foto by Larry Kang/ www.flickr.com
As teenagers, Marcel and his brothers worked at the marketplace in Amsterdam. Marcel recalls:
“In the summers we were outside but in the winters it was cold and you had to be inside and that’s when we started playing cards. We played some poker and then I started playing at clubs and later at casinos.”
In an interview he remembers the feeling he had at the time: “Poker was something for the gangsters – absolutely wicked! But there their strategy was without any logic; all they ever did was bluff – that is when I learnt to read my opponents.”
Instead of becoming a world famous musician, Marcel ended up working for customs at the government in Den Haag.
Conquering the professional poker scene
Marcel was making progress in poker and was getting better than most of his opponents - the other salesmen from Amsterdam marketplace. So one day they suggested he should enter a $ 1,000 buy in tournament, to play against Europe’s elite. Right after winning more than $ 40,000 in this tournament, he suddenly knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He started to travel from one tournament to the next, which earned him the nickname The Flying Dutchman. Funny enough, whenever he flies from city to city, Marcel Luske books with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which introduced a loyalty program for frequent flyers - also called “The Flying Dutchman”.
In the year 1999, he became a full-time poker player and only two short years later he really hit it off. In January 2001, Marcel Luske won the Prague Poker Open. In February, he entered the Euro Finals of Poker and celebrated three victories within three days. Another first place was to follow in March at the “British Open”. By the end of the year he was ranked the best European poker player.
Marcel Luske earned himself an enormous number of titles at various tournaments inside, but also outside of Europe, in only seven years. His personal highlights are all to be found in the course of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
When he appeared at the WSOP for the first time in 2002, he finished in the cashes twice and took third place in limit Omaha Hi Lo.
He moved into the focus of the public even more, when he came 14th out of 839 at the WSOP Main Event in 2003 and went away with $ 65,000. Later on that year, in October, he additionally won the European Poker Classics main event in London an earned another $ 116,940.
His ultimate breakthrough at the WSOP was in 2004 though. Highly motivated from his first two attempts at the WSOP he managed to finish in second place behind Joe Awada in the Seven-Card Stud event and received $ 120,800. Apart from that, he came tenth in the WSOP “World Championship Event” and won another $ 373,000.
In July 2005, he once more eliminated all his opponents at the “$ 10,000 Hall of Fame Poker Classic” and earned $ 142,503. In November he finished in fourth place at the “Master Classics of Poker” in his home town Amsterdam and went away with $ 102,462.
In the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo in March 2006, his seventh place brought him $ 134,902.
In 2007, he was also quite successful in the World Series of Poker, even though he did not win a single event. When he left the table after he dropped out in 13th place in the “Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Event”, all he said was: “Gentlemen, thank you very much. I am going outside to throw up now.”
Away from the poker tables
Marcel spends a lot of time playing poker and travelling to various tournaments, but he still has enough energy left to get involved with different organizations. As a member of the “World Poker Federation Advisory Board” he campaigns for the introduction of internationally applicable poker rules as well as certain etiquette within the world of poker.
Marcel also established the “International Poker Federation” in order to get all poker communities under one roof and to create common rules and standards. He is the founder and president of the “Federation Internationale de Poker Association” (FIDPA) and works together with a number of international organizations who are trying to unite poker communities around the world.
Furthermore Marcel Luske was a Board Member of the “World Poker Association” (WPA), which promotes professionalism in poker worldwide and supports the highest standards of ethical conduct in tournament poker activities. Additionally, he is Advisory Board Member at the “World Poker Store’s”, which sells poker equipment and a member of the “Tournament Directors Association” (TDA). The TDA is also an organization, whose objective is to draft a standardized set of rules for poker tournaments.
Besides playing professional poker, Marcel Luske also runs his own marketing firm and has plenty of other projects to stop him from getting bored.
