Dominik Nitsche (born 1990), from Minden, Germany, started playing poker online in 2006 and live poker three years later. He has 3 WSOP bracelets and 1 WPT title under his belt and, according to Hendon Mob, his online and live earnings combined exceed $8.2 million!
You have enjoyed some massive success on the live tournament circuit in your career, including 9 major titles. Is there a specific tournament victory that you remember and perhaps would like to share with us?
Honestly all of them feel special. Each in their own way. I will never forget winning my very first live poker tournament in Argentina back in 2009. This one feels extra special to me simply because it was my break through victory into the live poker world. Before that I was an online grinder and this win really put my name out there for the first time.
Then of course I will always remember winning my first bracelet as it came after my first summer in Vegas which was even harder than expected. I am very proud of myself that I played my absolute best until the very end the first time I went to Vegas for the WSOP. It's something a lot of really good poker players struggle with.
You followed up six cashes at this summer's WSOP with a 2nd place finish for $479,732 (the 4th six-digit cash of 2015) in the $10,400 buy-in Bellagio Cup XL on July 10 and a 15th place finish for $20,594 in the WSOP National Championship on July 30th.
What has made you such an extremely successful tournament player this summer?
As I just said. People do struggle with playing poker every day for 7 Weeks. Something that has never really affected me negatively. Or atleast not as strongly as the majority of players.
When it comes to the last weeks of the summer most players will be tilted and burned out. Also, I have been on quite a good run this year with a lot of deep runs in high buy in tournaments. It was very satisfying to finally have that big score again
Let's talk about cash games. In an interview last year you said, "I play 5/10 and 10/20 pretty confidently, but when I watch the likes of Jungleman and WCGRider I realize that I they are so much better than me at poker. I still have a lot to learn." Have you played any high stakes cash games since then? Maybe learnt something new?
I still haven't played any high stakes cash games. It's just not something I have been too interested as of late as I have decided to mainly focus on my best game (Live NLHE tournaments). The guys at the top at any game are really strong and only focus one game specifically. It would be impossible for me to sit down and beat 25/50 without an awful lot of practice and studying.
I still do play quite a bit of NLHE cash on 888. Nothing too high. Just 5/10 - 10/20. I enjoy the competition and feel very comfortable in those games.
I have actually learned quite a bit from playing them and I'd highly recommend any tournament player to give 6max or heads up cash games a try. It can only help your game.
If you could choose only between live and online poker, what would it be?
Tough question. I love playing online poker (in fact i just got down playing a 6 hour cash session on 888) simply because you can play so many more hands and practice much more efficiently. But if there really only could be one I'd have to go with live poker. The thrill of going deep in a major live tournament is the most fun thing I can imagine. I love it.
Despite lots of grinding and studying of theory, there are many people who aren't successful enough to play poker for a living. What advice would you give them? Is there a time when one simply should give up and do something else instead?
Tricky question. So much depends on what you want out of Poker. If your goal is to make a little bit of money while working a job than I'd say there is never a reason to give up. Poker is still easy enough at the lower levels.
If your goal is to make it to the very top the only way is to make it their by grinding your way up. That's obviously the hardest part and getting there requires an insane amount of work. Most people can't even imagine the amount of time top pros put into working on their game.
Still I wouldn't recommend to anyone that they give up. It's important however you realize that the players at the top most likely work way harder than you and they probably didn't make it to the top by getting lucky.
If you are really really good you will make it to the top! And then you gotta work hard to stay there because every day there will be more and more good players.
Last question. Do you have any plans of taking some time off from poker this year? Perhaps a relaxed holiday away from your laptop and poker rooms?
No real plans. I'm going to a wedding in Singapore in early September for a week. Other than that I don't have time to miss any major poker tournaments. This year I have a real chance at winning GPI player of the Year and i feel it would be foolish not to take it. You have to run so incredibly good to even have a shot at winning any player of the year competition. Right now I am basically tied for first place in Europe.
1 or 2 good scores in Barcelona and I will be right at the top. If that happens I will really go for it and hardly be at home. I'm really looking forward to it though.
I don't want to look back at my career and say "If only I grinded harder I could have won POY in 2015". If i don't win the title it certainly won't be for a lack of volume. Here is hoping I run good enough to do it!