The Polish pro was just another poker player less than a year ago. Then he reached the final table of the EPT PCA, dominated the final table in impressive fashion and three weeks later went on to win the High Roller Event of the EPT Deauville 2014.
Thanks to his numerous accomplishments in poker Panka was nominated by PokerListings for the “Rising Stars” category of the PL Spirit of Poker Awards.
Panka is currently in the thick of EPT100 in Barcelona with 50 players left and PokerListings tracked him down for a quick chat.
PL: Dominik, have you heard about your nomination for the PokerListings awards?
DP: Yes I heard about it. It is an online competition. People just click with their mouse. I’d rather have such an award given by a jury [Note: The final three actually is decided by a jury]. Nevertheless it makes me a little bit proud.
PL: Will we see you in Malta this November playing the Battle of Malta?
DP: If I win this award, how can I miss it? I heard Malta is a beautiful island, even in November. And the BOM seems to be an entertaining tournament. I don’t actually play too many tournaments with this buy in but I will definitely take part if I win this award.
PL: You seem to still live in Poland?
Dominik Panka winning the 2014 PCA
DP: Yes. I live in Warsaw.
PL: You never thought about a move to another country to save taxes for example?
DP: I don’t have plans like this. I was quite happy with my life before the big win and I don’t want to change too much because I won.
PL: Would you describe yourself as a full time player?
DP: I do nothing else professionally. But I am far from playing poker constantly. I do a lot of other things that I enjoy.
PL: What are your plans for the upcoming month?
DP: I am going to play every EPT stop.
PL: You were completely unknown not even a year ago and now you can afford playing a whole series of big events?
DP: This just happens sometimes in the poker world. I was one of 500 guys who qualified online and one of them proved to be the chosen one.
I was really lucky and it still feels like a fairy tale for me. I used the one-time chance that I got. I am 23 now and there are better players than me that have waited years for the kind of success I had within a couple of weeks.
PL: You only needed two cashes to get to the top of the Polish all-time money list. Are you a celebrity now?
DP: No. There was a short hype about my win in the Bahamas. It lasted two or three weeks and they invited me to two or three small TV shows. But it didn’t take very long before I was back in anonymity.
PL: And what about the money? You are a millionaire now.
DP: I don’t really care about the money that much. And I’m not spending too much either. I liked my life before and I just improved it a little bit. That’s all.
PL: What is your future in poker?
DP: I commented on the EPT livestream, and I really liked it. So I imagine I could do that more often, when I stop winning and I am forced to retire from playing (laughs).