When I arrive at the table of Tobias Reinkemeier I’m not surprised in the least when I see that he has more chips than anyone else. David Benyamine has position on him, but Reinkemeier tells me that they have largely stayed out of each other’s way.
“It just makes sense for your own good. There are a lot of amateur players in the field. So even if you think you have an edge over the professional, you will have a bigger edge over the recreational players. So there are better spots to choose from.”
He has one earpiece in his lughole and the other trails by the side of his arm. He’s rocking to a beat and texting, tweeting or facebooking on his phone. He always takes pride in his appearance. Today he is wearing a light black sweater, cream chino styles trousers and brown Lacoste shoes. He has a colorful collection of juices next to an EPT Season 8 rucksack, showing that he also takes pride in the stuff he shoves down his gullet also.
“I think one of the biggest skills that a very good poker player has is the ability to adapt to different situations. I am sure some players have very different impressions of the way I play. Some will think I am tight, whilst others will think I am some sort of aggressive retard.” He responds to my question about his style of play.
We are in the Amazon Room and there’s a mellow vibe that’s accompanied by the cricket sounding chip riffling. I’m not the only person waiting for an interview. The German media guys are also hanging around him, desperate for a few minutes of chatter in between chipping up and dashing to the loo for a quick pee break.
“You develop continually through your poker career. I started playing ABC poker, really tight and it worked out well, as it was a winning strategy. Then I became way looser than I am right now. But these days I have found my balance. It’s good to have all of these styles in your repertoire; so you can take them out of the draw and use them when you need to.”
The action folds to Reinkemeier in the hijack seat and he opens for 1.3k, the small blind calls and they share a flop of [Kd] [8h] [4s]. The small blind has already checked in the dark and Reinkemeier bets 1.6k. His opponent immediately clicks it back to 3.2k and the right eyebrow turns into an arc above the pretty boy face of the German. He has the look of a kid being scolded by his teacher. He’s riffling four green chips in his right hand, and his left conceals his hole cards. After a few minutes he murmurs something of a bet size to the dealer and raises it up by pushing 2 x 5k chips into the pot – his opponent folds.
Kristijonas Andrulis walks over to the table and the pair enter into a bit of banter, but the conversation is cut short as Reinkemeier finds another hand. He flicks in a 1.3k bet from early position and both blinds call. The flop is [Td] [5h] [5s] and all three players check. Fourth Street brings the [Kc] out to play and it’s the big blind that fancies it. He makes a 2k bet and only Reinkemeier makes the call. The final card is the [6s], and the big blind bets 4,075. The German’s brain is whirring away. Computing a scenario he has seen thousands of times before. He raises to 12.5k, his opponent immediately calls and shows [7d] [5d] for the big blind special; Reinkemeier knew he was beaten the instant he was called. He shows his pocket aces and we head into the heat of the break.
The German media is interviewing him and I patiently wait for my turn. Reinkemeier can’t see him but Marko Neumann is making masturbation signs behind the camera. Big signs as well. I make a mental note to choose the stall next time Neumann is at a urinal next to me.
When my time comes I ask Reinkemeier if he feels the pressure now he is playing for so much money in the biggest High Roller tournaments the world has to offer?
“I don’t actually, instead I prefer playing in those types of fields. It’s more enjoyable, and more realistic, to make a deep run. I like the tough competition as well as it takes the poker game to a new level. A standard High Roller is over in three days, but I could play sevens days in the WSOP Main Event and only cash for a small amount. So I sometimes find it difficult to get motivated for the smaller events, but this is the Main Event. I would never miss this.”
The Big One for One Drop contestant, Talal Shakerchi, once told me that the million-dollar entry fee didn’t faze him, but a lot of the professional poker players would be fazed. This was in response to the professional’s view that they held such a big edge over the businessman.
“It’s true to a certain degree, although I think that most of the very good pros don’t think of the money that much. I just think in terms of big blinds. I have paid the money and it’s not an issue until its relevant at some point. In theory at a really big table it probably affects some people, even myself. If it’s the One Drop final table and its $18m for first, and I have a huge part of my action…Wow…I have never been in that spot before.”
Something tells me that one day he will.