Niklas Astedt stood up from the general desk and stated his goodbyes. It used to be an in depth name, however his first International Sequence of Poker bracelet must stay up for every other day.
And that turns out to feel good about him at the moment as a result of, in any case, he’s Niklas Astedt, and if historical past is any indicator – his time will come. For the uninitiated, Astedt, the 31-year-old savant from Sweden, is a generational skill with regards to on-line poker. He’s some of the revered gamers within the recreation these days, and for those who have adopted his a hit on-line occupation – he’s in all probability the most efficient ever.
It’s simple, Astedt is in a class all by means of himself.
And his occupation effects inform the tale. A short lived recap of his intensive resume comprises Astedt as the #1-ranked online player in the world a document 10 other instances for a complete of 97 weeks. He’s recently 2d at the Online All-Time Money List and he’s received a couple of titles in just about each and every primary on-line event collection, maximum the usage of his well-known display title ‘Lena900’. His accomplishments make it so the notoriously non-public professional unearths himself continuously in poker headlines.
Now he smiles as he sits down for a temporary chat, neatly conscious that every other headline is correct across the nook. The ignored probability at a bracelet fades away as it’s most probably simply every other finishing to a event in a string of hundreds of tournaments. But even so, what Astedt’s in point of fact eager about these days isn’t a bracelet in any respect, it’s a Championship Belt.
Astedt used to be the runaway winner of the PocketFives #1 Number One contest this previous Would possibly. The competition requested the poker neighborhood to vote and claim who’s the best-ever #1-ranked professional in on-line poker historical past. ‘Lena900’ crowned the checklist that incorporated the titans of on-line poker. Names like Fedor Holz, Sami Kelopuro, and Chris Moorman all fell as Astedt used to be named the winner. The prize, a one-of-a-kind #1NumberOne Championship Belt. It’s a trophy Astedt turns out excited for but in addition an honor bestowed by means of his neighborhood that isn’t misplaced on him.
“Poker is hard as a result of no person is aware of who’s the most efficient proper?” Astedt stated, discussing the way it feels to be said as some of the very best. “The one factor you’ve is your friends telling you more or less that they’ve noticed you as a excellent participant. That’s the one validation you get of being [good]…so, in fact. Yeah, indubitably, I really like listening to that, particularly from my friends, taking part in the similar more or less stakes. That makes me really feel excellent.”
The primary affect of Astedt is that he’s each soft-spoken and trustworthy. You might have to lean in a little bit to listen to him. However his quiet self belief has been earned after years of what’s a mythical willpower to the web grind. From his first time atop the On-line Poker Scores in 2016 to his meteoric upward push at the On-line All-Time Cash Record starting in 2017, to his 4 GGPoker Tremendous MILLION$ titles, Astedt has been some of the dependable, constant winners on the best stakes on-line. Now, after years of grinding, he admits he could also be pulling again from his continuous time table within the close to long term.
“Up till perhaps a yr in the past…or two years in the past…I did play so much, so much, numerous poker. And I imply, the place did the incentive come from? I don’t know. I at all times sought after to be top-of-the-line and it takes so much this present day to try this. Each finding out and taking part in, however for me, now, I experience competing greater than the grind.
“My subsequent 3 years are almost certainly now not going to be as grind-heavy because it’s been. I’m going to select and select a little bit bit extra. Additionally for me, the video games aren’t as giant anymore. I will play Sundays and I will play the collection. There may be numerous collection, however nonetheless, it’s now not an on a regular basis grind. I wouldn’t play a Tuesday anymore simply because, I don’t do this anymore.”
Astedt has been taking part in on-line poker for just about part his lifestyles. He were given his get started the best way many younger gamers have. All over the mid-2000’s poker explosion the vibrations have been felt so far as Sweden the place a teenage Astedt and his buddies began taking part in house recreation tournaments. It wasn’t lengthy ahead of Astedt discovered he had a knack for the sport and began to take it extra critically.
