Getting To Know You: Nick "nickkaka" Kakalis

Posted at 14:41 2009-04-27
My mum has been telling me to talk to a financial adviser for the last 10 years fearing that I’ll end up broke and living on the streets begging for change (which, let’s face it is pretty darn likely) – but somehow I doubt this is what she had in mind.
Nick Kakalis a.k.a. “nickkaka” is a 30 year old financial planner from Melbourne, who is often found floating around Crown Casino during the big tournament series. Preferring the exciting world of online MTTs, Nick recently placed 2nd in the PokerStars daily $109 $50k guaranteed for over $8,000.
Nick lists his favourite PNW posters as AceHighWine, Duff85, SharkBoy and StrongPlay.
So Nick, lets start off with the basics – How did you get started with poker?
As a kid every family function involved the men sitting around playing 2 Card Manila. As I got older I was allowed to sit in for some of the guys for a few hands at a time. Then one day my dad interrupted our game of Monopoly and used the Monopoly money to teach us how to play Manila.
I played all through school and uni, and the first time I ventured down to the Vegas Room at Crown we thought we were world class players. Mind you, the Vegas Room at this stage had three tables. Needless to say we left with empty wallets. After Moneymaker, I started playing NLHE which my mates told me would never last. Then after Joe’s win all of our home games changed to NLHE.
Monopoly huh … last I heard Jonny Vincent was looking to establish himself as the world’s premier online Monopoly player. Maybe you two could get a game going. Anyways, what upcoming live events are we likely to see you playing in?
I’ll definitely be playing all the ones in Melbourne – ANZPT Melbourne, Melbourne and Vic Champs and PokerNews Cup. Work commitments means I will miss ANZPT Sydney but hopefully I can get to Queenstown, and I’ll definitely be at the APPT Grand Final this year.
You work in the financial field – are you a math based guy at the poker table, and does your job and your area of study help in this regard?
As you get more experienced the math parts of the game become easier. I think a good poker player must have a solid understanding of the probabilities of one hand beating another in the long run. At the same time, I think reads/perceptions of your opponents as well as establishing a range and the stage of the tournament should also come into consideration rather than purely maths.
The other advantage is that as I am heavily involved in budgeting for many of our clients, I like to think that my bankroll management policies are sound, which is one of the most important factors in poker.
Budgeting?  What’s that? …Nevermind, let’s move on. What advice do you have for new players?
Bankroll management!  Don’t be in a hurry to play the big games – poker will be around forever. Take your time and learn the game before moving up in levels.
I’d also recommend training sites, or even getting a coach (I’m currently looking for a coach if anyone is interested or has any advice).
Finally, if you can’t take your A-game to the table on any given day you probably shouldn’t be playing that day.
Well, I know you financial types generally charge by the hour, and quite frankly my PNW salary isn’t going to cover much, so I’ll finish up by asking if you had to spend 12 months in jail, which Aussie player would you LEAST like to have as your cellmate.
Whilst David Saab would tilt the absolute hell out of anybody, I would have to say Grant Levy, the guy just doesn’t lose – and I’d be the poorest person in the prison!


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Nick 'nickkaka' Kakalis Nick 'nickkaka' Kakalis

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