The U.S. Poker Open is just two weeks away, and right here on Poker Central, we are counting down to one of the most exciting high roller series of the year by talking to your favorite players and the biggest Championship contenders. Starting with one of the hottest players only 30 days into 2019, we caught up with Rainer Kempe who’s currently battling it out at the Aussie Millions.
“I’m traditionally on the side of not believing in momentum or streaks in poker, but sometimes it’s hard not to,” Kempe said as he ripped off three outright wins in the first 25 days of the year.
“I believe that poker is about being consistent and getting yourself into good spots and then you’ll win some tournaments eventually.”
The 29-year old German pro has done just that winning the $50,000 High Roller in the Bahamas for $908,100 followed by winning the $10,0000 Turbo Knock Out event for $117,280 and just last week the $25,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions for $587,261.
In 2018, Kempe started out similarly, leading the Player of the Year race heading into April after grabbing a win at the PCA followed by three big scores in Macau for a total of $2.5 million and a second place in the partypoker €25,000 Barcelona event.
Currently ranked second on the 2019 Player of the Year race, Kempe points out a distinct difference with last year’s strong start.
“The difference with 2018 is that I had a lot of qualifying scores to get a lot of points. It looked promising but to actually win POY those don’t really matter that much. You need outstanding results throughout the year and that’s why this year is already more exciting from that perspective with these results.”
Despite it only being January, Kempe believes he has a much better chance of competing for one of the game’s most prestigious honors. A player’s best 13 results make up their Player of the Year points total, and Kempe’s eager to grind to the last day.
“There’s no need to get overly attached to a goal that I have very limited control over, but If push comes to shove I’ll be happy to play both Five Diamond and EPT Prague in December!”
So far, Kempe’s most exciting to have won the Aussie Millions high roller in which he beat Chino Rheem and Toby Lewis for the championship ring. This event, with its slow structure and deep stacks, had extra meaning since Kempe did one better than his first big shot at a win during the 2015 Aussie Millions when he finished second in a $1,000 event.
“That ring was pretty much the first trophy I got close to in my career as a professional and it’s nice to get that one now, four years later.”
Looking ahead at what’s to come, Kempe is excited for the prospects of competing in the PokerGO Studio for 10 straight days of U.S. Poker Open action and the added $100,000 for the overall championship winner.
“It’s incredibly hard to say no to a rake free high roller series that generates two straight weeks of great action along with the added bonus of $100,000 for the championship winner!”
Riding a confidence-high, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl winner will be one of the top contenders at the U.S. Poker Open, but he won’t undersell that running good is a big part of the equation to hoist the trophy on February 24th.
“There is a point to be made about confidence and people being intimidated when you’re on a heater like that but then again, especially when I think about my two wins at PCA this year, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I won those tourneys because I was the person who ran the best out of everybody who entered that day.”