Joonas Karhu: From Poker Player to CEO

October 18, 2023
Josh Jones

HighStakesDB: Could you tell us about your journey from poker player to CEO of Bojoko?

Joonas Karhu: Certainly. I began my poker journey in 2005, played for about five years at an amateur level, and then transitioned into a role as a croupier for the Finnish monopoly Veikkaus (then RAY). After completing my studies at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences and obtaining a Bachelor of Business degree, I embarked on a project management role at one gambling operator. This marked the beginning of my career in the industry, eventually leading me to Malta. Over the years, I held various senior management positions at different operators before joining Bojoko in 2017.

HighStakesDB: Can you share more about the poker format you played and your favorite games during that period?

Joonas Karhu: I used to play 9-person table tournaments, with a particular preference for slow, deep-stack major tournaments. I played some small cash games, too. While I am not exceptionally skilled at poker, the experience taught me invaluable lessons.

HighStakesDB: What would you say was the most important lesson you learned from your poker playing days?

Joonas Karhu: One of the most significant takeaways from my poker experience was learning to manage pressure and navigate the volatile swings in business economics. Transitioning to the operator side, I realized that just like in poker, there were periods when the company faced substantial losses, particularly during those one to two months when players could win substantial amounts. My poker background prepared me to handle these ups and downs. It taught me the art of calculated risk-taking, and the ability to analyze situations, and adapt strategies – skills essential in both poker and business.

HighStakesDB: Can you provide more insights into your role in Bojoko?

Joonas Karhu: My role involved educating partners and industry stakeholders about our offerings. I also devised and executed advertising and marketing strategies to establish Bojoko as a recognizable brand among casino players in the UK and beyond. Responsible gambling and player protection have been our priorities. I worked closely with gambling law specialists to ensure our platform meets the highest compliance and safety standards.

HighStakesDB: What distinguishes Bojoko from other casino comparison sites?

Joonas Karhu: What sets Bojoko apart from other casino comparison sites is the information and extensive selection of expert reviews we offer. On Bojoko, players can access a wealth of information about gambling and a wide range of casinos. We empower them to make informed choices by providing comprehensive, unbiased reviews. This allows players to compare and find the perfect casino that aligns with their preferences and needs, making Bojoko a go-to destination for a rich variety of casino reviews.

HighStakesDB: How has your understanding of the gambling world from your poker days shaped Bojoko's approach?

Joonas Karhu: My extensive industry experience has allowed me to set high standards for player experience and frictionless gambling. I’ve seen so many horrible UXs over the years that I've worked diligently to ensure that Bojoko as a platform works smoothly, as well as those we promote.

HighStakesDB: Could you offer any advice or insights for aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals looking to make a similar transition?

Joonas Karhu: I advise always remaining open to learning and adapting. The skills and mindset I developed as a poker player have been invaluable in my journey. Stay level-headed, remain adaptable, and never be afraid to take calculated risks. It's crucial to keep evolving and embrace the changes that come your way. And try to connect the dots of past experiences to current tasks.

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