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Jul 18, 2017

Highlights from Fedor Holz's Reddit AMA

By RTR Dennis

665x200 jul17 fedor holz

Few poker players in history have experienced a rise like Fedor Holz. The German-born poker pro has only been playing live tournaments since late 2012, but he's already amassed $22.9 million in winnings.

Holz is especially known for all of his success in high rollers, where he's won several prestigious titles.

This being said, it's little surprise that the 23-year-old drew lots of attention when he recently did a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. Let's take a look at the highlights of his AMA session below.

Q: When you were playing full time how many hours studying did you put in relative to hours played? How much work have you done with solvers? Did you subscribe to training websites? Favorite/most impactful videos you've watched or would recommend?

FH (a.k.a. CrownUpGuy): "Hey! I'd say relatively seen I was always very high up in the ratio of off/on-the-felt work. Somewhere around 30-50% theory and studying, whether it's videos, networking, forums, talking to friends or coaching. I subscribed to RIO and think the value is amazing. Watched almost all Sauce123 and Phil Galfond videos and listening to their thoughts is just so valuable. Then most of the other videos with lots of upvotes were enjoyable to watch. Solvers I spend quite a bit of time, mostly to understand the structure of the game better than to specifically remember 1 situation."

Q: My question is when you first decided to play poker full time, did you have a backup plan? Or a timeframe you were going to dedicate to poker to see how it works out?

FH: "The Joey pod is a great reference. Started in about 2011 with friends in a 1c/2c home game, then 2012 more intense during my studies (dropped out in the same year). No back up plan at all and no timeframe. I think that when you are so passionate about something (and a little desperate tbh) then you just don't think too much about other options."

Q: How much of yourself do you usually have in super high rollers?

FH: "It totally depends on the tournament and how much edge I think I have and what my liquid bankroll is. Somewhere in the range of 40-150k$."

Q: Can you share how long you played at each stake (micro -> mid -> high), and which you found most difficult to break through?

FH: "I'd say about 2 years on micro, then got overestimated due to me being good at "talking" about poker and moving to mid as probably a BE-player/small winner and being staked, then 1, 5 years on midstakes and then the last 3 years on high stakes. Most difficult definitely was the micro/mid-time. Weak mindset, lots of emotional and financial variance with a lot of instabilities made this the hardest time for me. It took a lot of energy and a better surrounding to get me on a more successful path."

Q: What the biggest private cash game you've played?

FH: "€4000/€8000"

Q: What's your general attitude/mindset for MTTs?

FH: "That's a very broad question. I generally try to rationalize a lot in the specific situation to improve my emotional resistance to tilt and the distance to results. Variance is huge in MTTs and at this point in time being a consistent player is a tremendous quality to have, because mostly the huge value is going to be in the big Final Tables and that's why you have to perform well."

Q: Hey Fedor, thanks for stopping by! Do you pay mind to live tells when you play? If so, are there specific ones you look for/notice the most?

FH: "I'm very much into live reads. My approach to poker is to have a strong fundamental understanding of the game and then adjust based off what certainty level I am on the extra information I gained. If I am very confident in my reads I will adjust heavily, and vice versa. I mostly look for breathing patterns, eye movement and where they rest, sweat on fingers and forehead, pulse, speed and way of putting in chips and anything that is "unexpected" like talking, movements and so on."

Q: What percent of your success in poker do you feel is based on natural ability? What would be your strategy at a $1/$2 and $2/$5 cash game?

FH: "I'd say I'd probably be roughly in the top 5%+ when it's about learning the game by yourself, and top 0,1%+ when it's about learning it with a flood of information (with a strong network of resources). My natural ability is more geared towards processing a large amount of information and being able to reproduce and adapt, rather than invent own strategies from scratch."

Q: Fedor, you are so F***ING entertaining to watch play. Any advice to any aspiring poker players that are trying to becoming generally profitable in any stakes? Also, what did you think of Kevin Hart's reaction to eliminating you in the SHRB?

FH: "Find good players to talk to and create a mutually-beneficial relationship. Always exchange and try to work on all possible aspects of the game - if you only can think of a handful you missed about a hundred. I actually didn't care too much. Being emotionally distanced from the result of the game and how other people behave is very important to be consistent in the game - that doesn't always work, but I think it's important to continuously try."

Final Thoughts on Holz's AMA Session

The best thing about Holz's AMA is that it gives you a glimpse into the mindset of one of poker's greatest players. Specifically, he covered the following:

  • How much time he spends studying the game.

  • How much time he spent grinding in different levels of online poker.

  • His mindset going into multi-table tournaments.

  • What tells he looks for in live games.

  • What strategies he uses for low-stakes cash games.

  • And advice for aspiring players.

That said, you can apply some of his advice to your game. And you can also check out the Reddit AMA session to see what else the German poker pro had to say.