By Lisa Yiasemides
In January 2018, WPTDeepStacks Berlin became the largest event in the tour’s history outside of North America. Last year’s event was also a triumph, smashing the €500,000 guarantee with 645 players coming together to put €688,215 into the prize pool.
WPT.com looks at why Germany is such a hotbed for poker action and poker talent, opening up the WPT record books to reminisce over past successes in one of the world’s most prestigious poker tours.
Looking back over past seasons and you don’t have to travel far to come across one of the most notable German victories in WPT history.
Less than two years ago, Ole Schemion (pictured) took down the Season XVI WPT European Championship. In the first-ever WPT Main Tour event held on German soil, it was poetic that Berlin-native Schemion was the one to go the distance.
The German, who has amassed over $16 million in recorded live tournament earnings, netted €218,435 for the result, securing his first WPT title in the process.
The 25-year-old wasn’t done there though, doubling up on his win by taking down the $15,000 Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions at the end of the season. Schemion added another $440,395 to his results and, in a tournament littered with poker heavyweights (entry was only open to WPT champions of that season and seasons of yesteryear), he earned himself some serious bragging rights in the process.
Dominik Nitsche, Stefan Schillhabel and Dietrich Fast are a few of the other German poker titans who have also won big in WPT events; the latter two in particular – both of whom walked away with seven-figure sums.
Stefan Schillhabel topped the $7,500 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Championship for an enormous $1,298,000 back in March 2016. Not only that, it was the first major title for the German who had been making waves on the scene for several years prior to that.
Just days earlier, also in March 2016, it was countryman Dietrich Fast (pictured) at the centre of poker news, after winning the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for a cool $1,000,800. It was career-best result at the time, and Fast’s first WPT trophy.
However, it is not only the player talent – which WPT undoubtedly attracts across its global tour – that has contributed to the success of the previous WPT Berlin stops, nor the generous paydays that are expected at WPT events (though these certainly contribute). Casino Spielbank Berlin itself is also capable of drawing a crowd.
According to Wikipedia it is the “top-selling” German casino, and given the prime location on Potsdamer Platz, its popularity is hardly surprising. With the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag less than 1km away, plus a venerable array of places to eat and drink, the area is never short of visitors.
Plus Germany’s central European location makes it accessible to many on the continent.
Not only that, but Casino Spielbank Berlin hosts Germany’s biggest poker program. The casino’s experience at offering high-quality poker tournaments make it the perfect home for WPT Berlin and add to the many reasons why poker fans, both serious and recreational, want to pull up a seat and play there.
With guaranteed poker action and excitement across the WPTDeepStacks Berlin festival, please see below for a few of the highlights when it kicks off in January.
WPTDeepstacks Berlin Festival
January 7- 13, 2020
WPTDeepStacks Berlin Opener €50,000 Guaranteed
Dates: January 8-9, 2020
Buy-in: €360 + €40 = €400
WPTDeepStacks Berlin Main Event €500,000 Guaranteed
Dates: January 10-13, 2020
Buy-in: €1,100 + €100 = €1,200
WPTDeepStacks High Roller €100,000 Guaranteed
Dates: January 12-13, 2020
Buy-in: €2,000 + €200 = €2,200
Date: January 11, 2020
Buy-in: €90 + €9 = €99