Pedro Canali
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Mickey Petersen Interview by Pedro Canali

The RankingHero interview series continues with @Mickey Petersen!

Why do you play poker?

I’ve always been very fond of playing games and I was playing a lot of Magic at the time. And then I saw poker on TV and I just had no idea what was going on. I didn’t even know the hand rankings or anything like that, but I was fascinated. So I watched more and sort of started picking up on it and from there I just got really interested in poker. At that point it was just a thing I enjoyed doing with friends, and then eventually I found out it was something that I could actually make a living doing. I still think it’s really fun to play and it has enabled me to have the kind of lifestyle that’s perfect for me. So, that’s why I still play poker,I guess.

Do you play for money or for the competition?

Both! Though, at the end of the day, if I couldn’t make money doing it, I’d have to do something else. I’d probably still be playing poker for fun even if I couldn’t make money, but I’d say money is first and thrill, recognition, and all those things are bonuses.

Would you rather win the Main Event of 50 million at the lottery?

50 million at the lottery, for sure! I mean, the Main Event is kind of a lottery anyway. People wouldn’t be thinking ‘oh, Mickey must be the best player in the world’ but ‘yeah, he won one tournament and got lucky’. And 50 million is a lot of money, if the difference was one million or so, I would be tempted to take the Main Event, but for that much I’d definitely take the lottery.

You said you were a Magic player; did you play competitively or just for fun?

I wasn’t exactly a fish at it. I got to play in a couple of professional tournaments, and I won a national championship in Denmark, but that was about it. I never got really good. Nowhere near as good as I was at poker. But I spent my weekends doing it, it’s a social activity, too and I really enjoyed it a lot and still do from time to time get to play, which is fun. But I was never great by any means. I was slightly above average I’d say.

You said the poker player lifestyle is a perfect fit for you?

Well, first of all, I just really like playing games. I like waking up pretty much whenever I want, not having a boss… I don’t think I would do very well in an office environment. And also, there’s just a lot of flexibility; it’s enabled me to travel to all of these cool places where I probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise and there’s a certain amount of financial freedom, which is really nice too. I just couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing right now than playing poker, honestly. I gotta start winning at the lottery for 50 million…

So you think it’s better to play poker than work in an office?

Yes, I guess I'm not into the whole thing about working in an office, having a boss, and all the office politics, and so on… It’s not even necessarily about how good you are at your job, there’s so much randomness to it. Whereas I feel like in poker you’re more in control of what’s going to happen with your destiny. If you put in good work in poker you’re going to be good. While in jobs, it can be about whether you stumble across the right thing or something like that. 

As a PokerStars pro, how do you connect with your fans?

I’m on Twitter a lot, I really enjoy doing that. It’s something I’ve picked up on the last couple of years. Other than that, there’s a feature in the PokerStars client where you can see which Team Pros are online at the moment. I know a lot of people use it to rail. I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments at the same time and most of the time there will be something I’m pretty deep in and that is fun to rail. I always get a kick out of people who come and say good luck in the rail. I think in the future even more so as I’ll be playing at least a couple of hours every week of small stakes cash games, mainly just to interact with the fans. It will be 10-cent games and the like so that’s something to look forward to.

What do you think about the RankingHero project and our mission to bring the industry together?

I think it’s great! In the last couple of years there have been a lot of good projects started. People have really big visions for poker and what you can do for the industry and I think that’s super interesting. So I’m excited to see where it goes.

Is the industry listening to the players and doing everything it can to provide the best experience?

It’s a good question, it’s tough... I think overall the industry is doing a pretty good job, especially the EPT, which is one of the reasons it’s one of the only tournament series I really like going to. I think it’s very well run. You can buy in online and things like that, you don’t have to bring money.

So I think in general the industry is doing a pretty good job but there are conflicting interests sometimes. I think it’s important that the players always come first. It's important to never compromise the integrity of the game, basically. And there are some instances when the industry is not thinking enough about that..

So they should listen more to the players?

Well, yes, within reason. The players are always going to ask for more. So there needs to be some kind of equilibrium. But I think the industry is doing a pretty good job, much better than a couple of years ago.

Which is your favorite casino and the best live poker destination?

You know, I actually don’t like casinos that much in general, I’m not really a casino person. But there are some stops that I really do enjoy, like Prague. In December, with the winter market, I just think it’s a really nice, cosy city.

Actually, when the EPT was in Vienna a few months ago, that was the most impressive place I’ve played poker. That was really cool. And I like the city a lot, too. And obviously going to PCA in January is always really nice because the weather is so bad here. I guess those three would be my favorite poker destinations.



a great interview :) thanks !!!  

Nice interview !

(I thought that only robots were able to play on 20 tables but it seems that humans can also do it .....)