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Meet The Festival Series Crew – Melvin Schroën

Meet The Festival Series Crew – Melvin Schroën

Since its inception in 2021, The Festival Series has been a dream come true for Martin ‘Franke’ von Zweigbergk. He not only wanted to organize a poker tournament but also to create a certain ambience that reflected what made him and many others happy, namely, the company of friends. Franke's team, casino staff, players, and even visitors who come with their partners or friends, all know who Franke is. And if someone doesn't know him yet, by the end of the week, they surely will. One of Franke's crew members is Melvin Schroen, hailing from The Netherlands. In this interview, we will introduce him to you.

In this interview, we have the pleasure of introducing Melvin Schroen, a 34-year-old poker enthusiast from the Netherlands. Melvin has a longstanding connection with the founder of The Festival, as he has been travelling to various poker events around Europe for quite some time. He also has been working in the poker industry for a while now.

Melvin first met Franke in 2016, during the Cash Game Festival that was held in Malta. It was a fortuitous meeting that would lead to a great working relationship. Now, with the upcoming event of The Festival Series taking place from May 15-21, Melvin is excited for a true reunion with the crew, and also the island itself!

The Festival Team: Hi Melvin. Usually you are the one who is writing such interviews. But now it’s your turn to be the star of the show. Tell us, how did you even end up playing poker in the first place?

Melvin: ‘’Well hello! Thanks for having me finally on the other side of the table. Poker came into my life already fairly young, when the rules of showing a true sport on television was not as complicated as it is nowadays. I got hooked with the game by its atmosphere, the sensation, the thrill. When seeing players such as Marcel ‘The Flying Dutchman’ Luske, Noak ‘Exclusive’ Boeken, Phil Ivey, Chris Moneymaker, it made me get hooked with the game instantly. I always had a passion for competitive games from a very young age, together with my sports background of playing tennis and football for example, it was a match made in heaven, Competitiveness mixed with passion and skill. When I won my first ever tournament online in the likes of a $22 buy-in sit ‘n go with 180 players on PokerStars,  it was out of this world. I made $1080 with that and will never forget the joy of that moment.’’

The Festival Team: You told us you were going way back with Franke. Where you have met this crazy Swede?

Melvin:’I left The Netherlands already quite early. At the age of 19, I was tired of the ‘village life’, I wanted to explore and put myself to the test. After having lived abroad ever since 2015 I ended up moving to Malta to start my career in I-Gaming. I did also play online a lot, perhaps professionally even, but I never considered it like that. Once I was living in Malta I often played in Portomaso Casino and so on, and once I met this crazy Swedish guy, introduced to me by a colleague. His name was Franke, and he was the organizer of the Cash Game Festival. I originally went there as a player but ended up finding myself in the commentary booth alongside my colleague Peteri Vanhapelto. It was a one-time gig, but an awesome experience and from there onwards we always kept in touch.‘’

The Festival Team: Now you are living in Poland, and working for us next to your full-time job as an IT consultant. What makes you work for The Festival Series?

Melvin: ‘’About two years ago, I had one of these random conversations with Franke about some ideas I came up with. He then mentioned to me that PokerListings, was looking for a content writer for the Dutch market, as well as that he wanted me to come work for The Festival Series, which just had its first stop in Bratislava a month prior. From there onwards I never looked back.

Currently, I am writing articles for PokerListings, but also for The Festival Series. Besides the writing, I also am taking care of the social media aspect of it all. To have several stops from a live festival a couple of times per year is for me a dream coming true. To be part of the poker community which I adore so much, and to be able to travel across Europe, it makes my little heart stumble. Since Tallinn, I haven’t missed an event, and I will continue to do so as I will be in Malta as well!

In Tallinn I was working as a host, and was taking care of the Flip ‘n Go games, In Bratislava I was doing the same thing but it got a bit more expanded with the Cash Game Challenge. When we were in Nottingham, I took care of the live reporting part for PokerListings. I like to do as much as different things as possible, so I can be an ideal all-around crew member.’’

The Festival Team: With all the content you have written, and the interviews you have given, with the past your past in poker, you must have some crazy stories to tell. Mind sharing your experiences?

Melvin: ''In my poker career, if you can call it that, I have seen many cool things. But above all, met very nice people everywhere I went. One thing which I always will remember is that I played in the same tournament as The Backstreet Boys, they had a concert in Brussels and joined the tables one day after that. Pretty cool to be playing poker with A.J. and Nick, not that I like their music that much haha, but still. That’s what poker does, that you are able to play cards with people like that, who during the tournament will become the same as any other player in the field, doesn’t matter their background or status.

With interviews, I had many good conversations, all of them unique on their own. The privilege of doing this gives me the opportunity to be able to talk to the world’s superstars in poker. Absolutely love every bit of it. Content writing is a challenge, but the creative side of it attracts me a lot.

In online poker, I have had some crazy situations. But if I need to take out one thing, is perhaps the $22 dollar Spin ‘n Go which Iwon a ticket for the SCOOP Main Event, worth $10,300. An incredible experience, which I basically shared with half of The Netherlands, as I sold quite some action of it. Everyone was sweating the tournament with me, surprisingly I managed even to reach the money, but sadly it was just a bit better as a min-cash.''

The Festival: You have been living in Malta for a while before, do you have any important information for the players who will visit our event at the Portomaso Casino in St. Julians?

Melvin: ‘’First of all, I would like to mention that there are dozens of qualifiers at various poker sites. There is a lot of value to take, as some tournaments have a bit of overlay. How nice it will be if you just need to book your flights only and everything else is taken care of?

Malta is a very beautiful island, with many things to do for any kind of tourist. I would definitely recommend visiting the usual hot spots such as Gozo, Blue Lagoon, and Popeye Village. On top of that, I would recommend trying all restaurants around Spinola Bay. If you are with friends or meet up with other players at the event, make sure you visit bars such as Al Fresco’s and The Compass Lounge and for sure go to Valetta to some bars with nice views.

Rooftop swimming pools at various hotels, Swimming pools in Sliema area, Golden Bay, Gozo, are places you must have visited before going home if you like swimming.Of course, it’s only one week, and the main thing you want to do as a player is to play many of the tournaments all throughout, but don’t forget to have some fun around it as well, see it as a mini-holiday and meet up with fellow poker players from other countries. It’s really amazing’’