Fedor Holz is the founder of Pokercode, former number one tournament player in the world, online world champion, two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, and the player on top of Germany’s all-time money list with over $40 million in tournament earnings.
Holz has been a mainstay in the poker world for nearly a decade, rising to prominence through the first half of the last decade. He notched the first two six-figure scores of his career in May 2015 at the EPT in Monte Carlo, hitting two final tables that earned him €337,500 and €329,800 respectively, and he culminated the year with his first million-dollar score as well, winning the WPT Five Diamond High Roller in Las Vegas in December 2019 for nearly $1.6 million.
Holz carried that momentum into 2016, amassing four more seven-figure scores including wins in the WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One Drop ($4.98 million) and in Super High Roller events at WPT Philippines ($3.07 million) and EPT Barcelona ($1.47 million). In total, his winnings for the year earned him the title of #1 tournament poker player in 2016.
Much of Holz’s success through the years has come from a combination of his work ethic and his community. Holz cites several German peers that he became close with early in his career, saying that they traveled together, stayed with each other on trips, and spent countless hours studying and exchanging information with one another away from the tables. As a result, they increased their skills immensely in a very short amount of time.
Upon reaching the top, Holz increased his footprint in the game by getting involved in coaching and staking. He also took it upon himself to begin sharing others’ content he felt would be of value to the poker world and began to think of how he could begin to do the same.
However, Holz also took a step back, announcing retirement from pursuing the game professionally at the end of 2016. Understanding his investments into the game also meant cutting ties to coaching and staking involvements. Nonetheless, he still played on occasion and racked up some scores through 2017-18, including a runner-up finish in the $1 million WSOP Big One for One Drop for $6 million in July 2018.
Come 2019, Holz decided to up the ante again by starting Pokercode along with head coach Matthias “iambest2” Eibinger. At first, it was a means first of helping poker players improve their games, but they quickly realized it was about something bigger.
Just as Holz’s community was imperative to his quick ascent, the community became the underlying basis to Pokercode and its future growth. Holz felt that if they believed the community was the primary component, that they needed to lead by example. Poker content is available all over the internet, but access to a group of dedicated, like-minded players that consistently discuss hands, give feedback on stats, etc. was something different.
This also was a contributing factor to the subscription model on Pokercode, taking a universal approach to member access rather than creating a-la-carte courses with upsales and the like: “we believe people who are passionate about the game in the format of tournaments should be in one pool,” Holz said.
Come 2020, Holz also jumped back into the realm of high stakes tournament poker, doing so online due to COVID-19. He experienced tremendous success once again, winning the WSOP $25,000 Heads-Up Event in September, 2020 for $1.077 million among a 24-hour stretch that also included scores of $515,000, $255,000, and $202,000. (LINK TO 2D2MM BLOGPOST)
Re-entering the high stakes arena was not all smooth sailing for Holz, though. While others may have studied rigorously or stepped into smaller stakes to get re-acclimate, Holz chose to test himself right away and compete with the best in the world. This was right in line with his general approach to the game, feeling that challenging himself is the best way he learns and grows.
Tournament poker has evolved considerably over the last handful of years, and Holz was able to notice that right away once again. Players’ concepts of both equilibrium and how/when to exploit others had both grown, and he was able to use that to his advantage by going to school on the competition and seeing how they adjusted so that he could adapt accordingly, himself.
“I just love that process of learning a lot in a very short time frame,” Holz said of the matter. He also stated that it was more than just learning: it was about intense learning with application. The application was indeed clear, as was evidenced by the success he had through 2020 online, but he also now feels he is at a stable place with his game once more, not one where he feels the need (or desire) to invest significant study time.
Instead, Holz can continue to focus on growing the Pokercode community: “I have a fun time interacting with [the community and] responding to a lot of the posts in the strategy section.” He feels a lot of other members in the community are on the same page, creating an environment he can proudly proclaim is full of people going out of their way to support one another, rail them in deep runs, create study groups, and so on.
“That combination [of both community and getting better at poker], I do not know something [else] out there that is like that, and I love the way it is.” Said Holz of Pokercode. “And it’s just going to get better.”
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Pokercode co-founder Matthias Eibinger found himself in a tricky spot playing the $10,000 EPT Online High Roller. With the chip lead in hand and six players remaining, he clashed with Daniel 'SmilleThHero' Smiljkovic and was put to the test with just ace-high.
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