Two German players have already won Platinum Passes to the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC) via the Mega Path Promotion: Simon Gilles from Hennef and Gideon Dietrich from Meerbusch. They will be heading to Barcelona in August after booking their seats at the end of last year.
In the first week of 2020, another German speaker confirmed that he will be joining them, and by the same qualification method too, although this man is from Switzerland. But whereas Gilles and Dietrich are just starting out on their poker careers, the new qualifier is one of the best-known players in the country.
He is Dinesh Alt, also known as “NastyMinder”.Alt is now 28 but made his first splash on the live tournament scene in March 2013 while playing his first major live tournament. He qualified online for the AUD$2,200 ANZPT Sydney Main Event at PokerStars and went on to win the title and a $231,548 reward.
By that point, his “NastyMinder” alias was already much feared on PokerStars and he added a scored of more than $160K almost exactly one year later when he took the biggest share of a six-way chop to end the Sunday Million. (Alt officially took fourth, but was chip leader and took the biggest prize.)
The list of successes has grown significantly since then. Highlights include victory in the 2016 TCOOP Main Event for slightly less than $400,000 and first place in the €1,100 Main Event at Eureka Hamburg for another €70,000. His biggest single score came for third place in the SCOOP Main Event in 2019, when he turned his $10,300 buy-in into $604,383.
Although Alt’s story at the PSPC will not quite be the same as the Gilles and Dietrich–the recreational player living the once-in-a-lifetime dream–Alt says that playing the tournament will still be very special for the seasoned pro, and added that it was not so easy to conquer the Mega Path to get there.
We caught up with Alt shortly after his victory to learn some more about the man and his career.
Robin Scherr (PokerStarsBlog.de): Hello Dinesh. Congratulations on winning the Platinum Pass. Is this still something special, even though you’re a professional player who has been on the scene for a long time?
Dinesh Alt: Yes, definitely. I was very happy that I finally won the Platinum Pass. It also took a while for the Mega Path tournaments. I played a total of 137 $2 Step 2 Sit & Gos, then the $50 MTT 12 times, and finally I won the pass on my third try at the $1K MTT. There is a lopt of work behind it and not just luck.
You have played many major live tournaments around the world. How important is the PSPC to you? Is it a tournament that you definitely have to play?
Certainly, I would have played it either way. Also because I only play live in Europe, otherwise online. The first three or four years I traveled all over the world non-stop, it was very time consuming and took a lot of energy. And the PSPC is probably the best tournament in Europe this year, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Let’s talk about the person Dinesh Alt. As a teenager, you will certainly not have thought of a career as a poker player. What were your plans before it went in this direction?
Playing professional poker was of course not planned. In the early years, it was just a hobby outside of school. But I was already aware at school that I wanted to do my own thing. At the age of 15, during high school, I had rented a workshop in which I bought, repaired and sold cheap motorbikes and mopeds, and carried out various tuning works. At the age of 17 I started an import business, mainly with electronic goods from Asia for sale in Switzerland via a web shop. And at the age of 18, I already had my own shop and also imported cars from America in 2009/2010, right after the economic crisis due to the low US dollar.
And then poker intervened. When did you take the decision to take poker more seriously?
I was extremely bound by the business and always had to be on site in Switzerland. But I wanted to look for something where I could have more flexibility and freedom to travel. Poker was just the perfect thing, so I took a shot, so to speak, and started to learn more about strategies, etc.
I had a dream start to my poker career. At the end of 2012, I was still playing $1 to $10 tournaments, and in December I won an $8,000 tournament on Stars. After that I played buy-ins up to $40 and qualified directly for the ANZPT in Sydney through a $20 rebuy. I have no idea how it all went, I just remember playing the satellite at PokerStars and winning.
Then I flew to Sydney. In Switzerland, you have to wear a suit in the casino and at the tournament in Sydney I was so overdressed, wearing a blazer. But I somehow shipped the main event. It was a completely different world for me, completely crazy. It took me a long time to process everything.
You didn’t have any friends at the time who also played poker and were able to exchange ideas with you?
I actually had no connections to the community at the beginning, it was only the second month that I played intensively. But that changed in Sydney. Dominik Nitsche was also at the final table, for example, and finished third. Everything then just came together. I suddenly had a good bankroll, was able to do good bankroll management and gradually made more and more contacts with the other players.
And now you live in Austria, where numerous, especially German, poker players have settled.
That’s right, but not in Vienna. I have been living in Bregenz for around three years, which is much closer to my home town of Bern and my family.
What else would you like to add about your Platinum Pass victory?
First of all I just want to say that I think the system with the Mega Path satellite is very cool. Generally, I miss that a bit at PokerStars. With these satellites it is easily possible to generate an extremely high ROI (Return of Investment) and to qualify extremely cheaply for large tournaments. In the past, this was often the case with FPPs (Frequent Player Points).
For the TCOOP Main Event, which I won three years ago, there was this mega path with StarsCoins. I have never told anyone before, but at the time I actually qualified with StarsCoins and made $400,000 out of a $2 investment.
It would be nice if this system was used more often, for example for live events like the EPT.
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