Nicolas “nicoboko” Bokowski is like a lot of players on PokerStars. Typically he plays tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $11 to $109. The German player enjoys mixed games, which most PokerStars players know are featured in abundance on the site.
During the just-completed Spring Championship of Online Poker, Bokowski also did like a lot of other players and tried to satellite into some bigger buy-in events. He did just that to win a seat in Event #76-H, a $1,050 H.O.R.S.E. event.
“It was a tough task,” says Bokowski. “I knew every opponent on my table, and that they were the best mixed-game players in the world.”
“Nonetheless, I felt quite confident,” he adds. “I just enjoyed this opportunity.”
He didn’t just enjoy it — he made the most of it. After nine-and-a-half hours of hold’em, Omaha, razz, and seven-card stud high and hi-lo, Bokowski had outlasted a 113-entry field to win all the chips, a $27,685 first prize, and a SCOOP title.
Despite such a formidable field, Bokowski found the tourney journey not too arduous, although not without some challenges, especially near the end.
“To be honest, I had very few tough hands or spots,” says Bokowski. “I just cruised through.”
Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Draws fill, opponents brick, and you keep collecting.
Once they’d gotten down to two tables and were in the money, Bokowski assumed the chip lead. He kept it almost the whole way from there, only losing it briefly at four-handed.
“All in all, I ran pretty well in this tournament.”
Getting good cards helped, but Bokowski played well, too, to earn the victory.
“I would be lying if I said I had no doubts at all,” he says. “I was very focused but nervous as well.” Not having a ton of short-handed experience in mixed games didn’t help, either, and when he lost some chips at four-handed he had to exert some extra effort not to lose focus.
“Things started to go my way again. I almost won every pot abusing tough ICM spots for my opponents,” he says.
Among the tough competitors facing him at the end was Sergio “sergiobraga1” Braga, the Brazilian who took runner-up in the $1,500 Razz event at the 2019 WSOP. Braga went out in eighth, though, while another tough opponent Jonah “RaiseUpBlind” Silverstein went out in fourth.
But with two left there Bokowski still had to contend with Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, the talented player then vying for SCOOP Player of the Series.
“I went into heads-up with a 4-to-1 lead,” says Bokowski. “That was the point I started to realize, I can win the whole thing and become a SCOOP champion.”
It was a gratifying conclusion to the event. It was also a nice reward for a lot of hard work and study.
“I started playing poker with friends in my neighborhood when I was like 16 years old,” he says. “As soon as I became 18, I made an account on Pokerstars.” That was about eight years ago.
“I became part of Felix “xflixx” Schneiders‘ community and grinded my way during my studies after school.”
He kept studying — both in school and at the poker tables. He’d play SCOOP events most years, although this year was the first for him in a couple of years.
The title came shortly after his 26th birthday — “a nice present,” he says. These days he plays during his time off from a job in law enforcement in Cologne.
“Poker is a nice compensation for the stressful daily routine,” he says.
Despite earning this career highlight and biggest cash, Bokowski plans to continue playing and working as before.
“Just enjoying life,” he says. And making the most of opportunities when they come along, such as he did in Event #76-H.