Heinz scoops $8.7m in WSOP Main Event
GERMAN Pius Heinz scooped the World Series Of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and $8,715,638 in prize money after six hours of heads-up play.
Heinz, a 22-year-old student from Cologne, denied runner up Martin Staszko after one of the longest duels in Main Event history in which time the lead changed hands nine times.
"It's got to be the happiest day of my life. I can't believe what happened - it's unreal," said Heinz just moments after his victory. "I just tried to focus and not make mistakes."
Runner up Staszko, a 35-year-old poker pro from the Czech Republic, earns a consolation prize of $5,433,086. The third-place finisher was Ben Lamb, from Tulsa, OK. He collects his biggest poker payout ever, $4,021,138.
The ninth-place finisher was Sam Holden. The professional from Sussex became the first player to exit from the WSOP Main Event Championship final table.
The $8.7 million first prize was the fourth biggest amount ever won in a poker tournament, and the field of 6,865 players was the third largest in WSOP history. The total prize pool for the event was $64,531,000.
Heinz, who was making his debut at the WSOP, now has one win, two final table appearances and two cashes to his name. He got in the money earlier in the series when finishing seventh in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament (Event #48), which paid $83,286.
This is only the second time in history that a player from mainland Europe has won poker's world title. The only previous mainland European winner was Dane Peter Eastgate (2008). However, players from Great Britain (Mansour Matloubi - 1990) and Ireland (Noel Furlong - 1999) have also won.
Heinz is classified as a professional poker player since he has been playing full time for about four years. He continues the trend of young players enjoying major success in the Main Event. With Heinz's win, the last four world champions were aged 23, 21, 21, and 22 respectfully at the time of their victories.
When final table play began, the players and chip counts were:
Seat 1: Matt Giannetti (Las Vegas, NV) - 24,750,000 chips
Seat 2: Badih Bou-Nahra (Belize City, Belize) - 19,700,000 chips
Seat 3: Eoghan O'Dea (Dublin, Ireland) - 33,925,000 chips
Seat 4: Phil Collins (Las Vegas, NV) - 23,875,000 chips
Seat 5: Anton Makiievskyi (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) - 13,825,000 chips
Seat 6: Sam Holden (Sussex, UK) - 12,375,000 in chips
Seat 7: Pius Heinz (Cologne, Germany) - 16,425,000 in chips
Seat 8: Ben Lamb (Tulsa, OK) - 20,875,000 in chips
Seat 9: Martin Staszko (Trinec, Czech Republic) - 40,175,000 in chips
This was the fourth year of the "November Nine" concept. Prior to 2008, all Main Event final tables were played as a continuum tied to the bulk of the Main Event. Starting in 2008, WSOP officials decided to delay the play of the final table and postpone the conclusion until November. The 108-day hiatus allowed players to gather and bring their supporters to Las Vegas.