A 22-year-old student and professional poker player made history early this morning by becoming the first German resident to win the largest, richest and most prestigious poker tournament on the globe – the World Series of Poker Main Event. Pius Heinz, of Cologne, became just the second German ever to make a Main Event final table.
His unprecedented first-place finish earned him the most coveted trophy in all of poker – the World Series of Poker gold bracelet – and (U.S.) $8,715,638.
Heinz bested a total Main Event field of 6,865 players from 85 different nations in ages ranging from 21 to 91 to capture the title. When play began Tuesday in Las Vegas, Heinz was a significant chip leader. Through the hours that followed, the lead changed hands multiple times, until Heinz sealed his victory about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. Heinz’s ace of spades and king of clubs held up against the runner-up Martin Staszko’s 10 of clubs and 7 of clubs.
Asked how his victory would be received in Germany, Heinz replied: “I can only imagine. I think it’s going to be huge when I get home.”
Staszko, who collected $5,433,086 for his second-place finish, also made history as the first player from the Czech Republic to make a final table. The 35-year-old poker pro resides in Trinec, near the border with Poland.
Both players outlasted Ben Lamb, a 26-year-old poker professional from Las Vegas and Tulsa, who was eliminated in third place. Lamb took home $4,021,138 as a consolation prize.
The dramatic conclusion to this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event was carried nearly-live – with a 15-minute delay – on ESPN.
This year’s WSOP Main Event final table featured players from seven different nations, the most geographically diverse in the tournament’s 42-year history. Each of the 6,865 players who participated in the Main Event paid $10,000 to enter, creating a massive $64,540,858 prize pool.
Tuesday night’s action with three players followed the tournament’s penultimate session on Sunday, when six of the final nine players were eliminated. The competitors broke out in the following order, collecting the following prize money:
9th place: Sam Holden, 22, of Sussex, Great Britain: $782,115
8th place: Anton Makiievskyi, 21, of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine: $1,010,015
7th place: Badih Bou-Nahra, 49, of Belize City, Belize: $1,314,097
6th place: Eoghan O’Dea, 26, of Dublin, Ireland: $1,720,831
5th place: Phil Collins, 26, of Las Vegas, Nevada: $2,269,599
4th place: Matt Giannetti, 26, of Las Vegas, Nevada: $3,012,700
As has become tradition in recent years, Main Event play was suspended in July when the tournament reached its final nine players. It resumed with the “November 9” taking to the felt Sunday with 34 minutes, 57 seconds remaining in Level 36, with antes 50,000 and blinds at 250,000 and 500,000.
The 2011 WSOP attracted a record 75,672 players from 105 different nations competing for a total prize pool of $192,008,868 over the 58-event, 50-day extravaganza.
About the World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world, having awarded more than $1.4 billion in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest-running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2011, the event attracted 75,672 entrants from 105 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and awarded more than $191 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent of the World Series of Poker Europe in 2007. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit www.wsop.com.