We are pleased this week to have with us Johan “busto_soon” Van Til, one of the top online tournament players in the world. The 26 year old from the Netherlands has been playing professionally for 2 and a half years. Van Til has a fabulous resume of wins, including several in the $109 rebuy on Poker Stars, which has one of the toughest fields around. With over $100,000 in winnings in March, and a not too shabby start to April, it looks like Johan isn’t going to go busto anytime soon.
DS: So what’s your poker playing schedule like?
Johan Van Til: An average day starts at 8pm for me with the morning 109 rebuy. Then I keep playing until about 6-7am. So I play about 20 MTT’s in a normal day. And lately about 30 step togel online as well. On average I play about 4-5 days a week, so I get in enough hours. Sunday’s I start a little earlier with the Warm Up etc. and end with the 200 rebuy.
DS: Are Sunday’s the most exciting day for you?
Johan Van Til: Yeah, its is. Lately I’ve had some crazy Sunday’s. Especially with a lot of step 6s and the 5200 freezeouts running.
DS: How do you explain the great results you have in the Sunday Warm-Up?
Johan Van Til: Just variance lol. Sooner or later I’m going to get some results in the majors, it just happened to be twice in the Warm Up this month.
DS: What’s your general strategy early in MTT’s?
Johan Van Til: Without antes I just play a solid full ring game, similar to cash games. There are usually a lot of bad players left so it’s ok to play a little looser though.
DS: Middle stages of MTT’s, with 30-40BB, I’ve noticed you are more aggressive then most?
Johan Van Til: 30-40bb is quite deep for a MTT. Depending on the table and antes it’s profitable to open a wide range.
DS: How many MTT’s are you playing right now?
Johan Van Til: Just 4 and 1 step 6.
DS: Does MTT play not take a lot of focus for you?
Johan Van Til: No, I don’t pay that much attention. I do when it’s a higher buyin like the 1k or if it gets to the final stages.
DS: When you play an MTT, is the only satisfying outcome a win?
Johan Van Til: Heh, winning is the most fun. But if I made a good play and get knocked out in 188th I’m fine with that too. I’ll just keep going with the other 4-10 running
DS: Is it hard to stay happy when you can go on 100 buy in downswings and ridiculous draughts or do you find ways to stay satisfied?
Johan Van Til: Well, it took some time to get used to the swings. But now I don’t care anymore in MTT’s. Max downswing is about 30-35k and that’s not that much compared to steps or high stakes cash. That’s also a reason why I like MTT’s. I just know I’m winning so there’s no stress at all.
DS: Step tournaments are such a weird format, what are your thoughts on them and any tips and tricks you can give to newbies to them?
Johan Van Til: It’s probably best to stay away from the steps. The rake is ridiculous (I paid over 50k in the last 5 weeks). If you do play them, be sure to understand basic SNG strategy.
DS: In general, do you try and exploit the bubble or just hang tight?
Johan Van Til: No it’s actually better to let the short stacks tangle with each other. It’s all math though. I recommend playing around with Sng Wiz or something similar to solve most situations.
DS: How do you adjust to the tougher fields in events such as the big rebuys?
Johan Van Til: I generally open a little tighter because they’re playing back more. But against solid players it’s possible to play a little more creative and actually make them fold hands.
DS: Do you still feel like there’s a lot for you to learn in MTT poker?
Johan Van Til: About the concepts, not really. But there’s always a lot to improve regarding adapting/reading players.
DS: How do you think your play differs from other top MTT professionals?
Johan Van Til: Hmm, tough question. I don’t know really, most think I’m really loose/aggro/crazy. And I don’t think I get out of line that much. I doubt there’s a lot I do differently. My biggest strength compared to others is my consistency; I can play a lot of volume without tilting/screwing up.
DS: How do you rate yourself among the best MTT players in the world?
Johan Van Til: There are about 20-30 really solid online players, I’m one of them.
DS: How much do the Pocket 5′s leaderboards and other various tournament leaderboards actually mean to you?
Johan Van Til: I don’t care anymore. Maximizing rankings means losing money. And it’s about the $$ after all. Let’s say I want to maximize my p5s ranking. That means I can’t play outside stars/ftp/etc. And that means I miss out on value on the smaller Euro sites.
DS: What are your goals for 2008?
Johan Van Til: Play about 400 MTT’s a month. Other than that, play some fun live tourneys. And get a 6 figure score once.
DS: So what do you think your future with poker is?
Johan Van Til: Hmm I’ll keep playing for the next 6-12 months. After that I might get burned out or just bored with it, I don’t know.
DS: Alright thanks for the interview!
Sunday Tournament Report
Lots of big names won last Sunday, as poker players prepared to break on Monday for the NCAA basketball championship.
High stakes cash game player Vaga_Lion took home the gold in the Poker Stars Sunday Million for a cool $216,576. He beat out a tough final table including 6th place finisher and top 100 tournmanet player johne147, who won $33,800 for his efforts. JSD1000 took down the Sunday Second Chance for $50,404, and piahott won the Sunday Warm-Up for $115,433. Unknown player named texpert took down the Sunday winner-take-all-freezeout for the standard $100,000.
Meanwhile on Full Tilt, Lee “acumen53” Childs, whose name you may recognize from the 2007 WSOP Main Event final table, received 1st place in the Full Tilt 750k guaranteed for $132,788. Chump change compared to the near million dollars he won in 2007, but a solid score nonetheless. On Party Poker, TheSpider took down the 300k guaranteed for $64,779. On UltimateBet, rockets_Ifold swept through a super tough final table for a $45,000 top prize. High stakes cash game player tcblade got third for $18,000, and team wafflecrush member THAY3R received 9th for $2,000. Finally, on Bodog’s 100k guaranteed dippydough took the $25,000 score.
Congratulations to all the winners this week!