Pius Heinz Becomes the First German to Win WSOP

November 9, 2011

And the winner is….. Pius Heinz. The 22-year-old German poker pro took home the gold late last night at the 2011 World Series of Poker Championship Main Event –the first German to ever win the title. The two-day final table session began on Sunday at the Rio in Las Vegas in the Penn and Teller Theater.

The grand prize was $8,715,638, which is the third biggest payout ever in WSOP history. He also won the most coveted piece of jewelry in poker—the gold and diamond bracelet that symbolizes his triumph. And a triumph it was. He overcame the third biggest live tournament field with a player field 6,865 poker players deep representing 85 countries around the world. And once he made it to the November Nine table, he was started up the last and most important leg of the competition with only 16,425,000 chips, the seventh highest chip stack at the table.

After the first eight hours of play, Heinz had come up to chip leader, and there were only three players left—Heinz, Martin Staszko, and Ben Lamb. When play resumed Tuesday evening, it didn’t take long for Lamb¸ the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year and favored by many to win the WSOP Main Event Championship, to get knocked out of the competition all together. He didn’t walk away empty handed though. He was paid $4+ million for his efforts finishing in third place. And he also won a bracelet over the summer, had five top 12 finished, and was runner up in another event. He had only entered about 12 events, so his results are pretty impressive even without a Main Event win.

And then there were two. Czech Republic’s Staszko went heads up with Heinz for more than six hours, almost as long as the 1983 finale 28 years ago that set the record for the longest final two in history when Tom McEvoy took the title from Rod Peate. Over the course of the heads up action between Staszko and Heinz, the two passed the chip lead back and forth, playing carefully not to give the other opponent anything to work with as the crowd cheerfully sang and cheered them on.

Finally Heinz’s Ace high beat Staszko and ended the tourney for the year. Staszko though in second place became the most successful Czeck poker player in terms of money when he earned more than $5.4 million, despite the fact that this grandmaster chess player had the least experience in live poker of all final niners. Apparently though, his chess experience came in handy.

This year the WSOP was viewed live in more countries than any other tournament before, as this was the first time the tournament was televised live (with a 15-minute delay), complete with hole cards. Online poker may be oppressed in the US right now, but throughout the rest of the world, poker is alive and thriving.


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