Will we see a German One Drop champion?

With seven German players currently in the list of 30 One Drop participants, Barry Carter suggests we are going to see a German win the biggest prize in poker history this year.

//d3ltpfxjzvda6e.cloudfront.net/2013/12/10/9a31f9be92.jpgAt the start of the year I made a number of predictions for how I saw poker taking shape in 2014, and one of them was that we would see a German One Drop champion. This week more of the runners have been announced, and I like my prediction even more.

Of the 10 runners announced this week, six were German, making a total of seven of 29 confirmed players so far (For the purposes of this discussion I am classing Igor Kurganov as German, though I am aware he has both German and Russian heritage).

Fabian 'fabstinho' Quoss, Max Altergott, Tobias 'PokerNoob' Reinkemeier, Igor 'LeChuckPoker' Kurganov, Christoph Vogelsang and Niklas 'ragen' Heinecker all join Philiip PhilGruissem' Gruissem, who was one of the first to buy in. 

2014 One Drop Entrant List so far
Fabian 'fabstinho' Quoss David Einhorn
Brian Rast
Tobias 'PokerNoob' Reinkemeier Phil Galfond
Andrew Robl
Jean-Robert Bellande
Bobby Baldwin Erik Seidel
Niklas 'ragen' Heinecker Antonio Esfandiari
Brandon Steven
Vanessa Selbst Guy Laliberté Sam Trickett
Christoph Vogelsang
Phil Ivey
Noah Schwartz
Anonymous Asian Businessman
Jason Mercier
Anonymous Businessman
Anthony Gregg
Paul Newey
Anonymous Businessman
Max Altergott
Bill Perkins
Anonymous Businessman
Igor 'Lechuckpoker' Kurganov Vivek Rajkumar
Aria Satellite Seat
Bellagio satellite seat
WSOP satellite seat
Philipp 'philgruissem' Gruissem

The best in the world right now

//d3ltpfxjzvda6e.cloudfront.net/2014/05/13/Ole-Schemion_EPT-Grand-Final_S9_EV16_PLO-8max-5K-_Giron_8JG8933.jpgPokerStrategy.com is a predominantly German company, at least in origin, and in the three years I have worked for them I have come to love German culture, the German work ethic and in particular have really enjoyed having a ringside seat for the meteoric rise of German poker (As you can see, most of these players are members of this site).

As a Brit I am still cheering for my countrymen at the WSOP, but after that I am always rooting for the German players.

Quite simply the Germans are the best in the world at High Roller tournaments. I'd make a case for all forms of poker too, but the Rollers are beyond any doubt. That was true in 2013 and it is still true in 2014, as Fabian Quoss, Phil Gruissem and Ole Schemion all have made waves so far this year.

Last time half the One Drop entrants were businessmen, if it is the same this time around then one would realistically expect only about 30 of the players to stand a chance of winning. I didn't expect as many German players to register when I made my prediction, and we still have potentially Martin '0PiggyBank' Finger and Ole 'olekonjole' Schemion among the High Rollers who could register (And plenty of other big names besides those two).

The latter I currently believe to be the best tournament player in the world right now (So much so I've bet on him to win it), despite being just 21. If Ole won it, it would be very interesting. On the one hand, a 21-year-old winning the biggest prize in poker history would be a massive story, and I believe Ole would instantly become the new Phil Ivey (I believe he currently has a similar reputation anyway).

Great players, great ambassadors?

//d3ltpfxjzvda6e.cloudfront.net/2014/05/13/vanessa_selbst_champion_photo_4.jpgHowever the one interesting, but potentially frustrating, thing about the current crop of German Super High Rollers is they shy away from the limelight. In poker terms, I respect this tremendously, it takes a lot of restraint and long-term vision to fly under the radar when fame is presenting itself to you.

But One Drop really is a spectacle, and a huge promotional tool for the game. The ridiculous buy-in and prizes turn a lot of heads, and the charity angle frames poker in a very positive light. I don't think poker could have wished for a better inaugural champion in Antonio Esfandiari, a born entertainer and great ambassador, he really took the fame One Drop brought and made the very most of it.

It would be a shame if a German champion would not do the same thing, but just like Pius Heinz who 'took the money and ran', I understand why they might.

Two players who might just turn out to be a great One Drop champions are Philip Gruissem and Igor Kurganov. Both men are using poker to do great things, as they both donate 10% of their winnings to charity and do a lot of extra work for good causes. Combine this with the charity element of One Drop and you might just get a great altruistic champion, even if they are not necessarily media darlings.  

Even though I want to be right on my prediction and (more importantly) my bet, I'm inclined to think that maybe the best thing for poker overall would be if Vanessa Selbst won. She is the first female to enter the seven-figure One Drop and one of the best players in the world. Combine this with Vicky Coren's double-EPT win and 2014 would be the greatest ever year for women's poker, and an amazing story which would no doubt see a genuine interest in females taking up the game.

No matter who wins, I am once again very interested in One Drop despite thinking that I wouldn't be. No matter what happens, an interesting story is going to come out of this event, and there is a lot of potential for that to be a positive and marketable story for poker. 

Do you think a German player will win One Drop? Who is your pick to win this event? Does One Drop overshadow the Main Event? Is One Drop good for poker? Let me know your thoughts in the comments box.
//d3ltpfxjzvda6e.cloudfront.net/2014/02/22/71514_443563348174_1472734_n.jpgBarry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2. He has been working in the poker industry for nine years and in 2013 won the APAT Award for Best Poker Media Provider. You can learn more about his work here

Follow Barry Carter on Twitter l Follow Barry Carter on Google+ 

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Comments (9)

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  • metza


    [x] OP has boner for schemion :P
  • BarryCarter


    #2 if he wins One Drop I certainly will, he will have paid for a holiday for me :)
  • metza


    I also think its odd he's not registered for it already, seems like with this years results he would have 0 problem getting staked for it...
  • ThatGuyMatt


    What's his odds, how much you got on this? ;)
  • LemOn36


    what % of themselves do these guys have?
    Is it well below 50%?
  • BarryCarter


    I got 80-1 and almost as soon as I made the bet it dropped to 22-1 at ladbrokes, so I'm happy no matter what
  • Alficor1


    @5 I would be surprised if any of the german guys had over 25% of themselves.


    germans are pretty lame at this game so no way
  • ArtySmokes


    The German "cartel" has great chances to make money, simply because they share their action to smooth out the variance. No poker players are properly bankrolled to play without backing/swapping in this event, unless you know of someone with 100 million dollars hidden under the bed. I like Team Deutsch a lot, partly because they live in the UK. Heinecker refreshes the parts other beers can't reach. ;)