Interview: A conversation with German talent Manig Loeser

With more than $8M in live earnings on the international poker circuit, Manig Loeser is one of the most talented German players. He spent his last few weeks in Rozadov for the WSOPE where our reporter Gaelle Jaudon had the chance to meet him.

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Manig Loeser – Photo King’s Casino

Somuchpoker: Your first cash was in 2011, and now you have more than $8 million in live winnings. How have you managed your career? Did you always have a plan in your head?

Manig Loeser: Well, in the beginning I didn’t really have a plan. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do, and I tried really hard to become successful at the game and get better. Also, I got really lucky in the beginning. I had the chance to win something big at one of my first tournament. From there, I just tried to increase my winnings and travel more, and that’s worked out so far! But I never really had a plan in mind.

SMP: What were the most difficult periods of your career?

ML: Oh good question… I think it was a few years ago. I lost quite a lot online before the WSOP, and then during two months at the WSOP, I only got two cashes. I was just busting every day. It was tough to go through that downswing, to try to recover and not lose faith in my abilities.

SMP: But you never thought about quitting the game?

ML: No, not really; that never happened.

SMP: We saw you play on different cash game shows. You had a crazy hand with Dan Shak at the Partypoker Millions and here at the Kings Casino live cash game too. What are the limits you usually play, and how often do you play cash games?

ML: I play very often now. I play quite a bit in Macao, at high stakes limits, and whenever there is a big tournament series with big cash games I try to play them too. It always depends on the situation. I can play low limits too, like 10/25, and up to very high limits.

SMP: You recently finished 8th in the 25K in Rozvadov. How is WSOPE going for you?

ML: I cashed in the first event. I got 15th in the 6-max; then I bricked a lot of bullets in the smaller events, and the cash games didn’t go so well. And then there was the 25K. Even if I fired three bullets, at least I won a little bit more, so it’s not going too bad I guess.

SMP: In a 2013 interview, you declared the following about Super High Roller tournaments: “I wouldn’t say I aspire to be a part of it. I don’t see that much value in the 100K events because you have to sell so much action and that’s not for me right now.” Now, however, you are a regular player at those events. How did you change your mind?

ML: Yeah, it’s funny because I thought about that too. I was really way different back then because I just wanted to play the smaller events with my own money and selling that much action wasn’t appealing to me. But I was also just really bad, and I wouldn’t have won in those fields! So when I got better, I talked to my friends about what it takes to be successful at those, and I started to really like the idea of playing the super high rollers. Then, I also had a good start, which I always have, so it helps. If you lose a lot in the beginning, you don’t really have that confidence anymore, so I think it was a good decision to make that transition at some point.

SMP: Did you work on your game differently when you chose to take that step?

ML: Yeah, sure; it’s a very different thing than the smaller events with massive fields. You always play against the same players in the super high rollers. We all know each other—the recreational and the regular players as well—so if you get coached by the good people it helps a lot and inspires you a lot!

SMP: Do you have some names to give us?

ML: I used to live with Dominik Nitsche for a long time, and he helps me a lot for my game. He’s for sure better than me and incredibly good. And, in general, all the Germans are really nice if you ask them; we all try to help each other.

SMP: Do you think you’ve reached the peak of your game now, or do you still have a lot to improve on?

ML: Well, I think I’m playing really well right now. I have the confidence and the abilities, but there is always place for improvement. I’m for sure not at the top yet. I have to work on smaller stuff. The game has changed, and GTO became so important. Everyone knows what the right solution is in most spots, and you can always get better at that. You can’t have all the solutions in your head so working on that a lot is really important.

SMP: You also said in an interview that your relationship with money has changed a lot throughout your career. Can you explain that?

ML: Yeah, I guess that’s very true! Like 9/10 years ago (seems an eternity now), I didn’t have that much money, and then I won so much in poker and cash games. I had a huge upswing and won a lot in tournaments all of the sudden, and I spent a lot of money recklessly. Nowadays, I try to be a little bit smarter about money and sell action when I can’t afford the super high rollers. I just don’t spew money as much as I used to before.

SMP: Would you say you’re happier now than 5 or 10 years ago when you were still kind of new and unknown in poker?

ML: Oh, in general, in life? I would say, yeah, probably!

SMP: You won a big score at the Triton Super High Roller in Montenegro for more than $2 million and made a lot of deep runs in a big tournament, but you still haven’t won a major event, like a WSOP or an EPT. Is that, or was that, a frustration for you?

ML: No, it’s not a real frustration. When I started I really wanted to win a WSOP bracelet, but now it’s become less important for me. It’s just a title. Nowadays, I just want to play my best poker and not care too much about results and rankings. Earlier in my playing days I just wanted to win.

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Manig Loeser – Photo

SMP: What part of your personality do you think poker accentuated and highlighted?

ML: I think I have a very strong work ethic, which helps a lot in poker. People underestimate that. Some people, when they are on a downswing, don’t want to play anymore and want to do something else or blame it on bad luck, but I always try to work my way out of it. I put a lot of hours of work into it with the belief that, in the end, I would succeed, and it worked.

SMP: You live in Vienna, and there is a big German and Austrian community of poker players there. Who are your best poker friends and the ones you work the most with?

ML: Actually, I moved to the UK, in Brighton, but I stayed there a long time, yeah. In Vienna there are a lot of really good players. Some of them also moved recently to the UK. It’s just the German crew, like Steffen Sontheimer is a good friend, and Fedor Holz, even though he’s retired! He’s really smart about all the poker stuff. Or Christian Christner, who doesn’t play a lot anymore, but he helped me a lot too. I talk to them a lot. Also, the location doesn’t really change anything because we all just Skype all the time, so it doesn’t really matter where we are. But, basically all the Germans.

SMP: What are your main goals today?

ML: It’s interesting; I don’t really have that many main goals in poker anymore. I don’t care too much about rankings stuff, but I would like to enjoy the progress of poker for a few more years and maybe more after that. And just enjoy the travelling too; it has always been a big part of my life. And I guess I’d like to become as successful as possible.

SMP: Do you have other projects besides poker?

ML: Yeah, I’ve been involved in some business projects. One of them is the NLG,, that my friend Stefan Schillhabel founded, and there are some other projects as well.

SMP: Where can we see you in the next few months?

ML: I’m going to the Caribbean Partypoker in November and then probably Florida and Vegas, and next year the PCA and Australia, so quite a lot of travelling to come!

Interview by Gaelle Jaudon

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Gaelle Jaudon

Travelling and working in the poker industry for 8 years, Gaelle is working on a regular basis for different poker media in Europe and the US such as for the live reporting, club poker radio where she does live interview of poker personalities, somuchpoker and also as a freelance event manager for the WPT. Originally from Paris, she has a master degree in journalism and marketing.

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