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Meet Michael Keiner

Meet Michael Keiner_big

The partnership between 888 Pacific Poker and Michael Keiner has ended on December 2009

He's a WSOP champ and he thinks poker is more fun than liposuction. Before making a living from playing poker, Michael Keiner was a plastic surgeon. He also worked the stock market. In 1997 he won the Seven Card Stud European Championship. This year he won the WSOP Seven Card Stud Championship. He lives in Germany.

Congratulations on winning the WSOP 7-card Card Stud Championship at WSOP
Thank you.

What will you be spendingyour winnings on?
I've been doing this for 13 years and I cash in many smaller events, so it's all income. I no longer wish for a Ferrari or boat any more.

How did you get into poker?
In San Diego when I was on medical training in 1993. A doctor there took me to a poker club and I played Limit Hold'em. Then in 1996 the game came to Germany and I started playing in casinos there.

When did you go pro?
For three years I travelled to all other big tournaments even though I was still working as a plastic surgeon. I got better and in 2000 I decided to go pro.

Did you miss surgery?
Not at all. I'd done 2,000 boob jobs and liposuctions. I was going blind! I did noses, eyes, tummies - the lot. Liposuction was big in 1996. I was doing five liposuctions a day. I got sick of it.

You also worked the stock market as a trader in the 1980s?
I did it full-time. I made a huge amount of money. My turnover was one million marks a day. Serious money.

Was it a high-roller lifestyle?
It was for a time, but the first Iraq War broke me. The Japanese markets plummeted and I lost all my money. I sold my Porsches and bought a VW Beetle.

Is playing the financial markets similar to poker?
Both are about making decisions without emotion. You learn to approach things analytically - that's the secret.

So they have the same principles?
Basically yes. It's about making good bets. You have to calculate the risk of investing your money. If you have a 25 per cent chance of winning a hand and you have to invest 50 per cent of your money to play, it is not a good bet.

Have you adapted your play because of the online poker boom?
The internet has changed everything. A slow revolution started in poker in 2003. I really struggled for about a year but then eventually I found a new style and I managed to start winning again.

So online players are changing the game?
The forums have become opinion leaders. Once a lot of people start doing the same thing it becomes a strategy. Information exchanges are so fast. Every day you need to read the internet forums.

Give us an example?
In former times if you raised under the gun, in early position, pre-flop it was meant to be a very strong hand. Now it is exactly the opposite. Players think about first-mover advantage now. So if I raise under the gun in early position it forces them to make a decision.

Do online players have any weaknesses?
They do when it comes to live play. They can't see tells. These guys are not used to reading people and lack self-discipline in their body language. They have no patience. They don't like waiting 25 minutes or an hour to play a hand.

What are your plans for the rest of 2007?
I want to play in all the major tournaments. I do commentary for 888 in Germany and want to do more of that. I enjoy having something new to learn.

Any tips for online poker players?
Yes - play in satellites. You can practise your skills and have a chance to win your way into a big tournament. It's one of the best ways to get yourself on the circuit.