Interview with Top Manitoba Poker Player Zennawi “zenni11” Petros



Zenni Petros

We’ve seen the name Zennawi, or Zenni Petros, at the top of some pretty hefty poker tournament result lists on more than a few occasions now, as well as finding it popping on chip counts and reports from around the globe; Petros has played EPT Monte Carlo, Tallinn, Berlin and Dortmund, along with official cashes at both the PCA and LAPC’s.

All told, in just the past few years, Zenni has racked up nearly $200,000 live “major tournament cashes” to his name that include: winning the 2010 Canadian Poker Championships $2,000 Main Event, taking first in a $340 Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza event for more than $53,000 and most recently also shipping the 2011 Manitoba Poker Classic $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship.

Playing online as “zenni11”, he has also won about $360,000 in multi-table tournaments online; ranked 3rd overall by for both the areas of Manitoba and Winnipeg as well as being very close to cracking the top 100 list of online players in Canada. Some pretty impressive results considering he is bit as good and mainly a cash game player; we’ve also seen a few who a few of the guys in Zenni’s poker crew are and can tell you with no uncertainty that they are amongst Canada’s best online and live players. Though we did a short video interview with Zenni back in 2010, with this latest five figure score, we figured it was time to catch up again and ask a few more questions…

CP: “You have a very impressive past year and it looks like poker has treated you pretty well so far. How did it all start for you, and what where you planning on doing before getting into the game?”

Zenni Petros: “Before I got seriously into poker I was really into sports, mostly basketball. I stopped growing around grade 9 or 10 and got stuck around 5 foot 4 inches, so that ship kinda sailed. After graduating high school, my plan was to go University of Manitoba and do the Asper School of Business; to graduate with a degree in Marketing. I applied and got accepted on my first try to Asper, then completed a semester of the program. At this time, I was playing online poker almost every night and running pretty good. My online success started to hurt my studies, as I would sit in the back of class and play guys heads up $5/$10 PLO on my laptop, while the teacher was doing a lecture. This led to me taking a break from University, while I try to take poker full on. I’m still planning on graduating, just not sure on the timeline at the moment.”

CP: “Manitoba only recently stepped into hosting major tournaments, so it’s probably safe to say you didn’t nail down your medium limit skills at the Winnipeg casinos?”

Zenni Petros: “Ya, not so much, I was playing a large amount of poker online, mostly cash, but along with a decent amount of tournaments…not to mention that I was also traveling to most of Canada’s poker tourney spots across the country.”

CP: “Where did you develop your game? Are there any other locals who have helped you on your way to these impressive results?”

Zenni Petros: “The live poker scene in Winnipeg can only take your game so far, so that led me to mostly playing online poker, where so many other players develop their game as well. However, I still try to play live poker as much as I can. I think it’s important to balance live and online to strengthen your poker game overall. In Winnipeg, I have a group of friends who play poker seriously online and live, and I’m so fortunate to discuss poker situations with these talented players; they’ve been a deadly group of successful card players for many years. As my tourney skills, I gotta give props for to my good buddy Michael “pipedream17” Dietrich for helping my game…guy is a beast!?

CP: “It looks like you have competed in EPT Events in Estonia, London, Germany and Monte Carlo along with the PCA in the Bahamas; did you qualify for all that world traveling through online satellites?”

Zenni Petros: “My good buddy Clayton “slammedfire” Mozdzen got me into playing online satellites, probably mostly because he wanted somebody to go and gamble with on the plane rides (Laughs). So ya, the big buy in live events I have played, I qualified through online poker, which I recommend as the easiest and cheaper way of getting into the larger buy in poker tourneys…if you’re not ballin to put up the money.”

CP: “Which country that you have visited to play was your favorite?”

Zenni Petros: “Hmmmmm…so many to choose from, but for playing poker I’d have to go with the Commerce Casino in downtown LA, in the States. The Commerce is easily the best poker casino, tons of poker tables, the staff takes care of the poker players very well and the games are great! For location I would have to choose Monte Carlo, Monaco. There’s nothing like seeing beautiful weather, woman, and some of the most expensive cars on the planet everywhere you go. Phantoms and Lamborghini are as common to see in Monte Carlo as mini-vans in Canada …..Ballin!”

CP: “Would you say competing in the EPT fields have helped you have your impressive recent results here on Canadian felts?”

Zenni Petros: “The EPTs have definitely helped me with gaining live big buy-in tourney experience. The long days in the events are filled with world class poker players…with a large amount of recreational, beginner poker players. Even though I haven’t had any success on the European Poker Tour, I feel most of their tourney spots are the best value for tournament poker at this time, as a large amount of the tourney stops are filled with amateurs/newer poker players who are just getting into the game.”

CP: “It looks like you have also played quite a bit in both Vegas and Las Angeles, will you play the LAPC?s again this year?”

