ArticleMeet Poker Academy Ambassadors – Kuba Michalak

– In poker, we need to be more grateful than proud. We never know if by making even the best decisions we will win – these are the words of Kuba Michalak, one of the most successful poker players from Poland. Let’s meet another ambassador of the Poker Academy. Shall we?

By Doro | 21 Jun 2023
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Kuba Michalak bears testament that money was never his goal. Rather, he is more interested in making right decisions and understanding their rationale. As a result of this attitude, Kuba has enjoyed immense success as a poker player – having earned $2.5 million from poker tournament winnings, he ranks 5th on Poland’s All-Time Money List. And above all he is a very happy man.

Hard work that paid off

He first tried his hand at poker in 2008 when one of his buddies invited him to take a summer job in England. It was there that he visited a casino for the first time and got to experience the thrill of playing poker. Since that moment, he has been hooked on this exciting card game.

I started with a beer game with a friend. We didn’t even have chips, and we wrote down our stacks on a piece of paper. Later we went to a casino for a £2 buy-in tournament with rebuys. I was earning £5 an hour at the time. It was the first time I connected poker with money and that it was possible to make money from this game. I remember this feeling that hardly anyone knows anything, and everyone is spending – so it seemed to me at the time – big money on it.

2EZ Poker Team

Kuba used the wait for his free startup capital to be credited to his account as an opportunity to study the game. He dedicated several hours a day to study ICM spots, and when it came time to sit down at the $1 SNG tournament tables, he found that he was one of the few people there with any knowledge of what they were doing.

It turned out that everything had already gone off very easy. Not only did I work on the game myself, but I also sat down every day and analyzed hands on SNG tournaments for PokerStrategy.

2EZ Poker Team

Kuba’s decision to focus his life on poker officially came in February 2010. He not only stopped pursuing further education, but he also moved out of his house and found a place to live with fellow poker player Marcin Wydrowski, which they dubbed the “poker shack”. During those first 18 months, Kuba chose to invest all of his energy into learning as much as possible about the game and climbing the poker ladder before withdrawing a single dollar from the poker room.

Marcin Wydrowski and Kuba Michalak/ ©Merit Poker

Black Friday 

The Black Friday events in the US had a lasting impact on players even outside of America. Following the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s shutdown of PokerStars, FullTiltPoker, and Absolute Poker servers in April 2011, many players were left unable to play poker. Kuba Michalak has described this event as one of the most difficult times of his poker career.

Black Friday in 2011 and the FTP collapse on which I had 90% of the bankroll. It was tough, but Marcin and I made it through.

2013: A year to remember

Most poker tournaments are usually hosted in casinos and large rooms that form part of hotel and conference complexes. On some occasions, someone may even organize a tournament on a cruise ship or other unique locations. In 2013, Kuba Michalak had the once in the lifetime opportunity to win a poker tournament held at one of the world’s most renowned football arenas.

Kuba made history when he won the ISPT Wembley Main Event at just 26-years-old, defeating a field of 760 players to take home the grand prize of €436,000 and the tournament’s trophy. It was hailed as the largest single tournament win in Polish live poker history. One of those big wins that turned a man into a millionaire in his country at a glance.

Kuba once again demonstrated his poker prowess a few months later at the EPT Prague festival. Winning the €2,200 No-Limit Hold’em tournament earned him another six-figure victory of €119,100.

Best place to play poker

In the years to follow, Kuba continued to rack up impressive prizes in numerous live tournaments. At the end of 2016, he secured a win in the EPT Malta High Roller with a buy-in of €10,000, earning him €178,000. Later that year, he began travelling to Northern Cyprus to play at events organized by Merit Poker – a popular destination for many top Polish poker players.

I think the first one to fly there was Kacper Pyzara, who won $50,000 there or so, I think. I honestly believe that this is the best place to play poker.

2EZ Poker Team

Cyprus is a popular destination for poker players, due to its great location and excellent service. The price of accommodation includes delicious food, and there are endless activities to enjoy after being eliminated from the tournament.

I don’t understand why people go to Rozvadov instead of going to Cyprus.

2EZ Poker Team

Kuba Michalak holds a special place in his heart for the Cyprus. He has been back on multiple occasions and come away either with decent ITM cashes or with big six-figures scores. In 2022, he won the HR tournament for $5,000 which earned him over $122,000. Then, that following January he finished third in the same event and pocketed an additional $73,000. Michalak’s most recent success came in May 2022 when he finished third in the Main Event and took home more than $233,000.

© Merit Poker

To wrap up our presentation, let us leave you with Kuba’s words. It is enlightening to hear from a successful poker player who has amassed $2,5 million in tournament winnings, though his primary focus was never really on making money.

The key to success in poker and in life lies in understanding that there is no goal. The goal is the journey itself – meaning the ups and downs – and we have to keep exploring, keep growing. Because if we stop doing that, our competition will run away from us.

2EZ Poker Team
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