In front of a packed Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada, 22 year-old poker professional Pius Heinz took home $8.7 million and the most coveted title of the tournament year, after a back-and-forth duel with runner-up Martin Staszko.
Heinz, from Cologne, Germany, outlasted more than 6,000 players in July, six on Sunday, and two on Tuesday to capture the $10,000 no-limit hold’em championship.
Staszko outdid his No. 51,652 world ranking in the game of chess by finishing second in poker’s most prestigious event.
Ben Lamb entered three-handed play second in chips, but was the third-place finisher in just four hands.
He lost most of his stack on the first hand on Tuesday, after he shoved with K-J over Staszko’s three-bet with pocket sevens. The board bricked out for Lamb, and Staszko took his stack to more than 85 million. Lamb was left with just under 13 million.
Lamb got the remainder of his chips in the pot three hands later, shoving with Q-6 from the small blind. Staszko, in the big blind, finished him off with pocket jacks after the board once again ran out dry for the American.
Despite winning more than $4 million, Lamb was visibly disappointed with the end to his 10-day run in the event.
Staszko held the chip lead going into heads-up play, but it didn’t take long before Heinz regained control. The German chipped away at his opponent, winning eight of the first 12 hands.
Heinz applied the pressure, raising a high percentage of his buttons, but Staszko ran some well-timed bluffs and held off the Blitzkrieg.
Staszko had his opponent out chipped 2-1 more than once, but Heinz found a way to apply a tourniquet to his chip stack.
Well after 100 hands of heads-up action, the lead changing finally came to a end when Heinz shoved with the A Q on a K 10 7 board, after Staszko raised him. Staszko called with the Q 9.
The tun was the 3, and the river a 6, giving Heinz the massive double up to 161.5 million. Staszko was down to 44.4 million, about what he started the final table with.
Heinz would finish off his opponent a few hands later.
The last hand began with Staszko moving all in from the button with the 10 7 and running into the A K of Heinz.
The board ran out 9 5 2 J 4, and an explosion of confetti engulfed the room. Heinz ran over to his cheering section, and the celebration ensued.
Here are the final table results:
1. Pius Heinz — $8,711,956
2. Martin Staszko — $5,430,928
3. Ben Lamb — $4,019,635
4. Matt Giannetti — $3,012,700
5. Phil Collins — $2,269,599
6. Eoghan O’Dea — $1,720,831
7. Badih Bounahra — $1,314,097
8. Anton Makiievskyi — $1,010,015
9. Sam Holden — $782,115
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It only took one hand for the action to begin. Ben Lamb opened for a raise only to get three-bet by Martin Staszko. Lamb responded with a shove and Staszko only deliberated for a few seconds before calling off his stack with pocket sevens.
Lamb had two overcards with K-J, but failed to hit the board, leaving him crippled with just over 10 big blinds.
Two hands later, Lamb moved all in and was immediately called by Staszko, who had picked up pocket jacks, his third pocket pair in as many hands. Lamb’s Q-6 had an overcard, but it failed to hit.
For his efforts as the WSOP Player of the Year, Lamb picked up $4,019,635. As a result of his finish, he moves into sole possession of the Card Player Player of the Year lead as well.
Entering heads-up play, Staszko now has a lead of 117.3 million to Pius Heinz’s 88.6 million.
Be sure to follow all of the main event action on Card Player’s official twitter page.
Just three players remain out of a field of 6,865 in the 2011 World Series of Poker main event. Poker professionals Pius Heinz, Ben Lamb and Martin Staszko survived to fight it out for poker’s most prestigious title on Tuesday.
Heinz sits as the chip leader with 107.8 million, after six eliminations on day nine of the event.
It took about three hours for the final table to find its first casualty, and although there was a lot of fluctuation among the stack sizes, it was the initial short stack, Sam Holden, who busted first.
Holden was all in several times, before an increase in the blinds forced him to commit with the A J.
Lamb woke up with a dominating A K, and it was the winner on the river, without much drama, to send Holden back overseas with no additional cash.
Anton Makiievskyi seemed content to just grind his way up the pay ladder, playing few hands before he found his short stack in the middle in a blind-versus-blind confrontation.
