• »
  • News
  • »
  • Marcus Skinnar – Master Negotiator – Will he succeed in poker?

Marcus Skinnar – Master Negotiator – Will he succeed in poker?

Marcus Skinnar – Master Negotiator – Will he succeed in poker?

During all our previous events, and beyond, we have met so many different personalities, which makes it extremely attractive for us content writers to make articles about. This time we had the honor to speak to a very interesting person who, through his professional career as a negotiator, is going to try his luck in the world of poker. With his years of business experience and friendship with the founder of The Festival Series Martin 'Franke' von Zweigbergk, Marcus Skinnar will be present during our upcoming stop in Malta at the lovely Portomaso Casino to see if his professional career can be from influence to succeed at the poker tables.

Martin 'Franke' von Zweigbergk & Marcus Skinnar

Melvin TF: Hi Marcus. It’s a pleasure meeting you. As a result of a long friendship with Martin ‘Franke’ von Zweigbergk, you are invited to come to play some poker during our next event in Malta, where you will be playing the Main Event and a couple of other Hold’em events. When did you first come in touch with poker?

  • Marcus: ''Hi Melvin. The pleasure is likewise. When I was a kid, I played some poker here and there. Sadist poker it was called. If you lost a game, you had to receive a knock on the knuckles of the other player a couple of times. But if you’d ask me if I played ever for money? Perhaps two times in my life, with friends. Just a friendly home game with a little bit on stake and some drinks, to keep it entertaining. I hardly know anything about poker in general, so let’s put it to the test!''

Melvin TF: As we spoke a little before, you mentioned already that you hardly know anything about poker. What are your expectations of The Festival Series in Malta in terms of poker?

  • Marcus: ''The rules of poker in general are unknown to me. Some terms in poker I do know, as a dealer for example which gives out the cards, check/call/raise, bluff. Franke told me not to prepare myself too much for Malta and just let it happen. However, there is money at stake when I will be playing. So I will have to study beforehand at least as I consider myself an absolute beginner at this point. I wish to at least know the basic strategies of the game before I am heading over there.
  • The calculations of the game are really interesting. For example, when everybody is getting two cards, the odds define the strength of your hand. How will people play hands which are similar? How will an absolute beginner, but a professional in business negotiations stand their ground against people often playing this game? Despite that odds are an important factor in the game, how much will body language give away?
  • I have heard many great stories about The Festival Series and I am looking forward to meeting a lot of interesting people and especially fun people. It is the main subject for me, to socialize with people.''

Melvin TF: You are a professional negotiator. Where bluffing and taking risks is not different as in poker. What similarities do you think it has with a game like poker?

  • Marcus: ''I do think that both things are very similar to each other. They have made a card game out of negotiations and bluffing. With many years of experience in business negotiations, I am trained to always read people, and see patterns that others don’t (it’s never easy 😊). On the other side, I do think that others can hardly read me, but who knows?
  • With the experience I have gained in negotiations throughout the years, it would be very interesting for me to see if I am terrible at it or not. I have been negotiating with people professionally for decades and I am getting pretty good at it. To see if I can turn this to use in poker is something we are going to see in Malta. It will be interesting to see if poker Is valuable for me or not, with for example the knowledge of how people react. To determine if someone is bluffing by the looks, to get to know why and how.
  • All my life I have been diving into books about body language, interrogation techniques, all of it. It will be fascinating to see if it’s useful. Instinct is very important and something which is really well developed for me. Some micro signals, for example, can’t be missed. You can’t hide them. You cannot care about it, that’s for sure. But if you do care, it’s very hard. I would say it’s impossible to hide something, so you need to try to convince the brain that they don’t care.
  • When you really want something, you need to pretend that you don’t, during negotiations. You need to risk losing or winning. Do you really want this deal, then you need to push it through. You have to convince yourself that you can leave this deal as it is. That’s what would make you a good negotiator, if you can just leave the table, taking the risk the deal can collapse. For poker that counts the same- Do you want to put it all on the line?''
Marcus Skinnar

Melvin TF: You have set up dozens of companies. Some very interesting ones. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

  • Marcus: ''I started off doing purchases for IKEA in North China. Was doing three negotiations a day for a while for them, which then evolved into my own company. Did that for around ten years, with over a thousand of business negotiations. I still have a company in China nowadays where I was traveling to on a regular base, but because of Covid-19, that got turned into online meetings.
  • Currently, I have also a tombstone company and am the biggest one in Sweden. I have a gallery and hunting shop. Which makes you ask why. But if you consider that if we were thinking it was going to become a big war suddenly, this is what you need to have. When electricity will go away, then all current currencies will become useless. Then ammunition and tobacco will become the new payment methods, in my belief. The richest guys are the ones who control fishing gear, for example, this kind of thing. Prepare yourself for the worst, for isolation. If the border closes, no goods are coming in, which almost happened already after the COVID-19 era. Maybe there will be a war which stop all goods and containers from coming in.''

Marcus Skinnar:

  • Founder & CEO at Skinnar Advisory AB. Cross border broker and transactions.
  • Founder & CEO of Edurus, an industry leader in stone manufacturing with factories in China and Estonia.
  • Founder & CEO at Skinnar Fenix Healthcare. Successfully provided millions of medical -products to the Swiss Army during the corona supply shortage.
  • Founder & CEO at Stonesupply AB, Stone quarrying and mining licensing in East Africa.
  • Former Chairman of the board, Bonzun a virtual midwife (with pregnancy apps translated into English, Swedish, and Chinese).
  • Founder of the Marine National Park in Somaliland; a philanthropic initiative with an aim to preserve and save the ocean.

Melvin TF: You know Franke quite well as I understood. How did you meet each other anyhow?

  • Marcus: ''We studied together back in 1997 at Visby University, a nice place in Sweden which is known as a summer location. We had a summer course together over there. Afterward, we weren’t in touch, at least not within the first ten years after that. Until we met in Estonia, and since then we kept in good contact. We travelled together quite a bit now. One of them was for archaeological research together with Stockholm University in North Somalia. Franke had smuggled himself in as a personal photographer. We went on the hunt for graves and rock paintings, while there was a war throughout the whole period in that area. There was also a Swedish TV crew present, but sadly due to Corona it eventually became a smaller topic on TV as was planned beforehand, but still made it to news channels.''
Marcus Skinnar

The Festivals Series, and especially me, will be following Marcus Skinnar closely on his adventure in Malta. Not only he is curious about what the outcome will be to put a non-poker person with incredible negotiation skills developed by his professional career, at the poker table. Will he succeed to sail along in the minefield of a grand Main Event, purely based on his intuition and experience outside the poker fields? We will for sure keep you posted about the adventures and if you see him walking around, do not hesitate to start a conversation with him. Because one thing is for certain, he is truly one of a kind!

As Marcus mentioned, he will also try to practice a bit at the online poker tables, you might see him wandering around at one of the many online qualifiers for our next stop in Malta, May 15-21. Make sure to check out our qualification schedule!