Name: Andras Koroknai
Hometown: Debrecen, Hungary
Chip Count: 29,375,000 (2nd overall)
Occupation: Professional Poker Player
College: University of Debrecen; Computers
Marital Status: Single
Poker Experience: 6 years
WSOP Earnings: $39,371
WSOP Cashes: 2 (both in 2010)
Main Event Results: 1 previous cash (2010: 339th place for $36,473)
2012 WSOP Events Entered: 1
WSOP Events Cashes: 1
Koroknai was interviewed the day after reaching the final table (July 17). Due to his limited English, the interview was conducted through the use of a translator. Here is the transcript of that interview:
WSOP: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and where do you now live?
KOROKNAI: I was born in a Debrecen Hungary. I live there now for the most part, but I am travelling around the world, mostly I am in Europe and the United States.
WSOP: Do you work or have you ever had a job other than poker?
KOROKNAI: I was a computer engineer and I was self-employed. I was working for my Uncle’s company called PC MAX KFT before dedicating to poker full-time.
WSOP: How did you discover poker?
KOROKNAI: I started to play poker because I got into an accident in Greece and I got injured. I was driving a moped and I fell. I almost fell down a cliff, but there was a sign that stopped me. I consider myself really lucky to survive that accident. After the accident, I started playing poker and I got really into it and decided to play it professionally. For the first part of my first year playing poker, I did not win any tournaments, and after that I started to win smaller tournaments.
WSOP: So that’s the only reason why you started to play poker?
KOROKNAI: Yes, I was injured and it affected my soul and body and I was really depressed with life and needed to find something else to do.
WSOP: How many years have you attended the WSOP and played the Main Event.
KOROKNAI: I started playing professionally in 2009 and I have played the WSOP ever since. I cashed in the Main Event in 2010.
WSOP: What made you decide to play the Main Event this year?
KOROKNAI: Since I knew about the WSOP, I really wanted to win the Main Event and that is why I entered. Whatever I do, whether it is poker or anything else, I want to do my best and try my hardest.
WSOP: How much do you play poker besides WSOP events?
KOROKNAI: This year, I mainly concentrated on my personal life, but I still play a lot of poker. I have also played a lot of high-stake cash games.
WSOP: When did you feel like you were going to be a part of the October Nine?
KOROKNAI: When I registered for the event I felt like I was going to make it.
WSOP: Tell us about the hand where you accidently mucked your cards, and needed a floor ruling in your favor to keep you alive in this tournament?
KOROKNAI: At first, I felt that the world was going to end. After that, when I got a second chance, I felt like that I had nothing to lose anymore and it was like the pressure was off.
(Note: According to the official WSOP rules, the ruling was the correct decision. Koroknai lost 60,000 in chips on the hand that he originally verbalized “all-in”, but that was arguably a better result for him than if he didn’t accidently muck his hand and had to face the pocket kings of his opponent Gaelle Baumann. The rule in poker is that once you muck your hand with action pending, your hand is considered dead. For more information on the rule in question, see Rule #89 of the Official WSOP rules)
WSOP: You eliminated both the 11th and 10th place finishers in this tournament, the two females depe in the event. How did you feel about that?
KOROKNAI: I hadn’t thought about it. When I sit down at the table, I don’t care if it’s a male or female player, everybody is equal and everybody wants to win. Everybody is each other’s opponents. There is no friendship at the poker table.
WSOP: How do you feel about being the only non-American at the final table?
KOROKNAI: I hadn’t thought about it. I honestly don’t care. I am very proud that I represent my small country.
WSOP: How did it feel to have other Hungarians at the WSOP behind you and supporting you?
KOROKNAI: It was an amazing experience and feeling. I was really thankful that they were there. Hungarians are the best fans and supporters.
WSOP: How are you going to spend your time in the next three months and how are you going to prepare for the final table?
KOROKNAI: I am going to relax a little bit and then I am going to play a bunch in Europe.
WSOP: You mentioned that you would like to learn English so you don’t have to use a translator and you can answer the questions on your own?
KOROKNAI: It is going to be a part of the next three months for me. I am going to take courses in English and learn from books when I get the chance.