– General Introduction –
Rainer Kempe is a German professional poker player. He was born on July 24th, 1989 in Berlin, Germany.
He’s a high roller tournament player, playing in the biggest buy-in events around the world. He has an impressive $21.5 million in live tournament cashes, which puts him in the top 5 on the German all time money list; and in the top 50 in the worldwide all time money list. His live tournament resume can also boast 2 European Poker Tour titles so far.
He is part of the German “golden generation” in poker, along with players like Fedor Holz, Stefan Schillhabel, Steffen Sontheimer, Christoph Vogelsang, or Manig Loeser. Kempe has close personal and professional relationships with many of them.
He is the boyfriend of the famous Taiwanese-born American poker player and poker commentator Maria Ho.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2011: He starts playing live tournaments in his home country of Germany.
- 2015: He wins the €25,500 No Limit Hold’em High Roller at EPT Prague for €539,000.
- 2016: He wins the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria for $5 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
- 2017: He makes it to the final table in the $111,111 WSOP High Roller for One Drop event, finishing 7th for $493,089.
– Rainer Kempe’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Kempe started playing poker casually while he was studying business administration at the University of Potsdam.
The young Rainer was not dreaming of monstrous scores back then. As he put it in an interview for pokerlisting.com in 2016, “back then I was happy to finish the night with five or ten euros”.
After finishing school in Germany, he moved to the United Kingdom. That is where he decided to make poker not just a hobby, but a significant source of income for himself. So, he started grinding tournaments online.
By 2015, he was able to buy in to the highest stakes events both live and online. He also utilized the German poker staking market, which he described as being better than any other countries’, with plenty of opportunities to buy or sell action.
Kempe still remains a resident of the UK, by the way, living in Brighton, England.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Kempe has $21.573 million in live tournament cashes, according to his Hendon page. He accumulated that amount by cashing in 152 different live events over the course of 10 years. That puts him in the top 5 on the German all time money list; and in the top 30 on the worldwide all time money list.
The first recorded cash on his profile is from December 2011. He came in 10th in the €330 No Limit Hold’em tourney at the Triple A Series in Berlin for €1,572. In January 2015, he made a runner-up finish in the A$1,150 NLHE Accumulator event at the Aussie Millions for A$93,000 ($76,134).
The first time he made a live score for over $100K was later that year, in August 2015. He made it to the final table and eventually busted in 5th place in the €5,300 European Poker Tour Main Event in Barcelona. He won €320,400, which equaled around $364,716 at the time. Just a month later, in October 2015, he finished 5th in a €5,300 EPT Main Event again, this time in Portomaso, Malta for €161,340.
His first major tournament victories soon followed. He took down the €25,250 High Roller 8-Handed event at EPT Prague for €539,000 in December 2015. In May 2016, he won the $300,000 Aria Super High Roller Bowl, beating fellow German poker super star Fedor Holz heads-up for the title. Kempe pocketed no less than $5 million for that showing, which is his biggest single live tournament score to date.
He also won a $50K Aria High Roller in March 2017 for an additional $576,000. He claimed his second EPT title in the €25,000 NLHE event at the 2019 EPT Monte Carlo, winning €400,850 that time around. On top of all that, he also has an Aussie Millions title from the A$25,000 No Limit Hold’em Challenge in January 2019, which got him A$831,465 ($590,814).
In March 2018, he came in 3rd in the HK$2,100,000 NLHE Super High Roller Bowl Macau for HK$16 million ($2.040 million). In January 2019, he finished first in the $50,000 No Limit hold’em event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas for $908,100.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Reiner Kempe is yet to win his first WSOP gold bracelet.
However, he did manage to bag some major WSOP cashes. His biggest World Series score so far is $493,089, which he got for finishing 7th in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop event in 2017. A year earlier, in 2016, he came in 24th in the very same event for $187,576. In 2015, he finished 7th in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop NLHE event for $90,189.
Overall, Kempe has cashed in 48 World Series events for a total of $1.296 million combined.
→ Live Cash Games ←
Kempe has exclusively focused on tournaments during his career, both live and online. Therefore, he hasn’t appeared on any TV shows or live streams where he played live cash in front of an audience.
→ Online Poker ←.
As we wrote earlier, Kempe started his poker career by grinding online tournaments right after he moved to England.
However, we do not know what site he started on. The only accounts of his known to the public are the one on Natural8-GGNetwork and the one on WSOP.com, The GG account has his real name “Rainer Kempe” as his screen name.
On those accounts, he amassed a few big scores.
In January 2022, he finished 2nd in the WSOP Circuit Online Series: $250 Sunday Monster Stack event for $19,162 on GG. He also made it into the money in the $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event, coming in 489th place out of 5,802 runners for $14,634 in August 2020 on the same site. In November 2021, he took 6th place in the $7,777 NLHE – Lucky 7’s High Roller WSOP Online event for $68,208 on WSOP.com
In June 2019, Kempe was signed to become the first ambassador for GreySnowPoker. GreySnowPoker was a poker, sports betting, and ESports themed website that shut down in 2020.
He and a number of German poker pros, namely Fedor Holz, Stefan Schillhabel, Steffen Sontheimer, and Manig Loeser are part of the so-called “No Limit Gaming group”. It is a collective of poker players, and players of the video games League of Legends and Counter-Strike.
Here’s how Kempe described the No Limit Gaming Group in an exclusive interview with our website:
“It’s kind of a tough stretch from the gaming world to the poker, so I’m not really sure how to explain it. Because, for one part, the gaming side, some of the public we want to address is under 18, and on the other hand, you don’t want to get them towards gambling. But people like Steffan and Fedor also think that a lot of the work done in poker is really helpful for gaming, building good teams, and being more effective. So it’s a lot about professionalism to that extent. The Counterstrike team is doing very well this season, and there will be a League of Legends team coming very soon. A few cool things are coming too.”