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A True Master Wins Again
Anyone and everyone that follows sport in any way can tell you that it's relatively common for a Sportsperson to win a title. Across the globe, champions are being made all the time. What makes a true Sportsperson stand out from the rest is a pattern of winning, of doing it again and again. Winning a title is one thing, but defending a crown is a completely different feat altogether. In this Winners Wall interview, we chat to Mark, a chemist from Saskatoon, Canada, who has successfully defended his Master League crown and won back to back titles. If you'd like to read the story of Marks first win you can find it here. Will he go for three in a row? Let's find out...

PokerStars School: Congratulations on winning back-to-back Master League titles. Were you surprised to do this?
Thanks! It was a fun month! I started slow and wasn't in 1st place until the twelfth game when I won that tournament. I was able to maintain the top position for the rest of the month but it went down to the wire. Hooble1 was pushing hard and came very close to overtaking me. In the end, there was only a 2.2 point difference! Hooble1 played great! He had six final tables to my five. However, it was my two 1st place finishes that put me over the top. Like I said before in last month's interview, I'm just a fun player trying to get better and don't play tournaments except for these League games. So yeah, I'm very surprised. I guess my studying is paying off.

Some very familiar names pushed Mark all the way to the end of the Month.

PokerStars School: Did you feel any extra pressure trying to defend your title?
No, I didn't feel any pressure because I didn't expect to win again. I was just trying to have some fun, learn a few things along the way and make the best decisions I could. I was mainly curious whether winning April was just luck or skill. After winning May, the jury is still out but I must be doing something right. Now that I've won two months in a row, I'm now starting to feel the expectations of doing well again in June.

PokerStars School: In general do you find the Master tournaments difficult to play?
Since I don't usually play tournaments, it's a bit of a learning curve from playing 100BB+ 6-max cash to full ring tournaments. There have been a few spots where I wasn't sure what to do. I know I'm still making mistakes and need to improve in many areas. Early deep-stack tournament play is very similar to cash games but I need to work on the later stages when I'm short on chips, at the money/final table bubble and also my final table play. That said, I just try to make the best decisions that I can. Whether they're right or not is the question.

PokerStars School: Which members gave you the best run for your money? Are there any players in particular that you don't like to see sitting at your table?
I already mentioned hooble1 but jcrondps, 4wheeled, dale442, and Hooligan1970 all had a shot to take first place near the end. It was a very competitive month. Shoutout to Hooligan1970 who made an impressive 7 of 19 final tables!
I'm sure most people would say that they'd prefer playing weaker fun players because you make most of your chips from them. That's true but taking a long term approach to poker, I want to play against good players so I can get better. I like to learn things that others do at the tables and incorporate them into my game. So for me, it doesn't matter who I see at the table. Either way, I win.

Wins on the 8th and 22nd helped Mark secure the title for May.

PokerStars School: What advice would you give to players about approaching league tournaments? Is there any special strategy tips that would be useful for them?
I won this month by only 2.2 points so every point matters. Your best twelve games count so play as many as you can to maximize your score. The point system is pretty linear and the point jumps are small until you get to the final table. This is where you get the majority of the points so your focus should be on the final table bubble and surviving past it.

Even though I've won that last two months, it's hard to put into words how I've done it. I wish I was good enough to give special strategy tips. I still don't feel confident in my tournament play. I guess that's why I'm still using the PokerStars School. I play a simple game. Tight is right. I try to play my good hands aggressively but at the same time, I try not to get married to a hand. Knowing how to use the FOLD button was probably the hardest thing for me to learn. Start early while you're still deep stacked enough to see lots of flops. Hands like suited connectors and small pocket pairs are best played when you're deeper. When you connect with the board with these hands, you're going to win a lot of chips. You get most of your chips from fun players. These players are usually out of the tournament early so you need to get as many from them while you can. Try to play as many hands with them as possible.

PokerStars School: Will you go for 3 in a row? What're your plans for the June league?
Before winning May, with my limited time to play/study poker, I was thinking of taking a break from the League in June. I really want to start a $50 - $10,000 Zoom cash game challenge going from 2NL to 100NL. But after my back-to-back wins, I think it'll be cool to go for the 3-peat. Plus, I'm having fun playing in the Masters League. The challenge can wait another month. I'm hoping to make the top 10 in the June league and I've already made two final tables so far (8th and 2nd place).
Congratulate Mark by leaving him a comment below.
Player 'Ogurek4' has been credited with T$25 as a token of thanks for sharing his story. Would you like to share your story? See here for more details.

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