Together with Noah Boeken, Marcel Luske initiated a new Dutch television series called “Veronica Poker”, which went on air in the beginning of 2007. In this TV show Marcel and Noah first taught Dutch celebrities how to play poker and then they let them compete against each other. The winner was invited to a major tournament in Las Vegas and appeared on “Poker Kings NL”, a televised poker tournament Luske and Boeken also took part in. And of course one could watch the winner on one of the famous “Celebrity Poker” TV tables as well.
He has now signed a contract with PokerStars and is a team pro-member.
Fans can even purchase a Marcel Luske nodding figure and Marcel released a DVD collection called “Poker My Way” to help online poker players survive in a real casino. Marcel believes:
“I think I have enough knowledge now to be a help to new and less experienced poker players. I am doing a DVD to “teach” people how to play tournaments and I think if you follow the strategies there and just have average luck you should be able to finish in the money.”
Elegant suits, upside-down sunglasses and singing performances
Various well-known poker stars like David Williams, Kirill Gerasimov and Noah Boeken were taught to play poker by Marcel Luske. In order to generally support other poker players, Marcel established a group called “Circle of Outlaws”.
Whenever Marcel Luske turns up to play, he wears an elegant designer suit, bringing some class into the place. He is also well-known for wearing patented upside down sunglasses. He explains:
“I wear sunglasses mostly to protect my eyes. Usually there are bright lights in the casinos. If you play for long hours, you can hurt your eyes and if you turn your glasses upside down they will shut the light out even more. Also you don’t have to lift your head up to see the flop properly. Sometimes when you need to check if there really is a heart out there and not a spade and you lift your head a little to see under the shades, you give away information. I don’t want to give my opponents that kind of information.”
Marcel’s most unique characteristic of all though is his love for music and his passion for singing, especially when he is playing poker. Marcel knows:
“Some feel uncomfortable listening to my singing and if they don’t like me, they get furious. Some take it personally and some simply feel distracted. Perhaps I’ll record an album!”
Marcel loves to joke around and to chat away to his opponents besides pulling silly faces! But at the end of the day, it is all show in order to get information. His ability to read other players is almost scary. Sometimes he seems to know exactly what cards the other players are holding and he uses this information to tie them into knots. Here is the legendary story of Marcel winding up his opponent at the WSOP 2004: Marcel folded his cards before the flop came on and turned to the other player saying: “Your kings are good.” The other participant replied: “You mean my Ace King?” trying to hide the fact, Marcel was dead-on, but Marcel stayed cool: “No, your pocket kings.”
Marcel is one of the most popular poker players in the community. He is a real sportsman and well-known for his friendly personality and good manners. There is no doubt: he knows exactly how to behave like a gentleman, especially at the poker table. He is seen as an extremely talented, clever and aggressive player.
Marcel Luske private
Currently, Marcel Luske lives in Amere, the Netherlands with his second wife and the two kids he had with his first wife. Karate is another big passion besides poker and he even holds a black belt.
Noah Boeken is one of Marcel’s best friends and they have already achieved many things together. Noah Boeken about Marcel Luske:
„Marcel and I are very good friends. He has taught me many valuable things but I also learned a lot from other pros. Calling him my ‘mentor’ is maybe a bit exaggerated but it sounds good. When I started playing poker, I read ‘Super System II’ but I never finished the book. The best way learn is watching other good players.”
On Marcel Luske’s myspace profile you can find plenty of fan entries like: “You are one of the reasons I got into poker, but I just can’t get close to your style man! Best wishes for the future!”
His fans are fascinated by the genuine kindness, the playful nature, the vocal performances, the elegant suits and the professional appearance of Marcel Luske. He is smart, works efficiently and at the same time he always stays a gentleman and a defender of respect and fair play.
“The Flying Dutchman” is highly respected within the whole poker community and even outside of it. He will probably stay in people’s minds for a long time, no matter whether he is admired for his way to play poker or simply because of his personality.
“Gentlemen, thank you very much. I will now ... go and find out, how to become a good poker player too!”
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