Saturday, October 20, 2012


Travelling to the most exotic destinations, wining and dining at the finest establishments the world has to offer, all that while earning millions on the circuit … find out how at age 22, German-born Dominik Nitsche is leading the next generation of poker professionals to super-stardom.

After collecting millions online, Dominik Nitsche burst onto the live poker scene in 2009, where, at the tender young age of 18 (the man wasn’t even old enough to legally drink or gamble in many countries around the world yet!), he won the LAPT Season 2 Grand Final in Argentina, collecting the biggest cash prize in Latin American Poker Tour history.

The next big chapter of Nitsche’s young professional poker career came this past summer at the 2012 World Series of Poker. Then 21, Nitsche was finally able to make his first appearance at the Rio. After a tough start to 2012 where tons of great things were expected from the German pro, Nitsche shut up all critics by collecting his first of what many believe will be many WSOP bracelets.

My first encounter with Dominik came earlier in his career after I wrote the following in a report from his win at the Merit Summer Open in June of 2011…

“Dominik Nitsche is a rising star on the poker circuit. Choosing to play primarily in the "minor leagues" to help his progression has proven to be a great decision for Nitsche the past few months.”

Nitsche took “offence” to my referring to him as a “minor league” player but it was meant as a total compliment, I was a fan of his game for sure, suggesting he was a favourite of mine (I know, I know, we’re not allowed to play favourites!) as far back as April of 2011. I quickly realized that Nitsche’s “complaint” was made in jest, understanding that he couldn’t play in any tournament he wanted to given the fact that he wasn’t 21 yet.

Dominik agreed to take some time from his extremely busy schedule to answer a few questions in this inaugural edition of SEND/REPLY – enjoy!

Eric Danis (ED)- How did you first get into poker?

Dominik Nitsche (DN)- “Well, I got into poker pretty much like any other kid these days. I saw a poker show on TV and I thought I would give it a try. I played online for play money at first. Then me and my friends started playing 1€ tournaments for fun”

ED- You have been very successful in the poker world for a few years already, have your family and friends always been supportive in your decision to pursue poker as a career at such a young age?

DN- “Not until I won LAPT to be honest. I remember telling my mom that I won 10k one night when I had like a 50k bankroll so the score was obviously huge for me at the time, my mom simply said that’s nice... but I wish you did something for school instead.

She probably didn't realize that there actually was a lot of money to be made in this game and I guess I can see why. When I won the LAPT Grand Final in April 2009 though she changed her mind ... she didn't know I won a bracelet this summer until I came to visit her a few days later. She was very excited for me and told me to call her the next time I make a final table she can watch online”

ED- You are definitely one of the players that travel the most to play tournaments around the world … Seems like you’re always on the road, what’s the longest you've been at your home in the past year?

DN- “I don’t think I have spent more than one week at the same place before travelling somewhere else this year. In poker these days there are big tournaments everywhere and if you want to make a decent living at this game you have to be willing to put in the hours.

That comes with a lot of travelling. I am very fortunate that I love travelling as much as I do and that I have so many great friends who pretty much play the same schedule as me”

ED- You seem to have a huge circle of friends in the poker world – your WSOP bracelet winner's circle picture proves it – it must make life easier on the poker circuit?

DN- “Of course it does! Sometimes life on the road can get a little boring. It’s great to know a lot of people who enjoy the same things as you do like fine dining for example.

My friends and I have probably been to more Michelin Star restaurants in the past year than anyone else.

So yeah it’s not just about poker with these guys and that’s awesome. Of course if I go deep in a tourney they will be there to support me ... and sneak in the winners picture :)”

ED- What is your favourite tour stop on the poker circuit and why?

DN- “Barcelona is probably my favourite. The city is amazing it's right by the beach and the food is fantastic. I actually had the best meal of my life in Barcelona.

Some friends and I went to Tickets by El Bulli founder Ferran Adria. It was an amazing experience.

Also, the EPT in Barcelona is one of the biggest and well let’s be honest easiest fields of the entire year. All in all it’s pretty much perfect”

ED- You have eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the world – aside from your experience at Tickets in Barcelona, describe another one of your favourite meals…

DN- “Another fantastic meal I have had was at Noma during EPT Copenhagen. Noma is a restaurant unlike anything I had ever seen before.

They focus almost exclusively on regional Scandinavian products and that’s what makes it so special.

Nordic cuisine is very exciting and I’m looking forward to trying some other restaurants in Copenhagen when I get back”

ED- Why would Erik Seidel think that you worked in a thrift store? :)

DN- “Erik had dinner with us at Noma like a few weeks before he posted that picture - maybe he wasn’t very impressed with my poker skills and figured that I would need another job to support myself. Now a 2nd hand store? I really thought Erik had a higher impression of me... oh well guess I´m not inviting him to dinner any time soon :)”

ED- What’s the toughest thing about being on the road all of the time?

DN- “Figuring out what tournaments to play and which ones to skip. Right now I am still completely undecided about what I’m gonna do in November/December. There are quite a few options and I will try to sort that out sometime soon”

ED- Are there plans to slow down and cut back on your poker travels at some point?

DN- “I doubt I’m gonna slow down for at least another year. I considered slowing down before I won a bracelet but now really all I wanna do is win another big one. So if you want to win you have to keep playing :)”


Eric Danis

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