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Poker Stories Podcast: Online Crusher Benjamin ‘Bencb’ Rolle

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Sep 07, 2022

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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.

To listen, visit www.cardplayer.com/poker-podcasts or download it directly to your device from any number of mobile apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify. Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Patrik Antonius, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Jason Koon, Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton, Phil Galfond, Dan Smith, Layne Flack, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho, Brad Owen, Fedor Holz, and many more.

Age: 33
From: Cottbus, Germany
Twitter: @bencb789

Benjamin Rolle, known to most of the poker world as ‘Bencb,’ is one of the greatest online tournament players in the game today. The 33-year-old German was a standout junior soccer player, but turned to online poker after college and grinded his way to the highest stakes available. He has won many millions during his career, most notably chopping the World Championship of Online Poker $100,000 Super High Roller with Fedor Holz for $1.2 million.

Originally an anonymous player, it wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that he revealed his identity. Eager to share his knowledge with others, Rolle started Raise Your Edge poker training, and also streams his play on Twitch. Then last year, he was named as an ambassador for Team PokerStars. When he’s not playing or teaching, he works with his champion Esports club Acend.

Highlights from this interview include scoring six goals in one game, injuries and ego, going broke three times early on, how a vacation in Sicily changed his game, why you don’t want a big score early, grinding up to $5,000 sit-n-go’s, showing others how to win, dealing with online cheaters and anonymity, fan culture and poker rankings, accepting the upside of stress, sucking out in a $100k tournament, German techno music, Matthew McConaughey, breathwork, and the literal coin flip for his life.

The Highlights

On The Turning Point In His Poker Career

Ben Rolle: I thought since I beat all my friends, I didn’t need any strategic advice. I was quite stubborn.

Julio Rodriguez: So what was the turning point?

BR: To be honest, it was a vacation to Sardinia in Italy. It was a [trip] with nine or ten of my best buddies. We booked a huge house, and it was an absolute banger of a vacation. Most of these guys were already poker pros, and I realized the freedom that they had.

I was just a broke student at the time. I had to look at every penny that I spent. And it’s not that they were throwing around money, but if they wanted a [nice] dinner, they [went] for it, you know? They bought the Coke for €2, and I would look for the 70-cent fake Coke because the real stuff was a little too much.

I admired [their ability to do that]. None of them were living the fancy lifestyle and arriving there in a fancy car or yacht or anything, but it was [eye opening] to see that they had no worries about what they spent on vacation. I wanted that. I realized I had to take poker more seriously.

JR: You saw it was doable. What was the first big score?

BR: I didn’t really have big scores [at the beginning]. I started with setting goals, then just played sit-n-gos. That’s the slow grind. And I was happy to do that. I would actually advise everyone getting into poker to start with cash games or sit-n-gos where you can learn slow.

Over the last 10 years I’ve had hundreds of students, and I think so far I’ve met one guy who had a big score early and is still a high-stakes pro. Everyone else, say 99 out of 100, fail when they have a big tournament score early on. It’s very bad for your mentality.

And I understand it, I don’t even blame them. It’s just so difficult to put that into perspective if you don’t have the knowledge and the understanding of variance, or the experience. It makes you think you are better than you are. Since you won in the beginning, you have this confirmation in your mind that you are good, and you stick with it way too long after you start losing.

JR: All that being said, what was the biggest pot you ever won or lost? It could be cash, or equity in a tournament.

BR: It was probably equity while at the final table of the $100,000 WCOOP Super High Roller. There were three of us left, already in the money, but I sucked with A-Q against A-K. It was almost a cooler, you could say, but it was of course worth several hundred thousand dollars. I went on to chop with Fedor [Holz for $1.2 million.] ♠

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Patrik Antonius, Justin Bonomo, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Galfond, Nick Schulman, Fedor Holz, Barry Greenstein, Dan Smith, Scotty Nguyen, Mike Sexton, Maria Ho, Brad Owen, and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.

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