Swedish high-stakes poker pro returns from poker hiatus and earns high roller title. 

Las Vegas, NV (September 5, 2016)Erik Sagstrom really loves poker. After staying up playing cash games all night long, Sagstrom late registered at the last possible moment for the $5,300 no-limit hold’em high roller event.

Sagstrom registered just before Day 2 started on Monday afternoon and the decision not to sleep turned out to be a good one. The well-known Swedish high-stakes poker professional bested a field of 26 players to take home $65,000.

“It feels good,” said Sagstrom. “I’ve been up for the better part of 36 hours, so I’m a bit tired. But it’s a good finish to the day. Or maybe two days.”

Sagstrom made a name for himself in the early days of online poker. He then jumped into live high-stakes cash games and dabbled in some of the high-stakes tournaments. He earned his largest score in the $10,000 HORSE World Championship in 2009, ultimately finishing third for $522,393.

He was around for a few more years before taking a few years off from poker. He spent most of his time back in Sweden and playing very little poker.  

“I wasn’t really playing poker for a long time,” said Sagstrom. “I was in Sweden and I was doing some different things. I was betting sports and not really playing much poker over the last four years. Or maybe three years. I don’t even know.”

After several years away from the game, Sagstrom decided get a visa and come back to the states. Just before the 2016 WSOP, Sagstrom made his way back to Vegas and picked up where he left off – playing high stakes poker.

He jumped right back into cash games and has been playing the biggest games around for the last few months. He even picked up his first WSOP cash in several years last June, a 19th place finish in the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Championship.

“I’ve been doing a little of this and a little of that and then I came here,” said Sagstrom of his recent activity. “I wasn’t planning on playing much, but once you’re here, you get sucked in. Life is crazy and the degenerate that I am, I play all the time now.”

Sagstrom picked up a win in a no-limit hold’em event on Monday evening, but he considers himself to be a mixed game specialist. Most of his time spent on the felt is in ‘Bobby’s Room,’ playing some of the biggest cash games the world has to offer.

“It’s actually a mix of everything,” said Sagstrom of the cash games he plays in. “There is no-limit hold’em, there is pot-limit Omaha, there are stud games, there’s everything. The mix is four no-limit games and seven limit games. It’s everything. I feel pretty comfortable playing everything.”

Sagstrom’s cash games have a cap on the big bet games, where players can only commit a certain amount of money to the pot before the betting is over and the rest of the hand is played as an all in pot. This format of cash game is part of the reason Sagstrom decided to play the event.

“So this structure works sort of good for me,” said Sagstrom. “It’s like a cap where you only have 20 bets or you have a little more to start. It’s a good structure for me.”

By registering so late, Sagstrom started out the tournament with a shallow stack and he was able to work that to his advantage. He continued to apply pressure to his opponents and when there were five players remaining, Sagstrom had most of the chips in play.

He continued to apply pressure throughout short-handed play and eventually the bubble burst to put the final three players in the money. Sagstrom eliminated Jayakrishnan Nair in third place to get heads-up with Joe Kuether, who won this event last year. Sagstrom started out the heads-up match the chip lead and never relinquished it. In less than two full levels of play, Sagstrom earned the win and eliminated Kuether in second.

With his poker hiatus over and a win already under his belt, it is likely Sagstrom will be spotted more often in the tournament world.

“I’m playing a lot of poker tournaments all over the U.S. actually,” he said. “I played at the Bike a few days ago and then I played here. I’m going to travel and I’m going to play a lot of poker tournaments. I’ll be around.” 

Joseph Cheong was the unfortunate bubble boy, hitting the rail in fourth place. Here are a look at the results:

1st: Erik Sagstrom - $65,000
2nd: Joe Kuether - $39,000
3rd: Jayakrishnan Nair - $26,000