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Poker Stories Podcast: Steffen Sontheimer

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Oct 23, 2019


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: 28
Hometown: Brighton, Germany
Live Tournament Earnings: $13.7 Million

Top Live Tournament Scores

Nov. 2018 Caribbean Poker Party $250k High Roller 1st $3,685,000
Sept. 2017 Poker Masters $100k High Roller 1st $1,512,000
May 2017 Aria $100k High Roller 2nd $1,223,264
Nov. 2017 WSOP Europe €111k One Drop High Roller 5th $943,907
Sept. 2017 Poker Masters $50k High Roller 1st $900,000
July 2017 Poker EM €25k High Roller 1st $507,400
May 2018 Triton Super High Roller HKD$1M 5th $493,090
April 2017 EPT Monte Carlo €100k High Roller 6th $414,792
April 2018 EPT Monte Carlo €50k High Roller 3rd $360,943
July 2017 Triton Super High Roller HKD$1M 6th $317,980

Steffen Sontheimer recorded his first cash in the summer of 2015, and it wasn’t until a year later that he started competing regularly in the high roller events. But, despite his limited time on the felt, the 28-year-old already has more than $13.7 million in live tournament earnings, which is currently good enough for no. 45 on the all-time money list.

Sontheimer’s run really started in 2017 when Fedor Holz went on Twitter and told that world that ‘Go0se’ was about to start crushing. Holz’s prediction came true, and Sontheimer began making regular final table appearances. In September, he made four final tables and won two events at the Poker Masters to earn the purple jacket as overall champion. He also final tabled the six-figure buy-in High Roller For One Drop at the WSOP Europe. He finished the year with $6.8 million in cashes, 16 final tables, three titles, and a ninth-place finish in the Player of the Year race. Just last November, he won the $250,000 buy-in super high roller at the Caribbean Poker Party for $3.685 million.

Highlights from this interview include growing up in the Black Forest, treating poker like a video game, making friends the Fedor Holz way, learning how to beat “the people,” the spots where live tells actually matter, the Foxen stare, feeling relieved rather than happy after a big win, a buddy calls his shot, the sun run at the Poker Masters, where he keeps his Purple Jacket, getting a shout out from Daniel Negreanu, a $2 million summer downswing, never meeting your backers, the ties between staking and bitcoin, how winner’s photos reveal who has the action, why the Germans are slightly overrated, cheering on the new WSOP champ, the integrity of the high roller community, betting against Jason Mercier during the wrong summer, a kindergarten connection, getting rid of baseball “matches,” and winning a $400,000 pot on the last hand of the night.

The Transcript Highlights

Fedor Holz Calls Steffen’s Shot

Julio Rodriguez: Let’s start with 2017. There’s a tweet out there from Fedor [Holz] that basically says, “Watch out for [Steffen], he’s about to crush!” And you were around. You had cashed in high rollers and made final tables, but you weren’t winning yet. It wasn’t like you were Dan Colman or Justin Bonomo at the time. [Fedor] just had a premonition, I guess. And then, obviously, it worked out when you went and got yourself a purple jacket.

Steffen Sontheimer: It’s good for storytelling, but in reality, after getting used to live tournaments, I felt like I was one of the best players out there. I don’t think I’m too biased to [say that]. I definitely wasn’t running well in 2016. I had those fourth and fifth-place finishes, but I would get it in with 80 percent and not get there. Shout out to Igor Kurganov. But I knew that I was a top-10 player, and I was close to [a break out]. Fedor knew it too.

Things changed. I started to run hot. The first real tournament I won was the Poker EM in Velden. And then I cashed in like everything I played. I went to Montenegro and made the final table there. I went to Rozvodov for a $25,000 and got third in that one. Then came the Poker Masters, where I ran everyone over. That was the sun run that I was waiting for.

JR: Let’s talk about the Poker Masters. In event no. 1, you finished fourth for $200,000. In event no. 2 you win it for $900,000. In event no. 4 you finish fifth for another $117,000 and then in event no. 5 you win again for $1.5 million and they give you a purple jacket. I always ask my guests where they keep their bracelets. Where do you keep the jacket?

SS: It’s in my parent’s place in a wardrobe somewhere.

JR: Oh really, just in a closet? You don’t have it framed or anything? I imagine it’s not part of your clothing rotation.

SS: No, it’s not. (laughs) I think about it from time to time, but I don’t have the space in my place in Vienna to put my stuff out there. If I had a place like Fedor for example… his trophy room. It would fit perfectly there, right in the back.

JR: If he had one…

SS: Right, if he had one. Better luck next time. ♠

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, Freddy Deeb, Joe Cada, 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.