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ICU Nurse Brek Schutten Wins $25,000 Buy-In World Series of Poker Bracelet Event

Brek Schutten Bested A 272-Entry Field To Earn $1,405,641 and His First WSOP Title

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Intensive care unit nurse Brek Schutten came within one spot of becoming a World Series of Poker bracelet winner in 2022, finishing second in the $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em eight max event. The 36-year-old healthcare worker and poker player from Grand Rapids, Michigan waited exactly two years before he found himself heads-up for a WSOP title again. This time around he came away with the hardware, coming out on top in the 2024 WSOP $25,000 no-limit hold’em six-max event to earn a career-best payday of $1,405,641 and his first bracelet.

“I got second to Jake Schindler and just had those regrets ever since," Schutten told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. "Certain hands go through your mind all the time and you never know if you’re going to get back to a high roller final table, let alone heads-up, let alone win the thing.”

This was the second seven-figure score for Schutten, who cashed for $1,261,095 as the champion of the 2021 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $3,500 buy-in main event. He now has more than $5.3 million in career earnings to his name despite not being a full-time poker professional.

Schutten overcame a field of 272 entries on his way to the title. The 1,512 Card Player Player of the Year points that came with the win were enough to catapult him into 120th place in the 2024 POY standings presented by Global Poker. He also secured 700 PokerGO Tour points, enough to surge into seventh place in that high-stakes-centric points race.

The top 41 finishers made the money in this event to earn a share of the $6,392,000 prize pool. Big names that ran deep included Chris Brewer (27th), Ben Tollerene (26th) Erik Seidel (24th), Andrew Lichtenberger (23rd), Alex Foxen (19th), Pieter Aerts (15th), Santhosh Suvarna (14th), Justin Saliba (13th), Stoyan Madanzhiev (10th), and Ognyan Dimov (7th).

Schutten took out Dimov to enter the official final table among the larger stacks. Bracelet winner Masashi Oya ($229,002) was the first to fall, with his K-J suited losing a race to the pocket nines of WPT champion Taylor von Kriegenbergh.

Brandon Wilson bowed out in fifth place ($315,771) after his K-Q ran into the pocket kings of Schutten. He was soon joined on the rail by von Kriegenbergh, who got all-in with Q-10 suited trailing the A-Q suited of Michael Rocco. Neither player connected with the board and von Kriegenbergh settled for $444,766 as the fourth-place finisher.

Tyler StafmanTyler Stafman doubled through Rocco during three-handed play to move into second place behind Schutten. The same two players clashed in the next key showdown, with Rocco jamming for nearly 17 big blinds out of the small blind with 7Spade Suit4Spade Suit. Stafman called from the big blind with ADiamond Suit7Club Suit and held through a QDiamond Suit8Diamond Suit6Spade Suit2Spade Suit10Diamond Suit runout. Rocco earned $639,620 as the third-place finisher, growing his career earnings to nearly $5.6 million.

Heads-up play began with Schutten holding roughly a 5:3 chip lead over Stafman. The tables were turned after Stafman won a preflop all-in confrontation with pocket jacks against A-10. Schutten was able to close the gap, though, and then won a big pot with a flopped flush against Stafman, who was drawing dead when the money went in on the turn despite having top pair with flush and straight draws.

Stafman managed a couple of double-ups after losing that key hand, but was soon allp-in again with ADiamond Suit9Heart Suit trailing the AHeart SuitQDiamond Suit of Schutten. The board ran out JHeart Suit6Heart Suit5Club Suit3Heart Suit2Spade Suit and Schutten’s superior side card earned him the pot and the title. Stafman was awarded $938,775 as the runner-up, by far the largest live tournament score of his career. Prior to this deep run, his best cash was the $67,700 he earned as the 158th-place finisher in the 2023 WSOP main event.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Brek Schutten $1,405,641 1512 700
2 Tyler Stafman $938,775 1260 563
3 Michael Rocco $639,620 1008 384
4 Taylor von Kriegenbergh $444,766 756 267
5 Brandon Wilson $315,771 630 189
6 Masashi Oya $229,002 504 137

Visit the Card Player 2024 World Series of Poker page for schedules, news, interviews, and the latest event results. WSOP coverage sponsored by Global Poker.

Photo credit: PokerGO / Miguel Cortes.