Rainer Kempe’s chase to become the next Poker Masters champion began with a 150 point effort in the opening $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Germany and the PokerGO Studio go together like a hot day in Las Vegas and Kempe nudged toward matching Steffen Sontheimer’s gold medal performance from 2017.
Pride to match Sontheimer’s accomplishment is on the mind of Kempe, who holds a friendly rivalry with ‘The Goose.’ Predetermined storylines of patriotism do not interest Kempe. Instead, he focuses on bettering himself to a level of his peak poker.
“I would say it’s more of a competition,” confirmed Kempe. “The whole holding up of the German flag is nothing I put on myself. I don’t really care about that too much.”
Kempe observed Sontheimer’s portrait is featured in the PokerGO Studio but the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl winner’s is not.
“Apparently, Poker Masters is valued higher,” Kempe said with his typical dry humor.
Kempe spends more time in the United States than most of his German comrades. He traveled to Oklahoma before Poker Masters and plays a heavier World Poker Tour schedule than any of them. The gang of Kempe, Sontheimer, combined with Koray Aldemir and Dominik Nitsche, among others, study together but Kempe will miss sessions due to the time zone difference.
“I don’t mind traveling as much as other people do and the lifestyle on the road, I’m pretty okay in it,” Kempe said. “I try to travel where the value is the best. A lot of the good poker tournament series are within the United States so you naturally end up here a lot.”
Kempe’s primary traveling partner is girlfriend and PokerGO on-camera talent Maria Ho.
“Our studies are done online most of the time so the only problem with them being in Europe and me being in the States is the time zone situation. You miss out on a few opportunities but, it’s also not like there’s no one here.”
The next step on Kempe’s list of ARIA accomplishments is another arch of the High Roller Triple Crown. Two years ago is eons in poker of hands and strategy developments. Kempe stays on top of every detail.
The sims he studies couldn’t prepare him for a sudden moment of realization today at the Event 1 final table. Winning Poker Masters is a test of stamina. 150 points are not nearly enough to start fitting the Purple Jacket.
“Even when I was just playing the final table of the $10K, I had that in my head. It’s weird because it is so far down the road and I don’t play the mixed events. It’s a thought in my head to potentially get the Triple Crown but I’m very aware the chances are super-slim.”
The $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event will not include Kempe. Skipping the event combined with an unsure level of his own play in the Short Deck leads to five realistic chances for the 29-year-old to gain Poker Masters points.
With one result already secured, Kempe has more opportunities to add to his 2018 Poker Masters point total. Success could mean a second High Roller Triple Crown title, the first of its kind and a new first for Germany.