Pokercode co-author and head coach Simon Rønnow Pedersen, also known throughout the online poker world as “IgorKarkarof”, has been one of the most successful multi-table tournament (MTT) players on the internet over the last handful of years. Let’s dive a little deeper into Simon’s achievements and the man behind the screen name.
Hailing from Denmark, Rønnow Pedersen has over $8 million in lifetime earnings online, making him the country’s winningest online poker player, according to PocketFives. He also has more than $450,000 in cashes in the live realm, with his largest score coming in December 2019 at EPT Prague, where he earned €248,340 for his third-place finish in the €10,300 High Roller event.
This finish is one he attributes to a time where he really began to hit his stride, as can be evidenced by the five six-figure scores he amassed online between September 2019 and June 2020 (and seven more scores of $50,000+ during that same time period). One of these big scores in September ‘19 came with a WCOOP title. ‘IgorKarkarof’ collected the first-place prize of $156,669 beating a 435-entry strong field to claim his first WCOOP title.
According to Rønnow Pedersen, there are a few reasons for attaining the level of success that has made him the number one online tournament player in Denmark. When compared to many other European countries, poker isn’t as popular. The country does have a handful of promising up-and-coming players, but none of them have really broken through to the online high stakes yet, meaning the pool for competition is not as large as many other countries in the region.
Beyond that, Simon has found way into a lot of deep runs in big tournaments despite not playing a tremendous amount of them. He prefers to spend the majority of the time he invests into poker studying rather than putting in volume at the tables. With the high stakes tournament landscape being as competitive as it is, Simon firmly believes this is not only necessary but is the best way to get the most value for his time when he does play.
He is hyper-aware that the game is always changing. It can be tough to get back to speed even after a few short months of not staying on top of one’s studying, and he has worked hard on finding that proper balance between playing and studying through the years. It is important to study, but he also feels it is important to play enough to stay in tune with the game flow and everything that cannot be simulated away from the tables.
Rønnow Pedersen’s aforementioned stride in tournaments coincided with the time that Pokercode launched. During that time, he spent a lot of hours around Pokercode co-founders and head coaches Fedor Holz and Matthias Eibinger, and it’s no secret that his investment into his game during that time paid off immensely.
More specifically, the fact that the Pokercode addresses everything from A-Z in a manner that leaves no stones unturned, of sorts, was a huge benefit. There are a lot of spots and concepts in poker that one may understand in a general manner, but diving into them and thoroughly addressing them became one of Simons’ biggest assets within his game.
However, the number one most important aspect of his success has been surrounding himself with players that were better than him. As mentioned, Rønnow Pedersen spent a lot of time with Holz and Eibinger, and he said Eibinger was one of the most critical players in pushing him and helping him to grow.
In addition to spending time studying and working together, Rønnow Pedersen and Eibinger have also had some recent history at the tables – when Rønnow Pedersen earned his largest career live score at EPT Prague in December 2019, he finished one place ahead of Eibinger, who took 4th place for $223,580.
Fast forward to May 2020, the two also made the final table of a $5,000 buy-in SCOOP-H event. Eventually, they found themselves heads up with one another, and this time it was Eibinger that wound up on top. Rønnow Pedersen’s runner-up finish earned him $88,064, while Eibinger took the top prize of $114,703.
Nonetheless, such experiences were special for Rønnow Pedersen. Since the two had spent so much time studying with one another, he cherished the ability to test things out versus Eibinger with all the money on the line; and even though he wound up taking second, Simon said he was very happy with his performance, and that it felt like a complete victory even though he took second.
After his run that started in September 2019 and lasted throughout the first months of 2020, Simon decided it was time to take a break. The Danish #1 online player was burned out from the constant grind and decided to focus on some things outside of poker.
Rønnow Pedersen is a big believer in taking care of both his body and his mind as well. He’s big on working out and having a daily schedule and says he tries to see himself in his best version of himself, and then strives and works to become that person. He’s also walking the walk, having moved onto a farm with the goal of ultimately learning to become more sufficient and to live sustainably off of the land.
Rønnow Pedersen did say he also loves food, however. (But who doesn’t?) At the end of the day, the goal is to get to a place of health and balance with it all, whether it’s food, poker, or anything else in life.
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