The German reign in High Roller Triple Crown events ended when Justin Bonomo took down Super High Roller Bowl. Rainer Kempe and Christoph Vogelsang’s respective wins followed by Steffen Sontheimer donning the Purple Jacket certified the nation as kings of ARIA.

Young American Ali Imsiriovic is primed to win the 2018 Poker Masters and his closest competitors are all sons of Uncle Sam. No German players have stepped into the winner’s circle yet this week.

Koray Aldemir played the full Poker Masters schedule and took second to Imsirovic in the $50,000 event this week. Are the Americans catching up to Germany or is variance playing its usual role in determining short-term results? Both can be correct in the proper context.

“I would say that us Germans didn’t play that much lately and maybe the Americans studied a little bit more,” Aldemir middled. “Maybe it’s also just that we got very lucky last year and now they are a little more lucky now or it’s a mix of all those things.”

The perceived rivalry between the two poker cultures is all in good fun, according to Aldemir. On breaks, the German contingent of Kempe and Dominik Nitsche stick together but there’s no exclusion of peers who they see on the road for the full year.

“I’m friends with a lot of the Americans and we go have dinner together and so on,” Aldemir said. “But yeah, we do joke about it. Friendly rivalry is a good term.”

The notion of grouping players into flagged pods does not appeal to Aldemir, who prefers to look at all players based on their own merits. Aldemir himself is modest when comparing his game against fellow High Roller competitors.

“I think that’s always tough to put us into groups because, at the end of the day, we are individuals. I never felt I was ahead of the Americans. I thought, yes, we got luckier and there’s still a big factor of luck on both sides.”

Aldemir searches for his first High Roller Triple Crown win in the $100,000 Poker Masters Main Event. Battling from the opening of the series offers Aldemir a unique look at how opponents change their games in the limited run of a week. The 27-year-old sees a few changes from his opponents since the series began last Friday. David Peters, Justin Bonomo, and Matthias Eibinger are among those in attendance since Event 1.

“If you see someone play special exploits then maybe the next time, you’ll adjust a little bit,” Aldemir said. “Yeah, sure sometimes there’s such a dynamic but all-in-all, people are playing pretty similar so that doesn’t happen too often.”

Sontheimer closed out last year’s Poker Masters with a dominating win in the Main Event and Aldemir looks to follow in his footsteps. Germany and the United States may be on equal footing but there is always a way to remain a step ahead.

Tune in for live action of Day 2 of the $100,000 Poker Masters Main Event as Ali Imsirovic, Stephen Chidwick, Bryn Kenney, Rainer Kempe, and Cary Katz highlight the current feature table. 

PokerGO, Koray Aldemir, Poker Masters