“I’ve never really been interested in tournament poker,” Guner tells the PokerStars Blog.

That might sound funny for someone who just won a Spin of the Day freeroll, but it’s actually a pretty reasonable stance given his history.

Now 37 years old and living in Gravesend, England, Guner has been playing poker for half of his life. He started playing online in the years before the poker boom, logging on during the couple hours he would shut his kebab shop during the day. And he enjoyed success, too. At a time when he usually aimed to win £300 in a single day, Guner won a £5,000 pot with pocket queens.

Big cash wins made tournaments pale in comparison for Guner.

“There were at least five of us in the hand and the pot was already £400 before the flop,” he says. “The flop came Q-4-Q and through excitement I fell off the chair and pulled the plug from my computer! I managed to switch it back on before I was timed out but I was sweating the whole time it was loading.”

With that much excitement in one hand, how could a tournament ever measure up?

As more players began to join in, Guner eventually found himself gravitating away from higher-stakes poker. “It got to the point where everyone was happy to gamble and it started becoming a coin flip, so I lost enjoyment from that.”

He didn’t stop playing completely, though. He’s mostly played in social games with his friends for the last 10 years (a stretch that included a bout with testicular cancer, from which Guner has been cleared for four years now). He’s also worked in “the odd occasion online.”

Like, say, a Spin of the Day freeroll.

“I played this tournament because I’m planning to enter a tournament in Aspers Casino Stratford and I need the practice,” says Guner. “I know playing tournaments is all about patience and being able to give up hands.”

He got exactly what he was looking for. And he learned a lot from the experience.

The dream.

“Patience is the key,” says Guner. “I found myself laying down big hands because in my mind if someone gets lucky I’m out. For me it wasn’t about the money at the end, it was to learn how people play tournaments, how they bet, what they call with but most importantly they are willing to lay down (if they show). The further on you get in the competition, it becomes by far a better and more sensible game, but you need some luck to get to that point.”

Having acquired the knowledge he sought, Guner’s next task will be to conquer that live tournament. And if he can do that, who knows what’s next?

“When I watch poker on TV,” says Guner, “I always picture myself with a T-shirt that has a big poker sponsor on it. My dream is to be a poker player.”


There’s still time to win with our Spin of the Day promotion. Check out all the details here and get in on the action before April 14th!

Jason has covered poker since 2005. He lives in Washington state with his wife and two dogs.

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