There are quite a few fun-loving characters on the European poker scene, but few are as universally liked as Scotland’s Ludovic ‘Ludovi333’ Geilich-Jonsen.
His live poker resume boasts UK & Ireland Poker Tour and Wynn Classic wins, European Poker Tour and World Series of Poker final tables, not to mention more than $1.3 million in earnings. But it’s online where Geilich-Jonsen really cuts his teeth, and he’s had quite a year on the virtual felt, most notably taking down the 2016 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha for a cool $462,000.
He’s now cracked the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time (sitting at #9 at the time of writing).
“I’ve been keeping an eye on the rankings, to be honest,” he says. “The WCOOP win gave me a lot of points and shot me up to 76th or something. So I started looking and I decided to make a goal for myself.
“I said ‘I’m going to try and get in the top three of the UK, and the top 20 of the world’. Now I’m in the top 10 in the world and top two in the UK. I’m close enough to becoming #1 in the UK, but I’ve got to put the volume in, which I’ve not been doing.”
(Editor’s Note: Geilich-Jonsen moved up to #1 in the United Kingdom this week)
So if it’s not consistent grinding, to what does Geilich-Jonsen credit his success? His answer was characteristically modest.
“I’ve been pretty lucky because I’ve only been playing every Sunday, with maybe the odd Tuesday or Thursday. I’ve ran super good, collected all these points, and shot up the rankings quicker than I should have, if I’m honest.
“I‘ve not been grinding every night for sure,” he tells me. “If I’m out with the boys or whatever, then I’m out with the boys. And if I’m travelling, I’ll play a Sunday but that’s about it.
“I was in Punta Cana for two weeks recently where I only played the two Sundays, and had no success. Then I came back home and played the next Sunday and I ran super hot. I chopped the $1k Sunday Grand, I won the Bounty $215, and I came third in the Hot $55. That just stacked me up lots of points and put me in the top ten.
“That’s probably the best I’ve ever ran on a normal Sunday (i.e. no WCOOP or SCOOP) in like three years.”
Eyeing the #1 spot
Geilich-Jonsen has been a member of PocketFives since 2012, and is pretty familiar with both the rankings and the big online names. He shared some of his thoughts on the current world #1, who coincidentally finished second to him in his WCOOP win.
“The leader right now is Fabrizio ‘SixthSenSe19’ Gonzalez, and I don’t think anyone is catching him until he decides to take a break. There’s a massive gap between first and second, and he’s been putting in a load of volume.
“A lot of regs probably think he’s a bad reg, but I don’t think he is. He does some things unorthodoxly and other regs might not like the lines he takes. But that’s what makes you money sometimes. Like fu_15, he used to do the same thing. People used to think he was punty and spewy, but I think you’ve got to show up with a punt to get paid sometimes.
“Then, when you go back to playing the same way that everyone else is playing, I think you get a lot more respect. Where previously you’ve been splashing about and not getting any respect, against certain opponents it might tilt them and annoy them. So the reg is at home saying “Look at this donk, who plays like this!”, showing their friends that they’re grinding with. But it’s affected them. So doing it might be a losing play, but long term it could be a winning play.”
Despite so much success in both live and online poker this year, Gelich-Jonsen was notably absent from some of the bigger buy-in events at EPT13 Prague. I wanted to know his thoughts on his future at the live felt.
“The recent success has dictated what I want to play,” he says. “I don’t really want to focus on live poker right now. It’s too frustrating when it turns out bad.
“I don’t want to play the $10ks all the time. Some of these guys play their A-game at all times.”
He mentions Fedor Holz, Charlie Carrel, David Peters, and Adrian Mateos as just some of the tougher opponents, plus his good friend Niall Farrell.
“Firaldo’s always there, and he’s out having a good time with the boys a lot of the time! Yet when he plays, he gets deep runs.
“These guys are on another level with their A-game consistency. I can’t sustain that level. If something has affected me the night before, like I’m hungover or whatever and I’m having to focus on a three/four/five day tournament, I’m not going to play my A-game.”
For Geilich-Jonsen, it seems poker is all about playing well (when he wants to play), but more importantly just enjoying the ride.
“This is the fourth year in a row I’ve been to Prague, and I don’t think I’ve ever made money. In fact, the best places to go are the places where you don’t really make money, because you’re just out every night. This year was the only year in Vegas I’ve made money; there are just too many distractions!”