High stakes winner Jason Rosenkrantz on Team Israel, his top 5 players and why NLHE is the most skilful game

Jason Rosenkrantz is one of the biggest winners in the online high-stakes games but why is he such a poker icon?

If you follow the world of high-stakes no-limit cash games and you haven’t heard of Jason ‘Krantz’ Rosenkrantz then you really haven’t been paying attention. The 24-year-old New Yorker was the single biggest winner at the nosebleed hold’em games in 2007, and although 2008 hasn’t gone as well for him, he is still widely regarded as one of the best online high-stakes pros.

Krantz is probably the best known member of a group of New York-based pros known as Team Israel, and is also a founder of the poker training site DuecesCracked. His videos on the site give an insight to his creative, aggressive style, but he still remains one of the more enigmatic figures on the high-stakes scene.

His lifestyle, divided between New York City and Las Vegas, would seem to be the envy of most twenty-somethings, with a heady mix of fast cars, money and partying. But how did the film school graduate end up playing $ 500/$ 1,000 no-limit games, and what does he see himself doing next?

When/how did you start playing poker?

I started playing when Rounders came out – I was probably 13 or 14. I wasn’t any good until I had lost all my money a half dozen times in a half dozen drastically different yet painful scenarios. Then I discovered twoplustwo, and I read and played tons, and quickly got much better. It was like immersing myself in a foreign country – you learn to speak the language quickly, especially when you’re completely obsessed with speaking it.

What’s the story behind the Prinnyraid/purplEUROS handles?

A prinny is a slightly deformed, exploding penguin from a videogame my room-mate used to play. Prinnyraid is one of their attacks. purplEUROS was my screen name on Party Poker. I had a phase where I used to say ‘Euros’ instead of ‘dollars’ or ‘money’ and that screen name originated during that period.

Can you give us a brief rundown of how you got started online?

I started out at small stakes and ricocheted around. I took lots of shots at bigger stakes with very loose bankroll management and was, of course, continually knocked down. But I was getting better. I liked playing at higher stakes against much stronger opponents. I’d learn, and then I’d experiment at my new stakes, rinse and repeat. I tried not to mimic any one player but instead developed my own identity.

How quickly did you move up the levels?

I moved up from $ 2/$ 4 to $ 25/$ 50 in more or less the standard fashion. Then I ran really hot at $ 50/$ 100 and moved higher within the course of a week, then after that summer became a regular at $ 100/$ 200 to $ 300/$ 600.

You’ve been playing nosebleed stakes on Full Tilt Poker $ 500/$ 1,000 tables recently along with other Team Israel guys. How’s that going and do you think its good having such massive stakes available online?

Not well. Collectively we’re down over $ 3 million. To give you an idea of what’s par for the course, we lost our last eight all-ins, and in each one we had between 55-88% equity. Hard to say whether it’s good or bad. Most of the online players are not bankrolled for those stakes, but a lot of them have sold off some of their action. It sucks that you can play $ 10/$ 20 six-max, or play $ 500/$ 1,000, and there’s not much in between anymore. It makes it difficult for someone new to climb the ladder.

What have been the main factors in your development as a high-stakes player?

The summer I moved up to nosebleeds I was playing daily and talking so much poker with Brian Roberts (flawless_ victory), Emil Patel (whitelime) and Ariel Schneller (Foxwoods Fiend). That was most important to my development as a great no-limit player.

Who would you say are the top five online no-limit hold’em cash players in the world and what makes them so good?

Phil Galfond, Brian Roberts, Brian Hastings, Tom Dwan, and Dean Strachan. They are all very tough to play against. They constantly make good decisions, win lots of money and have brilliant poker minds.

You’re one of the creators of DeucesCracked, which has taken a very different model from other training sites. What is your role and how is that working out?

I act as creative director, spearheading the development of all the content and other various creative projects related to the company. It’s a different type of game with a whole new set of challenges. Continuing to search for ways to innovate and challenge the current methodologies and approaches to learning the game is a fun way to spend my time and I enjoy working with the team we’ve assembled.

You have quite a LAG/creative style. Have you always played like that and is it an extension of your personality?

I think it’s fun to play a lot of hands. My style isn’t really LAG. It appears to be. I just try to take my edges as they come. I think I play better with marginal hands in big pots than most, so I try to put my opponents in those spots as often as possible without giving anything up.

Where do you see poker being in five years time? Do you think the top players of tomorrow will be tougher than those of today?

I hope it will be regulated in the US. If it is, no-limit games should still be beatable. It’s hard to say. I see a natural transition to other forms of poker – PLO, razz, Omaha hi/lo. The best players will be those who are masters of all games, and I’m sure they will be way more analytical and mathematically sound than the best players playing today.

You’re known as a high-stakes no-limit hold’em cash player. Is it the most skilful and profitable form of poker, and why?

Probably. There’s a lot of money to be made in the game still. PLO could be more profitable. No-limit hold’em is being played at an extremely high level. I do know that if I try to play lots of PLO, I’ll probably be a winner right off the bat because of what I’ve learned in no-limit hold’em games.

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