Poker Legend and Pokerstars Pro Marcel Luske shares his story with us here at RTR

Marcel Luske - The Flying Dutchman

Marcel Luske is an undisputable poker legend. Battling against the best for over 20 years he has managed to amass almost $4 Million Dollars in tournament earnings! Combine that success with an insatiable lust for life and a passion for regulating and promoting poker and you will discover Marcel is one of the most likable guys in the poker world. He sat with us here at RakeTheRake for an exlusive interview. Enjoy!

1) Could you begin by first telling us a little about your background, who you are, where you are from and how you first found your way into poker?

Hi, I’m from Amsterdam. Originally a salesman by profession, I learned to deal with buying and selling goods, calculating, mathematics and using my head. I was brought up up in a big family with three brothers and five sisters. My father was a butcher and boxer and my mother was always singing.

2) Can you tell us what you have been up to recently? Have you been enjoying playing the EPT Circuit? Have you had any nice wins recently? It’s true you recently won a HORSE side event?

I did win the side (small) horse event in Vienna yes. I’ve been playing alongside a few EPT’s and working on the website, the International Poker Rules and a new board game to make poker easy to play and enjoyable for the whole family.

3) Having played for many years in various locations across the world how do you rate the players on the European tour compared to say the American WPT events? Do you think the standard is similar or one is higher than the other?

As a Pokerstars pro I think that the EPT has a better total package and offers the better overall experience for any player. Be they small or big players its a great experiance to join this tour.

4) Do you have a set strategy for playing the big buy-in events? Do you take a ‘small ball’ type approach or are you more ‘go big or go home’ type of a player?

You should always should go for the max if the opportunity is available, but be patient with it until the moment arises…other than that you must try to play yourself into that position first.

5) You are famed for having a lot of fun at the tables and even breaking out into song on occassion too. Can you tell us about this? What are the hidden advantages to making sure you are enjoying yourself at all times?

Interaction with others you play with gives you a better understanding of the opponents approach to life, the moment, the thoughts, agression or mood that they are in, the body language and voice will help to create the picture of the conditions the opponent is in.

6) Can you tell us about poker in the Netherlands? It seems to be a country that flies under the radar a little apart from a handful of well known players. Do you think the game is growing in popularity there and will produce more world class players in years to come?

Holland already has some world class players such as Rob Hollink, Noah Boeken, Lex Veldhuis, Mark Naalden, Pieter de Korver, Steve wong, and many others. Of course there is a list of the young guns that are coming up every year to show there skills too.

7) Is it true that you used to (or still do) back a number of players? How did this come about and what is it like managing a stable of players like this?

I created ‘the circle of outlaws’ with new upcoming players at the time, that are now famous. I have helped them and still help some players, but more with advice and explanations of the approach and analysis of hands and the game decisions such as when and why, not with buy ins, but sometimes with a percentage in exchange to swap, for luck and support to give them a positive push and believe they can play a great game if they really want and try to.

Marcel Luske - The Flying Dutchman

8) How do you deal with the variance of playing poker for a living? Would you have any advice you could offer to players starting out in the game looking to move up stakes and play professionally? What are the pitfalls they should avoid and what can they do to fasttrack success?

Poker is not a one day game and so you must think about it as a life time session that you can play and stop any time you like. So if you dont feel strong and positive to play then dont play… and if a table is strong then don’t try to be smart or be a hero. Wait for the weak spots and mistakes of others… and if they play too well then stop if its a cash game and deal with the best opportunity you have. If it’s a tournament don’t be a hero. Use commen sense!

9) We love to follow your twitter updates too as they are always full of insightful and profound tips having an enjoyable and successful life. Did you ever consider going into life coaching haha? How do you maintain your positive energy, especially during difficult times when they occur?

I’m facing a difficult time as it is, because of the many opportunities I have. Alongside being with the best poker site, the development of the international poker rules as a basic standard set to play by in all fairness for poker players world wide, the development of a boardgame, and the EPT’s… these are taking a lot of time away and concentration is not always optimal, so doing many things is making me more rounded.

