EPT12 Barcelona: Dominik Nitsche, the poker nomad who's right at home in Super High Rollers
Yesterday we wrote a piece in which we highlighted a number of players who were playing their first Super High Roller. Many of those on the list had won their way in through a €5,000 satellite that was held on Friday night. Amongst them was Dominik Nitsche, he's played EPT high rollers before - he finished 10th at in the $25,000 event at the most recent PCA - but this is the first time he's played an event of this level on the EPT. "It is my first Super High Roller, I got in through a satellite but I was going to play it anyway as I'd sold action to my friends," he told the PokerStars Blog just before play started on Day 2.
Despite the start of play being just minutes away the affable German, who lives in Edinburgh, was happy to chat and wasn't in the least bit fazed by the size of the buy-in. "It's the same, it's all the people I play with in the 10k's anyway. The satellite (which cost €5,000) was quite strange there were quite a few people I'd never seen before. It's odd to see strangers playing a satellite to a €50,000 tournament. You'd think the players would be more experienced, but some of these guys just came into play one and it was interesting!"
A poker nomad, aged just 24 he's second on the all-time 'cashed in different countries' rankings with 'flags' from 24 different countries. The Isle of Man was his latest addition back in October 2013, but he has no plans to add to that list any time soon. "I'm not even sure if there's anything on the schedule," he told us. "I'm taking it easy this year, playing all the EPTs and the the WSOP-E in Berlin. So no new flags but hopefully a lot of old flags."
He's one of seven Germans who entered this tournament - eight if you count Igor Kurganov - and he once said in jest that had he been born in any other European country he'd be competing for their Player of the Year award but because he's German he never gets a look in. It was very much a throwaway comment made firmly with tongue in cheek, but like most comments of that nature it's rooted in at least some fact.
Perhaps taking it easy is code for crushing as the young German is having a fantastic 2015. The $1,176,957 in live earnings that he's currently racked up is his best ever yearly total and there's still a third of the year to go. A $220,000 cash in a WSOP event at the beginning of June and a near $480,000 cash in a $10,000 event at The Bellagio in July bookended his summer in Las Vegas and significantly boosted his numbers for 2015, but Nitsche doesn't agree that higher numbers mean this is his best year to date. "I would say no actually, every time I get a lot of GPI points it means I've come tenth in a High Roller then I come tenth in another High Roller. I remember last year I used to win stuff!"
In 2014 Nitsche claimed two outright victories, winning the WSOP National Championship and claiming his second WSOP bracelet in a $1,000 no-limit Hold'em event. Nitsche's continued success this year, and over a rolling three-year period, means that he's currently the top ranked player from Germany in both the GPI 300 and the GPI Player of the Year rankings, sitting eighth and seventh respectively. His live earnings now total nearly $5,000,000 (he has online earnings of $3,300,000 too) yet despite that vast sum he's ranked just eighth in the all-time German money list. In reality that's actually tenth as Igor Kurgnaov and Max Altergott are both listed as Russian in those rankings. "I'm number eight I think that's pretty good!" said Nitsche with a smile. "I'd like to think I'm pretty good but at the top we're all equal and it basically comes down to who's getting the luckiest and this year it seems to be me in the high buy-ins if you count tenth place as being lucky, which I really don't."
So all this got us to thinking, where would Nitsche be in the all-time money rankings of other major European countries had he been born somewhere other than Germany? Using the GPI's numbers, this is how he'd fare:
Holland, Ireland, Italy, Poland: 1st
Norway, Czech Republic, Belgium and Spain: 2nd
Finland, Ukraine, Russia, Denmark and Sweden: 3rd
France and UK: 4th
With the exception of Russia, it should be noted that Germany has a higher population than all of the other countries in that list but still it's a remarkable snap shot of the sheer volume of high stakes players that Germany has produced over the past few years. Whilst Nitsche might not claim there's not a lot to split them at the top it's hard to argue with the notion that he's the most versatile of the bunch. He has victories in events ranging from $400 to $10,000 and he'll be looking for the biggest win of his career this week in Barcelona.
Edit: It's been a good start to Day 2 for Nitsche who has doubled his stack to around 290,000 during the opening two levels of play.
Start your journey to EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS. All the EPT Barcelona bumf is on the main EPT Barcelona page, while blow-by-blow Super High Roller coverage is on the Super High Roller page.