WSOP 2013: This or That with Ville Wahlbeck

July 10, 2013

This was not Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck’s best WSOP. As play continues on Day 2C, Wahlbeck is already out. Nevertheless, he has a long history in this city.

For the better part of a decade, the man from Finland has flown across the world to test his mettle against some of the best in the city in the heart of the scorched desert. In that time, Wahlbeck, who plays on PokerStars under the screen name “V. Wahlbeck,” has notched 12 cashes for $1,174,684–including a bracelet win in the 2009 WSOP Event #12 $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event for $492,375.

Prior to that, Wahlbeck had a standout year in 2007 when he cashed three times–20th in Event #11 $5,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud for $8,460; 82nd in Event #19 $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em for $4,310; and 56th in Event #30 $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em / Six Handed for $4,091. Aside from his exploits on the live scene, Wahlbeck has established himself as one of online poker’s most formidable player in both high-stakes cash games and tournaments. Regarding the former, he can often be found playing the nosebleeds against players like “Odd_Oddsen” and Ben “Ben86” Tollerene, while the latter was evidenced by his runner-up finish in a 2010 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) No Limit Hold’em event for $453,850.

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Wahlbeck, who is fluent in both Finnish and English and worked as a freelance journalist and elementary school teacher before finding poker, agreed to be the subject of the latest edition of This or That, a piece dedicated to finding out about the softer side of Team PokerStars Pros.

Chad Holloway: When did you play your first World Series of Poker?

It was like 2003, then after that I’ve been here almost every year for the past ten years.

Where do you usually stay when you’re here?

Different hotels, I’ve been trying a lot of different hotels just to see how they are and whether or I like them. It also depends on the mood I am in. If you want to see a lot of people and have a lot of noise, then you take something on the Strip. If you want a quieter place you take something off the strip that doesn’t have a casino in it.

What’s your favorite hotel in Vegas?

The new one, Cosmopolitan, is really good. They have balconies there. The ones facing the strip are great during the night. I like Cosmopolitan a lot.

What do you like to do in Vegas outside of poker? Do you go to the clubs?

Very rarely. I mean Vegas has always been just gambling for me. I’ve gone to play some poker, and sometimes to play some golf, but it’s usually too hot during the day that it’s not enjoyable. Every now and then I find something entertaining. Shows and all the other attractions, but after a few years you kind of get used to them and they become sort of boring. It’s an amazing place but I wouldn’t come here every year if it wasn’t for the WSOP. Once or twice, everyone should visit Vegas it’s so unique.

What’s you schedule like when you’re in Vegas? Do you play mainly cash games or tournaments?

I just go with how I feel. There were a couple years when I tried to play too much of both and it didn’t end up well. I think most of the players should focus on either or, just playing a lot of cash games or a lot of tournaments. Just trying to play both you get exhausted really fast.

How has the 2013 WSOP been for you so far?

Not so well. I’ve only played two events before the Main Event and haven’t cashed. So nothing very good, but this is a short trip for me. Usually I’d be here for a month or more, but this time I’m only here for a week and a half, maybe two weeks.

What are your plans now that your WSOP is finished?

Take a holiday, vacation, for maybe a month and then start grinding online. Live games again sometime at the end of August or September. I’ll also definitely be at the EPT Barcelona and a couple of other EPTs too, but that’s after the summer. It’s been a long year and the summer is so short that I’m just going to enjoy my time.


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