried to change that up a little and the thing I love with playing those kinds of people is that you open, they three-bet and you just call. Then they're like, 'No. Based on what we do online, you are not allowed to call there, you either four-bet or fold.' So when they see a flop, they say, 'Okay, what is this? It's supposed to come five cards or no cards.' For me though, it was right to play like that as I was strongest post flop.

"I remember my first EPT as it was so much fun. A couple of other Norwegians went really deep too and I enjoyed the feeling of playing my first big live tournament after playing so much online. I remember it especially well as (Phil) Ivey came second and a close friend was sat next to, and chatting, to him. We were, and still are, Ivey fan boys.

"It can't only be bad beats that cost me getting to final tables in the earlier days; it had to be something I was doing as well. I normally had a lot of chips even when I busted 12th or 15th or 20th and was playing so aggressively, more aggressively than I do now. I was thinking that if I picked up ace-king I have to get it in preflop but now I don't feel like I have to get it in against queens for a battle of all the chips. With the experience I now have, it's much better to keep things smaller. I try to play small pots preflop and test it out more after.

"I remember a hand at an EPT in Prague that didn't hurt but it I played it so bad. I'd just won a massive pot and had a very big chip lead with three tables left. The very next hand I wasted it in a one-raise pot. I raised it up with aces and the big blind defends before I go nuts on a ten-six-four flop losing to aces. I was thinking to myself, 'What the f%$k am I doing here? Wow!' In that moment it felt like I had never played before.

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Lodden at the EPT10 Grand Final in Monaco

"A really good one was in Monte Carlo a couple of seasons ago when I was on the final table bubble and all in with ace-queen against nines and ace-five. There was a nine in the door and I made a backdoor straight to make the final table. That's, by far, the best feeling I've ever had playing live. Jason Mericer was on the table and walked up to the feature table after the flop came out, saying that the final table had been set. I was sat there, at that moment, thinking I was going to bubble another final table? I looked around at the players left and thought it would be so fun to play a final table with these guys, the sickest of all time. I was lucky but that's the hand I remember.

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Pagano here in Malta this week

"Breaking Luca's (Pagano) makes me feel very old! Nah, it feels good and makes you feel like you're doing something right. It's been very steady now for a couple of years, I can't remember the last EPT I didn't cash in the Main Event. I like the structure and always have the motivation to do well these days. When there were 15 a year, my head was always somewhere else and I was playing to get an early double or get out of there. So my motivation for poker is much better than it used to be years ago.

"I would love to win an EPT a lot. A fucking lot! I've been trying to win one of these for a long time now and I've been close. Maybe I'll just win this one as I have a decent stack and feel like I've been playing really good."

Begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS


Marc Convey
@The_Conv in European Poker Tour