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Poker Stories Podcast: Dominik Nitsche

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Nov 21, 2018

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Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 27
Hometown: Minden, Germany
Live Tournament Earnings: $15.3 Million

Dominik Nitsche is only 27 years old, but he is already considered a veteran in the poker world after traveling the tournament circuit for the last 10 years. The Minden, Germany-native picked up the game early, and had a six-figure bankroll while still in high school. When he was 18, he won a Latin American Poker Tour event for $381,000 to kick start his career. Nitsche wandered all over the world, cashing in nearly every country with a major tournament series, and along the way he picked up three World Series of Poker bracelets, and a World Poker Tour title.

But the 888Poker Ambassador wanted more, especially from the high roller scene that fellow countrymen such as Fedor Holz, Christoph Vogelsang, Rainer Kempe, Ole Schemion and others had dominated over the last few years. The last 12 months have seen Nitsche get his turn in the spotlight, with more than $8 million in cashes. After finishing third at the Asia Championship of Poker in Macau, Nitsche won the $111,111 buy-in, High Roller For One Drop at the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov. Not only did he pick up his fourth bracelet, but also a top prize of almost $4.1 million. He’s since made ten high roller final tables, and scored three more wins. As of right now, he has $15.4 million in live tournament cashes, along with another $5 million online.

Highlights from this interview include the evolution of poker strategy, Harrington on Hold’em’s relevance today, trying to be more GTO than the other guy, holding a half-million dollar bankroll in high school, why solvers can help even low-stakes players, an $8 million year, the relief of a big score, why he can’t go broke, a growing concern in high roller tournaments, a love for Beirut poker, watching The Simpsons, and quickly reloading after losing a $2.3 million pot.

The Highlights

On how he felt after winning the One Drop High Roller at the 2017 WSOP Europe…

“It’s just variance. You try to play well. If you play well, you win eventually. And if you don’t play well, you might also win. All things considered, I’ve run super hot. I’ve obviously run super hot in low buy-in events. Hey, I’ve won two bracelets in $1k [tournaments], so that must mean I’ve run super hot. But just talking about the high rollers… It kind of started with One Drop and the run since has been extremely good. But I can honestly say that I’m not doing anything different than I was before. I was more relieved than anything. It was like, ‘See guys? I can actually win one of these things.’ The moment I won, Rainer [Kempe] walked up to me and said, ‘It’s about time you win something.’ The variance in tournaments is insane. Even if you look at something like 200 tournaments, two equal players could have vastly different results. If you think about what 200 tournaments looks like to a live player, that’s at least a couple years. With that in mind, the results shouldn’t affect you, and that’s why I’ll honestly say that the only thing I felt after I won was relief.”

On why he prefers the high roller tournaments to big cash games…

“It goes back to the competition aspect of it. I don’t really play in the live [cash] games, and I don’t really aim to. I just enjoy the high roller tournaments. That’s what I’m good at, and that’s what’s the most fun to me. I’d probably do alright in the cash games… but I don’t want to act fake in front of a camera just to get into a game. That’s just not me. That would look extremely silly. I don’t think I could pull it off. I’m an honest person. I can be funny, I can talk to people, but I don’t want to be fake. I don’t want to be, because I don’t have to be. I don’t like the salesman part of the game. I make enough money as [it is], I’m not a terrible poker player who needs to get into [certain] games just to make a living. I can make a living playing in the hardest games in the world.”

On a growing concern in the high roller tournament world…

“People do play robot poker. You walk around the high roller fields, and if you just sneakily look at people’s phones, you will see they all have [solver apps]. Everyone has it… it’s ridiculous. I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know if I should be saying this, but you walk around the room, and everyone is one their phone going, ‘Hmm…what does this say I should do?’ Maybe I started this nonsense… but you look and this regular is sitting there with the newest solver app, and he’s just looking stuff up. I don’t know what we are going to do about this. You look at the guy, and he has 20 bbs, and he has perfect re-shoving ranges up. Are you kidding me? The guy sits on your left, and you look up and see he has the solver app up. Well fuck, how am I going to win now? I don’t know what the solution to this is. I fully admit that this is something that is very easy to use, and I’ll admit I’ve done similar things before. But maybe we have to be stricter about this. Once we get to the point where people use their phones to look up the perfect GTO solution for what to re-shove… I don’t know. Yes, technically you’re not on your phone during the hand, but you’re on your phone, looking up the solution 20 seconds before it’s your turn.”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to your device to play on the go from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Freddy Deeb, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.