They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but even when you’ve been playing poker for years you always need to be learning and improving, both on and off the tables. Just ask ‘Pappadogg‘ – a player who has just broke into the worldwide top ten rankings for the first time, currently sitting in the #7 spot.
“I have been on a pretty crazy run for about the last six months,” says ‘Pappadogg’, who asked for his real identity to be kept secret.
And he’s not lying: on January 2 he took down the partypoker Title Fight for $41K. That was followed by a partypoker Uppercut victory for $10K, a partypoker PowerFest win for $55K, and on February 5 he took down the PokerStars Sunday Supersonic for $35K.
“Before, I was always doing decently but never really had a big breakthrough. I started changing a lot of things in my life in the last year and have been taking a much more professional approach towards poker, improving a lot of things on and off the poker table.
“I like getting my body and mind sharp before a poker session, especially Sundays where I take my time to prepare.”
He fills his free time with different sports like fitness, kickboxing, running and football.
“I have made it a habit of mine to create a better version of myself every day, so I also do a lot of reading and spiritual things like meditation for my mind. No doubt that I have been running very good, but I live by the philosophy that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
So, what do we know about ‘Pappadogg’? Well, he’s 24, originally from Bavaria, Germany, and now lives in Prague, Czech Republic, where he is the #1 ranked player in the country.
“I started off very early, when I was 14,” he said. “I have kind of the typical poker boom story. I saw the World Series of Poker on TV and started out playing home games with friends. Soon I realized that I was winning more often than the others and started playing play money and freerolls online.”
After winning his first $25 in a freeroll, there was no looking back. ‘Pappadogg’ started playing cash games, and eventually began playing tournaments too, with decent success in both areas.
“I built my bankroll greatly by achieving Supernova Elite in 2011 from playing mid-stakes cash, and then started playing tournaments more regularly. I never really had a big breakthrough score but was making decent money pretty steadily until last year.
“I definitely didn’t reach my full potential. As mentioned, I started changing things last year around July/August. After a great European Poker Tour Barcelona trip, I followed it up with a great World Championship of Online Poker and since then have been on a steady winning streak.”
That great WCOOP involved a win in Event #48 (a $215 NLHE Progressive KO tournament) for $52K. He’s now hoping he can ride that winning streak all the way to world #1 spot.
“I am very competitive and thus naturally it is my goal to become number one in the world. Right now there is still a big gap to the top as there are a couple of players who are really tearing it up at the moment. But I will get my chance sooner or later.”
“I want to start playing some more live too, and winning a big major is definitely a big dream of mine.”
‘Pappadogg’ credits ‘Team Sky’ – a small group of German and Dutch cash players – for contributing to his recent success (“you will definitely hear more of us in the future,” he predicts). He also thanks his family, hometown friends, and poker mind coach Elliot Roe, who he started working with in August 2016. But aside from trying to get the #1 spot, what’s next for him?
“I live in Prague but I am on the verge of moving to Vienna,” he says. “I spent two great years in Prague, but I’m really looking forward to a change of scenery with new opportunities.”