Online Cash Legend Niklas Heinecker Tells All on the Golden Age of Poker

German cash game crusher Niklas Heinecker has been speaking out about his time at the pinnacle of the game.  The 35-year-old, better known by his online moniker ragen70, did an interview with Eike Wilken covering from how he got started to why he felt he wanted to quit.

By: Mark Patrickson

Rough Start

Heinecker began his career back in December 2005, admittedly as a complete fish. The first calendar year resulted in an €835 loss - not the superstar start you might have expected. What really made the difference though, was a love of consuming knowledge and after this first year he started to read every poker book he could lay his hands on.

Soon after, a move to PokerStars was the next step and a 25/50 heads-up match against Randy “Nanonoko” Lew resulted in a win of about $200,000. He had finally arrived!

Up Against the True Elite

Asked about who were his toughest opponents Heinecker gave a list of names that most in the poker community will have heard of for their prowess over the virtual felt. Doug Polk was a man who he felt he had underestimated at the start but soon gave him all due respect. Alex “Kanu7” Millar left such an impression that Heinecker even felt he was a tougher rival than Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky. Ben Tollerene was another great rival who he felt he ran well against, and maybe he didn’t respect him enough at the time.

After cementing his place amongst the best heads-up players in the world Niklas Heinecker won more than $10 million in 2013, placing him at the top of the online money winners table. It sounds great, but already he was making an exit plan from poker to move onto the next chapter in his life.

Moving On

As well as all the success at the cash tables, Heinecker also dipped his toes into the world of live tournaments. Riding the crest of a wave in 2013 he took down the HK$ 1,000,000 No Limit Hold'em - Main Event at the Asia Millions for US$4.5 million. It wasn’t enough though and by 2015 we had seen the last of one of the best players to ever play the game.


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