Heads-Up with New Jersey Online Poker Player Norman Michalek (slystyle012)


PocketFives had the chance to catch up with Westfield, New Jersey’s Norman slystyle012Michalek (pictured, ranked #51 in New Jersey), who plays under the handle Abnormalitieson Borgata Poker. Over the summer, he took a three-month trip to Poland to visit family and then came back and went to work on the virtual felts.

With over $380,000 in tracked online cashes, some of Michalek’s accomplishments include a chop in the Garden State Super Series $75,000 Guaranteed Main Event for $15,750, a win in the WSOP $10,000 Guarantee for $3,324, and a win in the PartyPoker/Borgata Poker $10,000 Guarantee for $2,326. Visit PocketFives’ New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players.

PocketFives: What got you started playing online poker?

Norman Michalek: Like most players, I started playing poker after watching Chris Moneymaker win the WSOP Main Event back in 2003. I started playing a lot of dinky cash games in high school for lunch money and a few scrappy-structured tournaments after school to get better. During that time, I found myself immersed in the game and wanted to play more and get better. I always knew that Moneymaker was sponsored by PokerStars, so I decided that I would start playing there. I had a few runs in freerolls and the rest was history.

PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sitesto play and why?

Norman Michalek: I can’t say I have a favorite. Each of the New Jersey sites has its own pros and cons. Borgata has the better structured tournaments, while WSOP has a better tournament schedule. I have also heard good things about 888 Poker and should be looking to get on there as soon as possible. I’m just waiting for the days when PokerStars finally gets to New Jersey.

PocketFives: How many hours do you dedicate to poker each week?

Norman Michalek: My schedule has always been rather flexible. Truthfully, it all boils down to how lazy I am. On a good week, I would say I spend approximately 40 to 45 hours. Primarily, I’m a tournament player, so it’s hard to say. Some days I can go play a few tournaments and be out by 10:00pm and, other days, I’ll play until 3:00am. The best part about playing poker for a living is making your own schedule and not having to worry about anything else.

PocketFives: Since the launch of regulated online poker in New Jersey, what has been your most memorable cash or win?

Norman Michalek: My most memorable cash comes from the Garden State Super Series this past September. I remember coming back from a three-month stay in Poland and was motivated to put in a lot of hours into poker. One week later, I chopped the series’ $75,000 Guaranteed Main Event for about $16,000. This is my biggest cash to date and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

PocketFives: Is there anyone who helped change how you approach the game?

Norman Michalek: A lot of my success in poker is attributed to posting and browsing threads on 2+2. I have come to know many of the top players through that site and we talk on a frequent basis. I’m very grateful that I have a rolodex of players I can consult when I have any questions.

PocketFives: Do you play any live poker?

Norman Michalek: Unfortunately, yes. Live poker has been a double-edged sword for me. I always come into tournaments feeling motivated and come out of them dejected and pissed off. It has always been the monkey on my shoulder that I have been trying to get rid of. I have been playing live poker since 2010 and have yet to get the significant win I’ve been looking for. Perhaps some justice coming up in these Harrah’s Circuit Events?