- Facebook: Martin-Staszko
- Twitter: @MStaszko
- Birthdate: 22nd June 1976
- Birthplace: Třinec, Czech Republic
- Residence: Třinec, Czech Republic
- Biggest Win: $5,654,212
- Total Winnings: $5,626,962
Martin Staszko, a Czech professional poker player and 2011 November niner, was born June 22nd 1976. Staszko finished the 2011 World Series of Poker in 2nd place, after losing a final hand to the main event winner Plus Neinze. Staszko made history as the first ever Czech to make a World Series of Poker final table.
Staszko was raised in Trinec, Czech Republic, amidst a population of about 37,000 by his parents.
Staszko has always been a competitive sort of person, as a child he was an athlete, proving himself a competitor when he won the Long Jump Championship even as far back as primary school.
During his tenure as a high-school student, Martin Staszko began playing the game of mariáš, which is widely known as the most popular card game in both the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, as well as betting on sports.
Throughout his time as a student at Technical University of Ostrava Staszko supported himself by gambling, as well as amassing savings of CZK400,000 which is the equivalent of about €14,000 or $18261 each year.
According to Staszko poker is a piece of cake in comparison to Chess.
While at University Staszko won the Czech University Darts Championship, in addition to playing chess. It’s Chess according to Staszko, a 20 year veteran of the game, that taught him the patience required to become a successful poker player. Chess, Staszko said, requires more preparation than a game of poker, as well as preparing players for the endurance required to sustain long sessions at the table.
Martin Staszko first began playing poker about six years ago, in 2007, after having watched the game being played on television. During that time it was free to join poker tournaments online – there wasn’t huge prize pools like there are now, but the entry was free.
In those freerolls, Staszko started building an online poker bankroll. He started collecting small wins and adding up a few coins here and there. He started cashing a bit bigger, and stacking a few dollars here and there and he made his way all the way to the World Series of Poker, on a freerolled bankroll.
Staszko was stacking a month’s salary a night playing poker online.
During that time, according to Wikipedia, Staszko was working for Hyundai as foreman supervising more than 200 employees. He earned a salary of CZK 30,000 which is equal to €1,200. After working a 12 hour shift, Staszko would log on to an online poker site and get some time at the tables before getting somewhere between 4 and five hours of sleep each night. The next day, he’d do it all over again.
After a big win in France, where Staszko earned €35,000 in a live tournament, Staszko quit his job to become a full time poker pro. Staszko told ESPN that it was either poker or his job and that he liked playing poker better than he liked his job.
In June of 2011 like thousands of other poker fans, Staszko made the trip to Las Vegas. He entered 14 WSOP tournament events. He even played with Phil Helmuth. He said that he was amazed because Helmuth folded to his bluffs but he called him when he had hands. Live poker players didn’t read his play.
Staszko Waited for Other Players to Bust out While He Made it Past the Money Bubble
Of the 14 events that Staszko entered, he cashed in 4. He also bought his way into the main event. During the early days he didn’t do amazingly well, in fact, he barely stayed in the game. As players busted out and those left in got closer and closer to cashing, Staszko barely had any chips left to keep himself in the game, about 17,000 to the average players 300,000.
Nearing the bursting of the bubble, Staszko found himself at a table with Erick Lindgren and a table full of players that had major chipstacks compared to his. He waited for a chance to double up, but none came. Finally, the bubble burst, and through basically sitting out, Staszko made the money letting other players make moves and bust out.
Finally, after waiting 4 hours for a hand, Staszko said he doubled up with hooks, good old pocket jacks, then again with Aces and he was back in the game. By the end of the 8th day Martin Staszko was the tournaments’ chip-leader.
In November of 2011, Martin Staszko went to the final table, not only as the tournaments chipleader but, as the first ever Czech to sit at the World Series of Poker Final Table.
Martin Staszko’s Favorite Poker Hand
Staszko doesn’t have a favorite hand, in fact, when we asked him about favorite hands he explained:
‘I don’t have a favorite hand. Everything depends on the situation I am in, on the position, number of chips I and opponents have, phase of the tournament and how much I know the opponents and the style of their game’.
Sounds like a chess player to me!
Staszko tells about several memorable hands that he played on the 8th day of the World Series of Poker in 2011, while sitting there at the final table.
‘Another good hand for me was at at the European Poker Tour in Copenhagen EPT Copenhagen towards the end of day 3. The blinds were at 3000/6000 with a 500T ante.
The player in the small blind raised to 12,000. I called from the big-blind. The flop was a KQ3 rainbow. The small blind bet 14000, I re-raised to 33,000. The small blind called. The turn-card was a 5 and the small blind player checked, I bet 50,000 and he called. The river card was a 9. Again, the small blind player checked. I go all in for 200,800, my opponent had 150,000 behind. After 5 minutes of thinking, he folded showing me AA. I showed him 10 10.’
Staszko’s Advice for Future Pro Poker Players
His advice is to stick strictly within your bankroll and learn good bankroll management, be patient and slowly develop your game.
Last updated July 2013