Episode 87 – Steffen Sontheimer – Life On The High-Roller Tour

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In this episode, Steffan Sontheimer, aka Goose, talks about the life of a high-roller, the ups and downs of his career, and how he maintains a healthy mind and body. Over the course of his career, he’s seen how unchecked emotions can ruin plays and open the door for rookie mistakes. Elliot and Steffen discuss why taking a break from poker during a downswing is a good thing – and can be better than trying to play through it.

Listen in to hear a Poker Master’s champion share why physical fitness is key to long-term success, and why he believes it necessary to enjoy other things besides poker.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[00:50] – Introducing Steffen and his accomplishments

[01:20] – Steffen’s view of the poker scene and how he feels about it

[01:35] – 2017 was hot online and in-person, but 2018 has been the opposite

[02:20] – How he keeps a good mindset during the ups and downs of his career

[02:30] – All pros get emotional, but he tries to remain analytical so his game doesn’t change depending on how he feels

[03:35] – The impact emotions make in the high-rollers scene

[03:50] – It happens everywhere; as soon as emotions come into play, the wrong plays are made

[04:30] – He knows what he needs to do in each hand, but emotions might cause him to play on the higher-variance side

[05:30] – Steffen’s relationship with Phil Hellmuth

[05:45] – He likes Phil and knows how to play him; Steffen had exploits ready before Phil even knew his name

[07:00] – Phil plays the televised events, not the big high-roller events Steffen plays

[07:50] – The mindset of world-travelling high-rolling players

[08:00] – They give 100% to each game and seem like they’re born to do it

[08:35] – It’s a great but draining and stressful lifestyle

[08:50] – Steffen’s techniques to prevent stress and draining

[09:00] – He takes breaks and spends time with non-poker friends to stay grounded

[09:45] – After taking a break, he feels the thrill of playing again

[10:00] – What it was like winning Poker Master’s last year

[10:10] – It was seven-handed no-limit Hold ‘Em with the same opponents; he was used to the style of the game

[11:00] – He was confident, played well, stayed analytical, and felt it was his time to win

[12:45] – Online poker as a training tool for different types of tournaments

[13:30] – He strengthens his weaknesses and maintains his strengths with online poker

[14:00] – He doesn’t have a master plan or schedule; he likes to divide and conquer by splitting up his training into manageable parts

[15:00] – Physical fitness and success

[15:15] – Steffen believes physical fitness is key to long-term success because players should have other enjoyable activities in their life besides poker

[15:30] – His worst played week was the week after his knee surgery when he couldn’t exercise

[16:00] – A poker downswing isn’t enjoyable, so physical activity and/or sports gives the feeling of accomplishment and success during that time

[17:00] – Advice for players experiencing a downswing

[17:15] – He likes to whine and complain to let it out, and he thinks a break from poker during a downswing is a good thing

[17:40]– Always play because you love the game and want to improve

[17:50] – When he experienced a downswing, he went to a beach volleyball camp and took a break to forget poker for a while

[18:45] – What’s to come for Steffen

[19:00] – He doesn’t enjoy poker as much as he used to, and doesn’t want to travel as much, so he’d like to find something new that brings him as much joy as poker did

[19:20] – Twitching is just part of the job for him

3 Key Points

  • Remain analytical so your emotions don’t affect your game.
  • Physical fitness is key to long-term success.
  • Take a break to reset your mindset during a downswing.



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