Dominik Nitsche Too Focused on the Grind to Think About Retiring


Dominik Nitsche plans to keep on grinding – both online and live – as his poker career continues to blossom

While some young Germans are keen to “retire” and step back from poker, three-time bracelet winner and 888 Poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche is intent on grinding until there is nothing good left to grind. The German pro, who has over $3.5 million in online tournament earnings and another $6.5 million in live earnings, is just 25 years old, but like many of his peers and countrymen, he is already a renowned, established pro and one of the top ten German tournament earners in history.

When you realize how much Nitsche grinds, the results don’t seem as surprising. He works at the game year-round, grinding online when he isn’t traveling. Recently he chopped the 888Poker Super XL Series Main Event and soon is off to London for the upcoming 888 poker festival. He doesn’t intend to stop there though. He’ll likely head to Asia and play in Macau.

Unlike Fedor Holz, retirement isn’t a word Nitsche is entertaining right now. In fact, “break” probably is not an option either.

“Not in the near future,” Nitsche explains. “The high roller events have been better than ever and are really kicking off everywhere. The only tournament I will miss in the near future is PCA. I’m going to Australia a bit early to spend some time in Sydney.”

Nitsche is all about making the most of opportunities, and knowing how much the poker landscape can change overnight, he is not going to let any chances pass him by.

“A lot in tournament Poker is simply about putting in the volume. And now is a good time to do that. We don’t know how the poker market will be in 2-3 years and I really don’t want to miss out on the crazy good tournaments right now.”

He is definitely capitalizing on the crazy good tournaments. Nitsche finished second to Holz in June’s $50,000 Super High Roller at Aria for almost $630,000, then took fourth in a $5,000 WSOP event for another $250,000. While these scores are great, Nitsche is remarkably low key about his results.

“I put in a lot of work away from the tables and I play a lot of online tournaments and cash games on 888 to stay sharp when I’m at home. Results will come if you keep playing well, but you can’t control when you will have your big win. I’m just happy to keep playing more and more tournaments and maybe sometimes I get very lucky and win. That’s fun, of course, but it is a bit silly to be proud of something you can’t control.”

It may sound like Nitsche is singularly-focused on the felt, but his poker worldview extends far beyond himself. In his role as an 888 sponsored pro, he takes growing the game very seriously. He may play the highest stakes, but he loves using social media and Twitch to communicate with everyone, including the $.01/$.02 grinders.

“A lot of the work I do for 888 is just very fun for me and it’s a lot of things I have been doing even before I became sponsored. Things like communicating with casual poker players on social media and giving advice to new up-and-coming players is just something I really enjoy doing. As an 888 ambassador now, I get to do even more of that and help promote the game in my home country. I recently went to do German commentary for the WSOP in Munich and it was a great experience. I have been watching the WSOP on TV since I was 16 so, of course, it felt amazing.”

The commentary is something Nitsche has dabbled with in the past, but his take on TV poker talk is to try and give a different spin on it than the poker boom days.

“Not at all, actually. I have had a lot of experience doing live commentary for various events before and the feedback has always been very positive. People watch these to learn a bit about how poker works and don’t want to watch coin flip after coin flip. I always try to give the viewer something they can take away from what I say and use it the next time they play live.”

The respect Nitsche has for his audience is what helps his commentary stand out. His knack for speaking about higher-level strategy in a way anyone can understand is what earned him opportunities like the one in Germany.

“In my opinion, poker is unique in that way because, unlike any other sport, people don’t just watch it on TV. They play it themselves. Of course, I will have to keep things a bit more simple on TV, but really this just comes down to practice and having a deep understanding of what I am trying to say. Even complex concepts can be made fairly simple if you really do know what you are talking about.”

He certainly knows what he is talking about. In addition to his own impressive resume, Nitsche spends plenty of time talking poker with some of the best minds in the game. Lately he has been working with Jon Spinks and Moritz Dietrich, but he also cites Holz, Rainier Kempe, Stephen Chidwick, Oliver Price, and Marty Mathis as good friends and great players.

As for who the next European wunderkind will be, Nitsche has a couple of suggestions. He says Steffen Sontheimer is “probably the best player you don’t know,” and also says Marty Kozlov is “a complete beast and completely underrated.”

With his role at 888, who knows what undiscovered genius might cross Nitsche’s path next? Given his open mind, his refusal to miss opportunities, and his insistence on listening to every kind of poker player there is, it certainly seems possible he helps develop some new poker talent. Until then, he continues to hone his with his can’t stop, won’t stop attitude continuing to pay dividends six figures at a time.