10) Aside from poker is it true that your other passion in life is music? You recenlty released an album with Pokerstars? Can you tell us about that?

My other passions in life are my children, my son and my doughter. Also, music is and can be a very nice tranquilizer and I’m enjoy singing (or trying to), but really I know that there are so many beautiful voices out there of people that can really sing very well. My album was to satisfy many fans/players that were asking me to do it. The poker song I wrote is on youtube and on my website ( was instead of writing a book. The new album was my own challenge…so mission completed!

11) Can you tell us about the Marcel Luske away from the poker tables? Do you have the same energy and exhuberance we see on TV? What do you like to do when not travelling / playing the circuit?

I used to play many cash games but time is not always available now, as an ambassador for a Pokerstars you have many obligations to fulfill so you can then cover your other interests and desires. Oother than that, I like to work out, enjoy good company (my family), mails / FB / twitter / skype calls and developments of these projects take most of my time… next to Bones / Animal Planet / Discovery Chanell / Xfactor/…I try to keep up with the news and latest…for example I will see this weekend the performance of my son and his band, Playing Drums. I will see how I can help them in the near future too, if they are seriously getting good.

12) In regards to improving as a player would you have any tips as to what new players can do to increase thier edge at the tables? Are you an advocate of training sites, off the table analysis etc?

Players can always control if the game they join is the game they are really looking for at that time. In regards sharing / learning form others I prefer to be reserved and only respond if asked my opinion… then I might share my vision.

13) During your own career did you experience any major setbacks and if so what did you do to overcome them?

A long period of getting badbeaten during times that you need your hands to stand up will always be painfull and remembered. But the longer you play the more you willl get moments like this. It only really hurts when it starts to come for a longer period of time. These days you can have two years of running under expectation cause of the bigger fields, opponents and agression in the game, so more flips, of 50/50 .. 70/30 and even 80/20 willl show you that you can not aford doing that all the time. It is better to work like a packman, keep the pots low, or be a masive favourite, like having AA and you are all in heads up, before the flop.

14) Can you share with us any fun stories that occurred recently while playing poker or on tour?

I will be sharing a lot of fun and interesting stories on the new site Please check it out!

15) We would like to commend you for your work within the poker industry too, from improving and streamlining playing rules to always promoting the game. Are these aspects of the business important to you and do you think they will benefit the game better long run?

It will give the game credibility and respect as an International set of rules is needed.

Bellagio plays with them and any player that knows that a game is played with IPRules will not have to doubt, as all modifications will be announced BEFORE they enter the event, so no personal floorman surprises. Just fair for all. We will have a site available shortly where all players can review the rules for themselves.

16) If you could go back and do it all again would you still choose to be a poker pro or is there another profession you would like to try your hand at?

I would love to do a tour with a music band and combine it with playing poker in events like the EPT’s, but I’d definitely be a poker pro. With singing I would love to try and get better but would probbably not be good enough to eventually get paid to perform, unless it was for free.

17) Is there any single particular hand or game that really stands out as a defining moment for you in your career?

The hand with Dan Harrington, he had AJ and I had 44,,,, he misread his hand and I moved in an a board that showed Q83ccc his AcJd was checked on the flop and I moved all in. He made a crying calll after nearly 2.5 minutes and hit the J. Tthat gave me a 10th place in the World Series main event 2004.

18) What does the future hold for Marcel Luske?

My site, my board game, the IPRules site, the Poker shows and traveling around the world for games and more televised events. Also charity work such as Trent Tucker and autism. Of course I will also continue to have fun, joining and supporting upcomming generations. But, most of all, making up to my family by being more around for them and enjoying them.

19) Can you leave our readers with just one piece of advice for poker and for life?

Dont ever forget where you are coming from and the ones you love, no matter who you are or if they make you famous or not. We are all the same and supposed to have selfrespect and respect others,whether you are a superstarstar or just anyone.


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