“I began out taking part in freerolls,” he stated. “Then I borrowed my mother’s bank card and I performed on her account when I used to be 17. I give up faculty two years previous than I must need to graduate and I simply performed poker.
“I moved out of my father or mother’s area when I used to be 20 so I might say that for 11 years I’ve been supporting myself taking part in poker.”
Now referred to as a event professional, when he first began out Astedt used to be taking part in most commonly money video games. Poker’s finding out curve will also be steep, and costly, and Astedt used to be now not resistant to its swings.
“The primary 4 or 5 years I used to be taking part in numerous money and figuring all of it out. I used to be taking part in the best money video games there have been after which, a couple of months later, I used to be taking part in 10 stakes less than that. Then a couple of months later I used to be taking part in giant stakes once more. So I used to be up and down so much when I used to be taking part in money video games up till I used to be 24. I had very unhealthy bankroll control normally in my early twenties.”
All over that point, it used to be the cash that attracted him. He stated he discovered early that he had an edge and that he may just proceed to make a excellent residing. However in any case of his good fortune over time, for him, now, he says taking part in poker is extra in regards to the festival than the payday.
“I’m someplace in my occupation, or no matter you need to mention, the place I don’t need to care that a lot about more cash more or less so I will select and select the place I play and extra in regards to the festival of it, than natural making a living.
“I experience taking part in excessive stakes. I experience it after I really feel it. I by no means promote motion. I at all times play by myself. If I will’t play a event, I received’t however I really like after I really feel it. I play higher after I really feel it.”
Something Astedt hasn’t at all times cared for despite the fact that is the notoriety that comes in conjunction with a occupation corresponding to his. There’s no actual upside to being poker well-known in Sweden and so over time, he’s had an aversion to cameras, interviews, and, every now and then, even having his actual title in connection to his display title. It’s all been within the title of safety and privateness, now not out of indifference or conceitedness. However, he recognizes, that point has handed and somebody who needs to grasp who ‘Lena900’ is can now to find out.
“Like now, after I’m right here [at the WSOP], I take 10 footage an afternoon with Brazilians and Asian [fans]. It sounds as if, they’re giant enthusiasts of mine and that section…I don’t adore it as a lot however I’ll do it, you recognize? I’m fairly easygoing.”
He does come off as having a laid-back, humble nature. It’s one who doesn’t stifle his competitiveness nor save you him from praising the contest.
“It’s ordinary with regards to poker, as a result of perhaps the highest 20 guys, I don’t play with that a lot. They typically play the reside excessive rollers. However I believe it’s a large soar between mid-stakes or mid-high-stakes and the highest, 40 guys that play $5K+ on-line or $100K reside. They’re rattling excellent. They put numerous paintings into it and that’s what it’s about. And it’s fairly a large soar, I think, between taking part in mid-high and taking part in excessive stakes on-line and reside.
“The panorama of poker has modified such a lot. Again then [earlier in his career], it wasn’t that I didn’t play the best stakes, it used to be simply that the best stakes used to be $1,000. You already know what I imply? Now the best stakes are $25,000 on-line and you’ll play a time table on a Sunday for $100,000…$200,000 on occasion if you wish to. It’s simply so other from what is obtainable and the way the video games glance these days. However I’ve at all times been in there, competing within the best stakes there used to be.
“I imply, this yr has been loopy despite the fact that,” he endured. “I’ve had 4 immediately nice years, however this one has been specifically loopy with having one $10K each and every Sunday and me ultimate tabling it each and every 2d time. Profitable it each and every 3rd time or no matter…it’s loopy.”
Astedt is a participant who has necessarily accomplished and noticed all of it, and whilst he says “I desire a bracelet” what he’s in point of fact after is the contest. The place the intense festival is, is the place you’ll to find him.
And when the International Sequence is completed, he’ll take the Championship Belt again house, put it away, and get ready for every other yr of struggling with to overcome the most efficient. So he can stay the most efficient.