Zenni Petros: “Winning a bracelet would definitely be pretty cool, so that brings me to Vegas each summer to play a decent amount of the No Limit bracelet events at the Rio and I love the poker room at the Commerce. The LAPC is also has such a great turnout for all levels of buy in events; both high stakes and lower stakes tourney players have a shot. Last time I was there, a group of buddies rented a condo in Long Beach; we rented a car and drove back and forth from the Commerce to the condo for an awesome 4 weeks of poker, drinking and laughs. I’d love to do that again, but regardless, I’ll be down for the tourneys and cash games. “

CP: “What about the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure? Should we watch for you name to be crushing results in the Bahamas for 2012?”

Zenni Petros: “I’m not sure about PCA just yet, if I go I’m going to want to play the main and I haven’t won a package for it yet and 10k is allot to put up in a tourney filled with good young aggressive poker players. There’s a good chance that I’ll go anyways and just room with my buddy who already won his trip; I’ll just play some of the smaller buy in events, if I don’t win my own package in time.”

CP: “We met you after winning the 2010 Canadian Open Poker Championships $2000 Main Event and most recently you took down a sizable score at McPhillips Station Casino. It must have been cool in its own way to ship something big at home?”

Zenni Petros: “Ya, it’s always nice to win a tourney on your home soil, in front of all your friends. It was pretty fun, cause at the end a couple of my buddies made the final table too. When we got down to heads up it was me and my good buddy Joe Williams; He is a long time poker professional with great success in both poker tournaments and cash games. I have a ton of respect for his game, so when we got heads up, there was so much more added incentive for me to win the tournament. It’s been a back and forth heads up match, but it sure feels good beating the best player in the city!”

CP: “Winnipeg is really stepping up to the plate in terms of what they are offering players; there aims to be a ton of play in the events, a nice trophy and winner’s watch for those that ship, etc. Do you think that this will become one of Canada’s more popular tournament stops?”

Zenni Petros: “The tournament series is getting bigger and bigger, and the buy ins accommodate the recreational players as well…I think it will just keep growing and getting better every year. To compete with other Canadian spots like Vancouver’s River Rock series and Calgary, it might take some time to match as many Canadians and Americans that attend each year.”

CP: “Winning a Venation Deep Stacks Event is another title that many players are after. Despite the smaller buy-in, this was a pretty decent score. Of your 3 titles, which do you think you were most pleased with winning? What do you most want win next and what will Canadian events will you focus on in 2012?”

Zenni Petros: “Ya, the Venetian win was pretty sweet, especially as I wasn’t planning on playing it. Then I seen how many runners turned out and had to jump in. The final table was cool too, because all my poker buddies from Winnipeg were there for the series (WSOP), so they all came to the Venetian to sweat my final table. Needless to say, when I won we all had a good time and celebrated. What’s better than celebrating in Vegas !!!”

“Out of my three live wins the one I was most pleased with is the COPC 2k main event. I came 5th in chips to the final table and quickly became chip leader after a few rotations, I ran good when I needed to and got some good situations and over all happy with my play. That win was my also my biggest live cash to date.”

CP: “What do you most want win next and what will Canadian events will you focus on in 2012?”

Zenni Petros: “I would most like to win a WSOP bracelet event or European Poker Tour stop, because they usually have a 7 figure pay day for 1st to go along with the prestige for the title.”

“I don’t have too many Canadian events planned for 2012 just yet, other than the Fallsview Poker Classic in Niagara Falls…I attended last year and enjoyed both the tournaments and good cash game action.”


We have a pretty good feeling that Zenni is due to bump his pay scale up a bit, so keep an eye out for him in the poker news. Huge Congratulations to him on winning the Manitoba Poker Classic Championship and big thanks for taking the time to answers our questions.

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Jon Harnish
35 year old recreational player, husband and father of three from Calgary, Alberta. Enjoy lower stakes cash games including PLO and limit Omaha 8. Any of the micro-stakes HORSE games will play online MTTS and SNGs. Live, Tournaments and Satellites up to $550. I love the game but am far to social to take it seriously and sometimes give up a little to much information at the table because I enjoy discussing the game, so decided it was safest for my bankroll to take up writing about the game. That way I still get to meet the cool people and opinions on the game, but with a little less risk. Writing wise, currently a regular contributor to Poker Pro Canada, like to write profiles, previews and recaps the most. formally wrote for Canadian Poker Player Canada. My Poker Blogs have been featured on CardPlayer Social and SpadeClub as "Recommended" or in newsletters on several occasions and Pokerweblogs as "Blog of the Month". Past projects included organizing and promoting major events with the Canadian Poker Tour, introducing Big Slick Poker Tour to Southern Alberta and directing events and finals.


  1. I have been playing poker both live cash and online, little bit of live tourneys and lots of online sit no goes and cash. Mostly NL with a bit of OHL nl online. I played in the tourney with Zenni and made it to 15th. I will say I also played most of the tourney on the left of Joe Williams and he is an awesome nice guy who gave me lots of tips. This was my 1st bigger buy in and it was an amazing experience. Zenni is wicked player but also a nice Canadian boy too. How do I get into this Winnipeg Swaggerville? I was the pharmacist with the Vancouver joursey on the tourney. I would love to get some more tips from these guys because they are damn good. Phan18 on Stars. The crazy pharmacist live.. Cheers.


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