Dominik Nitsche Lets the Public in on Biggest Tournament of the Year
18 July 2018
PokerBrave (921 articles)

It’s hard for most people to wrap their heads around the fact that there are poker players who put up $1 million for a poker tournament, but that’s exactly what is happening today in the Rio. The final event on the 2018 WSOP calendar, the $1 million Big One for One Drop, kicked off just before noon Sunday and 24 guys produced a milly to enter.

One of them, Dominik Nitsche, is ready to let the public in on the often-veiled high-stakes world, working with his sponsor 888poker and Van Cine Productions to produce a documentary of his journey in the exclusive event. Nitsche approached 888 about the idea of giving an inside look into the high roller world and they embraced it, bringing on producers Matt Showell and Alex Konvyes to execute the idea.

What to Expect

With all the poker vlogs out there these days, Nitsche decided he wanted to get in on the action and maybe offer something a little different.

“I said I want to do something like this too and put my own twist on it,” Nitsche told PokerNews.

Nitsche is ready to put on display the ins and outs of the high roller life that the public doesn’t generally get to be privy to. One of those details includes producing the cash for the buy-in.

“The struggle of getting a million dollars together, cash, when you’re never winning a tournament yourself is kind of tough, so you have to collect money from people left and right, and that’s a lot of work,” Nitsche told PokerNews.

We also caught up with his documentary producers to get more insight into the plan and premise of the project.

“The plan is to follow Dom, and depending how deep he goes will sort of dictate the level of development we give the documentary,” Matt Showell of Van Cine Productions told PokerNews. “If he makes the final table, if he makes a deep run, it’s going to be an awesome story.”

“Overall, it’s kind of a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest buy-in poker tournament in the world.”

At minimum, the team will be releasing daily videos highlighting the action of the day, focused on Nitsche of course.

“Overall, it’s kind of a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest buy-in poker tournament in the world.”

Showell and fellow producer Alex Konvyes expect that their documentary will appeal to all poker fans and players, from low-stakes through the highest stakes. For Showell, Nitsche is a great subject for the film, not just because he’s brilliant and an amazing poker player, but also because of his willingness to be “uncensored.”

“Especially in the high-stakes world, it’s hard to get a clear picture of exactly what’s going on. Not everyone’s that comfortable being open about it and [Nitsche] is pretty comfortable.”

Day 1 of the Biggest Poker Tournament in the World

For Nitsche, the first four hours of play were relatively uneventful, but fun.

“People came here to blast off, apparently,” Nitsche told his camera crew at the second break of the day. “D Peters already busted. He came to play; he ran a big bluff and it didn’t work out for him.”

Nitsche had also run a big bluff that did work, and besides that hadn’t gotten much to work with.

“I have a tough table,” said Nitsche. “I just called down Bryn Kenney, who had a good hand. But then later on he bluffed it away, so now Bryn is kind of short on my left, but it’s still early.”

Nitsche had talked to his crew about the importance of table draw in events such as these, and he was less than thrilled with where he landed.

“The problem is we’re all friends on this table. It makes for a bad game in terms of profitability but it’s pretty fun.”

“I did not get a good table draw,” Nitsche laughed. “My table’s a nightmare. It’s a joke. I was just jokingly saying to Dan Smith outside; I was inquiring about the next draw because they keep redrawing us into the field.”

To start the day, Nitsche was seated not only with Kenney, but also the likes of Dan Smith, Nick Petrangelo, Stephen Chidwick and Adrian Mateos.

“The problem is we’re all friends on this table. It makes for a bad game in terms of profitability but it’s pretty fun. I like all those guys and wish them all the best, but now we’re going to battle.

“We also realize that we all have 200 big blinds at least at this point. It’s a little bit more casual than if we all have 30 big blinds and it’s life or death every hand.”

His table did eventually break, as he had wished, though his new table looks like this:

Seat Player
Seat 1 Justin Bonomo
Seat 2 Cary Katz
Seat 3 [empty]
Seat 4 Isaac Haxton
Seat 5 Fedor Holz
Seat 6 Nick Petrangelo
Seat 7 Dominik Nitsche
Seat 8 Erik Seidel

Even so, with such a deep structure, Day 1 is more relaxed for these high rollers, most of whom are no stranger to big spots like this.

“On Day 1, the blinds are low and everyone is just happy to be here for the most part,” said Nitsche. “And I never think super high rollers are that serious. Because once you get to that point, you kind of just play your hands, and you aren’t playing evil mind games with your opponents. So once you just start playing your hands on a high level, then you can just afford to be comfortable because there’s no reason to get too serious. It doesn’t do anything for you.”

Game Plan

His game plan moving forward is pretty much to just play his game – and do whatever he has to do.

“If I need to bluff-raise the river, I’ll bluff-raise the river.”

“I’ll just play poker. If I need to bluff-raise the river, I’ll bluff-raise the river. If I need to call someone with bottom pair, I’ll probably try to call them with bottom pair. Just hopefully make a lot of pairs.”

At the final break of the day, 22 of the 24 Day 1 runners remain with registration open until the start of Day 2. Nitsche has built his stack from 5 million to 6,950,000, good for about 116 big blinds. But as Nitsche said, it’s still early.

Be on the lookout for daily video updates and the final documentary product from the Van Cine Productions team, which will be available at the 888poker Facebook page. Meanwhile, PokerNews will continue to provide coverage of the Big One for One Drop through its conclusion on Tuesday, so be sure to follow along to keep up on Nitsche’s journey.