"Super High Rollers are almost entirely luck"

We chat to 888poker pro Dominik Nitsche about his transition to Super High Rollers, motivation and re-entries.

dominik wsope

You’ve won very big field events and also tough Super High Rollers with small fields. Obviously the Super High Rollers have the tougher average player, but broadly which is tougher? 

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: Obviously it's tougher to win the 400-player tournaments. That's the nature of the game. Super High Rollers are basically SNGs. Yes, they are tough but even losing players can win five of them. I don't really think tournament results over such small sample size can be impressive. They are almost entirely luck.

Is there a fundamentally different skill set required in big field tournament compared to Super High Rollers, or should a talented player be good at both?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: Not really. That's a big misconception a lot of people have. The people who play the Super High Rollers are also usually the best players in any Main Event. They have a much deeper understanding of game theory and are therefore also better at exploiting even good regulars.

In a strange way, are Super High Rollers less pressure, because (presumably) more of everyone’s action is sold/swapped, and the ROIs are bigger in large field tournaments (so more is at stake, relatively)?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: That's an interesting one. There is clearly more money at stake (for most players) at an EPT final table than there is at a Super High Roller SNG that only got 25 runners. Obviously playing for less money is less stressful. Still though I don't think anything can compare to the pressure of playing a final table against almost entirely the best players in the world with everyone watching.

"Shot clocks should be in every event"

Dominik Nitsche 888
"I love shot clocks"

What are your thoughts on Shot Clocks, both in High Rollers and regular tournaments?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: Love them. They should be in every tournament.

What are your thoughts on online day 1s to live events like the WPT500?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: They are great. More poker sites should be looking into creative ways to allow players to skip the boring parts of tournaments. In my opinion online day 1s do just that and it's great for both recreational and professional players.

What are your thoughts on re-entries as a lot of recreational players have been complaining about them?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: Re-entries don't provide an edge to anyone and therefore I don't see why we'd need to restrict them? A lot of recreational players actually do enjoy gambling early on to run up a stack. I don't want to take that away from them. It's very profitable for everyone and fun for them. I think much more important than restricting the number of buy-ins is to limit the re-entry period. I understand why people don't like it when players can register with 20 or less BBs.

"There is no soft play in High Rollers"

Dominik Nitsche 888
"The results take care of themselves"

Do you think all the swapping and selling action in Super High Rollers in anyway harms them? Either by over saturating the fields with top pros, or creating a paranoid environment as nobody knows who is staking who, or even just makes them look predatory from the perspective of the rich businessmen who play them?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: I've played so many of these events and I can say that without a doubt the competition among everyone (even among my friends who I swap with) is extremely serious. There is no soft play happening and if i did I'm sure it would get public in no time. To my knowledge no one of the German crew has ever publicly been accused of colluding.

You said after your WSOPE win you were most happy about how you played, not the result. How have you managed to develop this mindset where performance is more important than results, because it’s rare? 

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: I've been playing poker for 11 years now. That's a long time. You realise at some point that your short term results are almost entirely down to luck. So really as a professional poker player your only job is to sit down and play your cards well. At the end the results will take care of themselves.

However, with four bracelets and a ton of other titles, you must still get motivated by external rewards and accolades? Are you able to do like Phil Hellmuth and still use them as fuel to perform, or do you think it’s better to remain stoic and concentrate on performance only?

Dominik Ace0nTheRiver Nitsche: I got extremely lucky throughout my career in WSOP events and I'm very grateful for that. Still though these wins have all come down to luck. Would I be any less of a player if I had no bracelets? I sort of hate the idea that a few lucky or unlucky moments define my career. To me it's just about playing well and competing with the best.

Does winning bracelets mean I played well? Of course not. But what if I can honestly say that I made no mistakes throughout a very tough final table? To me that's motivating. I can honestly say I have an edge on pretty much every table i play on. It's not only that i know "I have an edge" but also even more importantly why I have an edge. Knowing why you are supposed to be winning is lot more motivational to me than any title.

Thanks Dominik, good luck (sorry, play well) in the future!

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Comments (1)

  • CucumbaMan


    Great interview! I love this guy's mindset!