In September, Malta’s Steven SvZffvan Zadelhoff hit $3 million in career online tournament scores. He is the third-ranked player in the European nation and plays as Viktor on Full Tilt Poker. He has several sizable scores to his credit, including a runner-up finish in a 2007 FTOPS event for $247,000 and a Sunday Million victory that same year for another $193,000.
Worldwide, van Zadelhoff is #119 in the PocketFives Rankings, 78 spots off his all-time high set earlier this year. He has 4,202 tracked scores at an average of $756 each.
PocketFives: Congrats on getting to $3 million in online MTT winnings. How are you feeling about it?
Steven van Zadelhoff: Well, I can’t really buy a house from it, so when I get to $4 million, I’ll try to have a bit more of it in my back pocket, but we’ll see about that a year from now.
PocketFives: As we mentioned, you had a huge 2007.
Steven van Zadelhoff: I was trying to get my career started for a couple of years, grinding some small live tournaments and getting the hang of online poker when I won the Sunday Million in April 2007. A couple months later, I took second in the first multi-day $2,500 FTOPS for a quarter-million dollars.
Those were absurd amounts of money, of course, and although I had swapped a lot of action, these prizes gave me the opportunity to start traveling more and up my game a bit.
My girlfriend was watching because she actually encouraged me to play the Million. I was a bit tired, but she said, “Listen, you want to be a poker pro, so you’d better play this tournament.” Because she convinced me to play it, somewhere halfway through when I got the chip lead I promised her implants if I won the whole thing. When you ask how that victory changed my life, I get a grin on my face…
The years that followed were amazing. We got the chance to travel the whole world, not in the least because those victories helped me get a sponsorship deal from Everest Poker. I could play whatever and wherever I wanted. My best memories for sure are Aruba, Hawaii, Bahamas, and of course 10 seasons of the WSOP.
PocketFives: Do you play any cash games?
Steven van Zadelhoff: In the beginning, I switched between cash games and MTTs. The sponsorship deal made that choice easier, so I dedicated myself to MTTs. In hindsight, the downside of that choice is that I never really learned how to play post-flop poker, but I’ve been trying to fix that the last couple of years.
PocketFives: How have your friends and family reacted?
Steven van Zadelhoff: My parents and friends have always been supportive. I guess I’ve always been a bit adventurous, so poker must have been seen as something fitting. I knew what it was like to go broke because I had lost my money in the stock market before, so they knew I would always be open about stuff like that and never lie or cheat, but instead work myself out of it.
PocketFives: What’s your poker life like right now?
Steven van Zadelhoff: I’m working my ass off now, studying many hours a day, and I’m not gonna stop until I’ve earned myself a house in Amsterdam. I have won like 10 small tournaments in the last two weeks. I’m excited to go after awards like the PocketFives Triple Crown too.