January 2019, PCA, Bahamas.
Matthias Eibinger open raises from the button off a stack that is 40 big blinds deep, facing the passive big blind defense from Fedor Holz. They take it to the flop, turn and river, with Matthias finding one of his pure triple barrel bluffs. After thinking for quite some moments, Fedor flicks in the chips with a small pair and is good against Matthias' air. Matthias sits for a moment, has a hard time realizing what has happened, and then leaves the room. He would not forget that very hand for the next few days to come.
After having watched through the live coverage for the following hours, Matthias could still not find any leak, any tell, he was giving away. How the hell did Fedor know?
Matthias meets Fedor for breakfast the next morning. "How did you make that call, Fedor?"... The answer: a smart and cheeky grin by one of the best poker players ever, a smart, talented genius, Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz. We might not know how Fedor did it, hadn't the two of them started to discuss the idea of making a poker course together, at that very breakfast. Matthias would bring in the GTO solutions together with his partner and stakee Simon "IgorKarkarof" Rønnow Pedersen (Denmark's #1 online poker player according to Pocketfives), Fedor would cover the exploits.
Next stop: finding the right partners for the joint venture, because pulling off a triple barrel bluff, or an insanely brave hero-call is the one thing. However, growing an online business, a product that would meet up with the expectations would be a different one. Fedor made some calls within his network, finding interest in Stefan and Kate. A pair, two poker lovers, two serial entrepreneurs with extensive experience and knowledge regarding online learning, as well as founding and starting a serious company. Masterplan.com had been their invention, with Stefan leading the operations, and Kate growing the development team accordingly.
It would be the very same team for "the best poker course ever". Trying to combine the Netflix-like content library of Masterplan.com, with the user experience similar to the Masterclass, for the first time with never-before-disclosed wisdom from two of the poker industry's brightest minds. Only one piece was missing. Someone who would do the hands-down work. Someone who would cover the daily operations, running from tax, legal, and accounting, over to product management, over to marketing, social media, e-mail, business development, and the likes. That's when Fedor asked me, Johannes, in the middle of March 2019, if I wanted to "grow a poker course together". I snap-called, and so the early foundation was set.
It would be Stefan providing Masterplan's license for use of the white-labeled learning platform, Kate who would hire the developers, Fedor, Matthias, and Simon to gather, write down, and pull up the poker knowledge, and Johannes to combine all forces into one direction.
The next important event, alongside all the legal stuff of actually founding the legal entity of the Pokercode GmbH, a process that would take around one year, after all, was when Fedor, Matthias, and Johannes gathered in March 2019, where Matthias and Fedor would walk Johannes through the Pokercode framework, the very first raw draft, a five-digit-lines google spreadsheet, split into over 20 topics, "the best poker course ever". The holy grail, the poker knowledge Fedor, Matthias, and Simon would want to share as the intended all-in-one poker masterclass. Later on, named and better known as ‘the Pokercode’.
An important aspect that's been let out so far up until this point, is certainly the question of ‘why even do it?’ Well, it is an extremely important one because motivation, drive, and dedication are certainly needed to build a company from scratch, and it needs to come from somewhere, right? Well, Fedor has answered the question countless times, but I'd like to repeat it. Fedor had already been out of the game when gathering the team around him to start the Pokercode, but there was something hunting him. People were reaching out constantly, fans were begging him, followers were asking him the following questions: "How can I get better in poker?" "How shall I study the game?", "Fedor, I am a beginner, what should I do first?" The list goes on.
Over the last few years, Fedor has been asked countless times to share insights into what he believes to work, becoming better in poker. So, that was the foundation, the cornerstone, of Fedor wanting to start a poker course. Finally sharing his extensive knowledge about the game we all love so much.
Hungry, humble but also patient for more. Let's fucking go Team Pokercode.
Pokercode CEO & Co-Founder
This was the first part of "Inside the Pokercode", where we try to share insights and provide behind the scenes disclosure of how the Pokercode truly is built, and works. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow along as we take you back to our origins and show you behind the scenes footage!
Check out our other articles, interviews, and stories. You'll love it!
This is part 2 of Pokercode Origins, a 5-part series where Johannes Mansbart takes you along the ride past memory lane on how it all started.
High Stakes Poker Tournaments feel like the top of the Poker World! Steffen Sontheimer stepped away from this world in recent years and recently told us why!
Fedor Holz about why he came back to poker and started the Pokercode after retiring in 2016.