PokerStars School: Tell us a little about yourself?
Ogurek4: My name's Mark and I'm originally from Saskatoon, Canada. I'm a chemist focusing on nanomaterials. I've been playing poker off and on for about 10 years. I'm just a fun player but am trying to improve. What got me back into playing poker was watching people play the game on Twitch.tv.
PokerStars School: How did you get into poker?
Ogurek4: My first game of poker was a home game with friends. I still remember my friend writing down the hand rankings from a pair to a royal flush on a napkin to help me out. We played a couple of sit & go type games and somehow I came in second in one of them. I really enjoyed the experience so I started playing play money and freerolls on PokerStars. Eventually, I'd make a deposit so I could play real money games. After learning about proper bankroll management, I've only had to re-deposit once.
PokerStars School: Who is your poker hero, the player you admire the most and why?
Ogurek4: It has to be fellow Canadian Daniel Negreanu. Poker has changed so much over the years but he still remains one of the best. I admire his dedication to the game and love his energy and positivity at the tables.
Mark topped a field of 335 players to win the leaderboard.
PokerStars School: You won the Master League in April, tell us about this, was it easy or hard?
Ogurek4: It started off with me winning a Scratch & Match ticket for a Master League game. I'm not usually a fan of tournaments but I was bored and decided to play. Luckily for me, it was April 2nd and the first day of the April Master League. At first, I thought it was going to be pretty easy to win. I got out to a very early point lead winning the first two tournaments and getting to the final table on the two after that. After collecting so many points I decided to keep playing to see if I could win the $500. However, there are some good players in this league. I was in first place until the 3rd last game when 'edpokernut' took the lead away from me and 'Bman2004' was close behind in third. Luckily, I was able to get second place on the second last game to retake the lead and go on to win the April League. It definitely was an exciting way to end the month! I want to thank edpokernut for convincing me on the forum to play for the entire month.
PokerStars School: What do you like most about the new league?
Ogurek4: I like how friendly almost everyone is. There's some table chat and people are just trying to have some fun. Each tournament usually only has about 70 entrants and has a quick structure so the game takes only 2.5 hours from start to finish.
PokerStars School: What was your best tournament result of the month?
Ogurek4: As I said earlier, I was able to get first place two times in a row in the first two games. I don't think I've ever won a tournament before so winning back-to-back games was crazy. It does make me want to study and get better at playing tournaments.
PokerStars School: Do you think that you have more chances to win T$ with the new system?
Ogurek4: The tournaments only have about 70 entrants so there's a greater chance to make a final table. The final table is where you get the largest portion of points. If you're able to play 12 games there's a good chance to make the top 20 and some prize-money.
PokerStars School: What is your favorite format? Is it tournaments, sit & go's, cash games, or spin & go's?
Ogurek4: I'm a huge fan of 6-max ZOOM and Spin & Go's. The largest spin I've won so far is a 120x. I'm still waiting to hit a 12,000x spin :). The main reason I like them more is that I can just play for a short amount of time if I want. Sometimes I'll just play for 10 minutes. Other times, I'll play for hours taking breaks whenever my brain needs a rest. ZOOM cash is also a fantastic way to play as many hands as possible. Compared to tournaments, you'll be able to play tens of thousands of more hands which is a great learning tool to encounter many different situations. I think a poker player who starts with ZOOM cash and then moves to tournaments later on will have a greater advantage.
PokerStars School: Do you follow a strategy when you play poker? Sort of like a checklist while you play?
Ogurek4: There's a wide range of players of differing abilities in these League games. I'd look at the top 20 in the leaderboards from previous months and color label those that are sitting at the table with me. You can confidently say that these are good players. Then, I'd watch how people play and what cards they are opening/calling with. Are they tight or are they maniacs? Give these players colored labels too for easy identification in future games. I like to have a pre-flop strategy with set opening/calling/3-bet ranges at all different positions. These ranges can be adjusted based on the type of player. If they're maniacs, play even more tight than normal. That said, you want to be tight and play your good hands aggressively. There's an article on here called 'Tips for Playing in The League.' I recommend everyone should read that to help them with these League games.
Two tournaments wins got Mark off to a great start at the beginning of the month.
PokerStars School: In what way has the School helped you improve your poker game?
Ogurek4: As a fan of 6-max Zoom cash games and Spins, PokerStars School is an amazing free resource. For ZOOM, two great teachers are Pete 'Carroters' Clarke and Felix 'xflixx' Schneiders. Their content is invaluable. Carroters' book 'The Grinder's Manual' is great for 6-max cash. For spins, Nick and James from OP-Poker have started making some quality informational videos. What's even better though, is being able to watch all four play live on twitch.tv. You can see how they really play and you can learn a lot as they explain their actions.
PokerStars School: What tips or advice would you recommend to other players just starting off.
Ogurek4: I think the best things new players should learn is a pre-flop strategy. You can't win without it. Learn optimal opening ranges at each position. Learn calling/3-bet ranges versus an open at every position. Learn when to overcall or squeeze. Be patient and play tight... the cards will come eventually. You can find a lot of that information for free here in the school. Also, watch Twitch streams to see how others play. There are so many entertaining poker streamers including many members of Team PokerStars. Some of these PokerStars streamers include Jason Somerville (runitup), Lex Veldhuis, Arlie Shaban, OP_Poker, and the official PokerStars Channel which shows many live tournaments from around the world.