The first day of the 888Live Austria Main Event ended with 67 players still in the running. Team888 ambassador, Dominik Nitsche, was among them. He's sitting on the sofa with his girlfriend when I decide to have a small chat with him. The fact that we were at the Blue Chip Club party in Innsbruck, and he wasn't dancing, led me to think that we already had something in common. I've never been the dancing type.
It turns out my guess was right.
"I'm not much of a party person," he says. "I actually prefer to have a nice meal and talk to people, that's more 'me'. It's also the reason why I like to play live poker, because that's how you get to know people. I had a few drinks with my girl, though, and we had fun!"
Good Players Don't Always Go Broke
Dominik started to play poker when he was in High School.
"One of my friends asked me if I'd ever watched poker on TV, since a German channel was showing some WSOP action. I started to get into it and played online after school. Eventually, I got lucky enough to build up my bankroll pretty fast, and I'm still playing right now. "
He's good friends with all the German high rollers.
"The poker community is kind of small", he said. "Everyone knows each other, although we're very open to meet new people as well." He played his first live tournament at a local casino, "but my first big one was in the 2009 Australian Aussie Million. I got there through an online satellite."
Since Dominik has already attained big results, despite his young age, I couldn't help but asking if he ever went broke in his life.
"It's a lie that, to be a good player, you must have gone broke at least once in your life. I've never been broke or let's say that I'm way too professional to end up that way. There are a lot of tournaments around; there's a game at any stake!"
Heading for the Poker Super High Rollers
Every poker player has to continually improve their game to stay at the top, and Dominik knows that very well.
"Right now I 'm trying to make a step [up] to the super High Rollers. I need time to study and get better and better, because this game is so complex that you cannot achieve targets, if you don't work enough for it. A lot of people who were at the top became mediocre players as soon as they stopped working; that's why I keep studying a lot.
"I personally believe that being a heads-up player is fundamental to succeed in MTT tournaments, as there are loads of situations in which you raise and get called by the big blind with a wider range of hands than in the past."
Dominik seems to have pretty clear ideas about what to do in his career, especially when I ask him if he's aiming to win another bracelet at the World Series of Poker.
"Oh, I wanna win bracelet number four, there's no question about that!" he tells me, before putting on his jacket. Ever the professional, he needed to get an early night, as he wanted to be fresh for day two of the Main Event.