It was a coin flip when the 21-year-old Ukrainian, who was looking to become the younger champion in the history of the event, exposed the K Q. The 9 9 of Heinz were slightly ahead.
The flop came down K J J, pulling Makiievskyi into the lead, but the stunning 9 on the turn left him drawing slim. The river was a brick, and he was eliminated in eighth place for just over $1 million.
With the pot, Heinz moved into the chip lead with more than 60 million, and he never relinquished his chip position.
Badih Bounahra was playing as if the whole country of Belize was on his back. The 49-year-old took his time and grinded down to a short stack, before finding himself all in with the A 5 against the superior A 9 of Staszko. The board offered no help to the amateur, and he was gone with $1,314,097 in his pocket.
The final table was then officially shorthanded, and the action started to become fierce.
Eoghan Oâ€™Dea was one of the favorites entering the main event final table, but a series of missteps against Heinz cost him more than half his stack.
His demise came when Lamb shoved over one of his preflop raises. After a few minutes in the tank, O’Dea made a huge call with the A 9. Lamb was drawing live with his Q 8.
The flop rolled out J J 6, giving Lamb a flush draw. The 4 on the turn wasn’t what Lamb was looking for, but when the 8 pealed off the deck and landed on the felt, the stage erupted.
A frenzy of Lamb’s contingent started a near mosh pit in the stands, congratulating Lamb when he ran over as if to go crowd surfing.
O’Dea’s father, Donnacha, put his head down in disappointment, as the hopes of his son winning the event he himself was never able to close out were nearly vanquished.
The energy in the room quickly dissipated when the remaining six players went on break immediately after the monumental hand.
The Irishman was crippled to just 2.6 million, while Lamb had climbed to nearly 30 million.
O’Dea hit the rail in sixth shortly after play resumed. His Q-6 failed to come from behind against Staszko’s pocket eights. O’Dea picked up $1,720,831 for his finish.
Despite outdrawing Lamb in a monster pot earlier to double up, Phil Collins soon found himself somewhat short with under 20 big blinds. He elected to shove with the A 7 and ran into Heinz, who held pocket nines once again.
The flop of 6 5 4 gave Collins some hope. The 9 improved Heinz to top set, but it also gave Collins a flush draw.
The river was a harmless 7, and a disappointed Collins left with $2,269,599 as consolation.
In what seemed consistent with a historical trend in the event, four-handed play saw someone pull away with a big chip lead. Heinz was sitting with nearly half of the chips in play.
However, Lamb and Giannetti didn’t let Heinz sit easy with a dominant stack, as both experienced professionals applied the pressure, taking millions of chips off the German. Lamb was on his left and frequently gave Heinz Phil Ivey-esque stare downs.
Heinz remained tough and recovered, hovering above 90 million throughout most of four-handed play, despite doubling up Staszko at one point.
Lamb held the short stack around 10:30 p.m. local time, when he shoved over the top of a Giannetti raise. Giannetti snap called with pocket jacks and was ahead against Lamb’s A 7.
About 55 million chips were in the pot. Giannetti would have just under 7 million if he were to lose.
The flop fell K 9 5, giving Lamb a flush draw and the over card. The crowd tensely stood when the 4 landed on the felt, giving Lamb the nuts and the hand. A meaningless 9 came before Giannetti, who couldn’t watch the hand play out, sank in his seat.
The very next hand, Giannetti was all in with Q-10 and found a call from Staszko’s Q-2. Giannetti’s hand held, and he doubled to about 15 million.
A few hands later he shoved on the button with A-3 and ran into the pocket kings of Lamb. The flop was K-K-Q, and Giannetti was drawing dead against his opponent’s quads.
With the hand, Lamb increased his stack to 55.4 million, but also secured the top spot, for the time being, in Card Player’s 2011 Player of the Year race. He is guaranteed at least 2,400 points in the event, but could scoop 3,600 if he wins.
Trailing Heinz and Lamb, the chess-playing Staszko sat with 42.7 million when the clock was paused for the evening.
Play ended just before 11 p.m. local time on Sunday and will resume at 6 p.m. PT on Tuesday, where the winner will walk away with $8.7 million and the bracelet.
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