Breaking Down the Action:
  • Nitsche Wins Unibet Open Online Event  
  • Why Don’t More Ambassadors Crossover to Play Rival Events?
  • Unibet Leading by a Strong Example

German three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche is used to winning poker tournaments. With a total of 17 ranking live event wins, Nitsche is used to posing for winners pictures, especially in Las Vegas, where he has won ranking events on no less than five occasions, including those three WSOP bracelets.

Why is his latest online poker victory, one of hundreds to his name, special? Well, it was in an event sponsored by a rival poker brand. Let’s take a look at why this is important.

Nitsche Wins Unibet Open Online Event  

German player Dominik Nitsche may have $18.6 million to his name in live winnings, but much of his success has come online. As well as bossing the poker tables, Nitsche has developed DTO Poker, a ‘personal poker trainer’ app that helps player study GTO spots about poker hands in real-time. Online poker players will be queuing up for that sort of help if they have any sense, and they’ve a lot of it.

Those tips are obviously paying off for the creator himself as Nitsche outlasted 318 opponents to become the first Unibet Open champion of the year. Taking down the €1,100-entry  Unibet Open Online (High) Event, Nitsche won the €68,527 top prize after getting the better of ‘deucesWild’ heads up.

All class, here’s how Unibet themselves announced the victory.

Why Don’t More Ambassadors Crossover to Play Rival Events?

Put short, they do, they just don’t tell you about it so much.

The internet is littered with examples of professional poker players who are quick to hype their own brand’s events and for good reason – that poker brand are always hoping that having a poker name will bring in more players from the recreational pool. That in turn grows their market share and makes them more money – it’s pretty simple. But the flip side of that argument might seem obvious – patched up poker pros won’t often sell another brand’s series.

There is something counterintuitive about the brand adopting this same attitude. For a start, let’s imagine that Poker Brand X was running a live event in the Bahamas and a plethora of Poker Brand Y players arrived to play it. As a Poker Brand X staff member, should you report about, or attempt to hide their involvement? This reporter has sat in meetings where it’s been recommended that photographers aim to ‘crop out’ the patch of a rival brand so as not to promote a rival.

This, it could be argued, is nonsensical.

If anything, the reverse is true; if a poker tournament is so popular that a rival brand’s players want to turn up to play it, then you should do everything you can to get that player – patch and all – on display. Heck, they’re bound to have signed a disclaimer giving the brand permission to use their image to take part at most live festivals (or they should have).

Wouldn’t the best thing to do be to yell from the rafters about it: ‘Poker Brand X Festival – so good that even Poker Brand Y players can’t resist taking part!’

Phil Hellmuth commented on Nitsche being one of many young players that he respects deeply in our exclusive chat with the Poker Brat.

Unibet Leading by a Strong Example

In essence, the above sentence is what Unibet have done, albeit with a little more decorum than any shouting or yelling. Proud that their Unibet Open event presented value to Nitsche, they were more than happy to advertise his winning of it.

Not everyone has the same opinion. One Unibet player on Twitter commented that “A guy playing one tourney all year on Unibet winning its biggest tournament is not particularly a good thing IMO. Would much rather have seen an average Joe Unibet player winning it.”

Dominik Nitsche

Dominik Nitsche pictured ‘in the green’ at the poker felt – just as he was playing in the Unibet Open

We would respectfully disagree. Poker has seen, during the pandemic, that the universe of poker players are probably never stronger than when they stand together, either in protestation against something negative or acclaiming a real positive. There may be 888poker players who would now consider playing Unibet events too. Maybe Unibet players will take part in a few tournaments on 888poker that Nitsche recommends. What’s the problem?

That Nitsche played – and won – a Unibet Open event is a great thing. We’d like to see more of it. Daniel Negreanu heading straight back to PokerStars and bagging a final table appearance in the Sunday Million just because he fancies playing it? Fantastic. One of Team partypoker binking The Whale on 888poker? You love to see it.

As much as we often identify a player with a particular brand, one of the best things about a poker player to this fan and (we’d like to believe) millions of others is when you know they’ll chase down the best game in town, no matter where it’s being held.

When that town is the limitless expanding metropolis of the internet, could it be any easier to do so?

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Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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