Dominik Nitsche on Flow, Joe Ingram and Twitch

TAGs: Dominik Nitsche, Twitch

Dominik Nitsche on Flow, Joe Ingram and Twitch Audio


Lee Davy talks to Dominik Nitsche about flow, the Joe Ingram podcast and his view on the new Twitch phenomenon.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist who has spent many years of his life studying happiness and creativity. He would have loved Dominik Nitsche; a young man who has happiness and creativity by the bucket.

Dominik Nitsche on Flow, Joe Ingram and TwitchCsikszentmihalyi believes people are happiest when they are in a state of flow. In his seminal work Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, the great man even suggests that people, who have boring, and mundane careers, can still find happiness by turning what they do into a game.

Poker is a game, but for people like Nitsche, it’s also a job. Poker is fun, but for people like Nitsche, it can also be boring and mundane. So what does Nitsche do in order to reach a state of flow?

I caught up with the young German superstar, at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event in Amsterdam, to ask him that very question.

“I was thinking about that during the last few levels. Nothing was going my way. I had a ton of chips and then lost most of them. At times like these you need remember that even if you are much better than everyone else (I am not saying that I am, I have some really good players at my table), if you are playing heads-up, for example, your edge is only going to be 60/40 at best. That means you have a 10% edge. If you think in terms of tournaments, you are playing against nine other players. This means that playing for a few levels means nothing, even playing for an entire 10-12 hour day is completely irrelevant.

“You always have to remember that, and focus on making the best decision each hand. For me, I think in terms of my strategy. Since the antes came in I have started to focus on the table more. When I start a tournament I have a set strategy, but then it changes as the game flows. This is determined by what I see happen at the table. I may see a player folding his big blind too much, or three-betting a lot, and then I can adjust my strategy and play accordingly. That’s how I maintain a state of flow.”

You are talking about turning the periphery of the game into a game. That’s one of my weaknesses; I switch off when I am not involved in a hand. Does that happen to you?

“I’ll be honest, I do that too sometimes. It’s difficult to focus all of the time. Sometimes I don’t pay attention. I’m only human. But I do wish that I was paying more attention.”

I noticed you were watching a Sam Grafton interview on YouTube. What poker media interests you the most?

“I was watching an interview between Sam Grafton and Joe Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast. I like Sam and it was interesting to listen about his life in Prague. I enjoy podcasts. I think what Joe Ingram does for the game is very good. He creates material for professional poker players.

“I hate watching, and reading about strategy. I do like reading the live updates, but only when they are funny. I liked the hand you wrote on me and Kent {Lundmark}. You made it funny; interesting to read, whereas you could have made is so mundane and boring. I also loved the Top 10 Beards in Poker, but only because I made number eight.”

Number eight?

“Come on…nobody is ever going to beat Fabian Quoss.”

Are we ever going to see a Dominik Nitsche Twitch channel?

“I might do something in the future…if some company contributes to it…who knows?”

What’s your view on the current crop of poker Twitchers?

“The ones I have watched are mainly giving out free bad advice, which is good…I love it. Advice like: “I am going to 3B him because I 3B him before.” I don’t want to drop any names, because I have a really low opinion on the information they are giving out. For their sake I hope they are leveling, because if that’s what they really think, then I am playing a totally different game.

“There’s a whole strength in poker about being balanced with ranges, and playing ranges before you play the player. A lot of the stuff I see is people trying to get into people’s heads. They are saying things like: “He raised two times in a row, now that means he’s light”. Now that’s one point of view. Another, is he picked up ace-queen twice in a row.

“It’s difficult to make reads like that unless you have seen them showing down hands. If you see someone call your raise, from mid position, when you open from mid position, and they have jack-seven suited, you can assume they are calling with a wide range. If they call with AK you can assume their 3B range is tighter. Without showdown hands it’s really hard to gather any information.”

Twitch featuring Dominik Nitsche. Now that would be something worth watching, if only for the value of the beard.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of