Dominik Nitsche overcame a strong field that included many of his German countrymen to win the 2017 High Roller for One Drop at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
The victory earned Nitsche not only €3,487,463 ($4.04 million), but also his fourth career WSOP bracelet.
The High Roller attracted a total of 132 entries, each of which cost €111,111 ($129,000). That total included 88 unique players as well as 44 re-entries.
Nitsche Defeats Eiler in Heads-Up Finale
From that group, 20 players were able to make the money, a group that included five players currently from Germany and several others that began their careers there. In the end, the tournament came down to a heads-up confrontation between Nitsche and fellow German Andreas Eiler.
Nitsche had a nearly 7-1 chip lead heading into the final hand of the tournament. Eiler moved all-in with his short stack with K♣9♣, and Nitsche quickly called with Q♦T♥. When a ten came on the flop, Eiler found himself hoping for a king that would never come. Nitsche had won one of the largest prizes of the poker season, while Eiler had to settle for second place and a €2,155,418 ($2.5 million) payday.
For Nitsche, the prize was the largest of his career, and his lifetime live tournament earnings now stand at more than $11.3 million. More than that, though, the victory was the latest confirmation that all the work he puts into his poker game has been worthwhile.
“It’s not about the bracelets for me, mostly. It’s about playing really well,” Nitsche told WSOP.com. “The bracelets are nice, but the bracelets show me that my hard work pays off. I’m not the kind of guy to go trophy chasing. I’m more the kind of guy to play in a high roller because I love competing against the best.”
Tournament Raises More Than $1 Million for Charity
Like all of the One Drop-affiliated tournaments at the World Series of Poker, however, this event wasn’t just about the prize money or the competition. The tournament raised a total of €977,768 ($1.13 million) for the One Drop Foundation, which strives to provide clean water access for communities around the world.
The charity was founded by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte in 2007. Since 2012, the WSOP has run tournaments in which a portion of each buy-in has been donated directly to the foundation. The first such event, the Big One for One Drop, featured a $1 million buy-in and raised $5.33 million for the charity, while Antonio Esfandiari walked away with a record prize of more than $18.3 million.
While his own prize money, the bracelet, and the contributions to a worthy charity may have all been rewarding for Nitsche, what stuck out to the 27-year-old professional poker player was the quality of his play.
“I felt like I made no mistakes at all. I think I played perfect,” he said. “There was no bet size, no fold, anything that I would change in hindsight.”