POKERSTARS PRO PIUS HEINZ CROWNED WORLD CHAMPION IN LAS VEGAS, WINS $8.7 MILLION FIRST PRIZE
Team PokerStars Pro Pius Heinz was crowned 2011 World Series of Poker* champion following an epic see-saw heads-up battle that displayed the ingenuity, intelligence and guts it takes to become a champion. Heinz is the fourth consecutive PokerStars Team Pro World Champion and is the first ever German player to make the final table of the WSOP Main Event. He will bring home $8,715,638 after eliminating Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic in the final hand of the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship.
"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."
Heinz's win continues an extraordinary run of four consecutive Team PokerStars Pro WSOP Main Event winners dating back to 2008. It all began with PokerStars qualifier Chris Moneymaker in 2003 and PokerStars Pros have since then taken home six of the eight titles, including Greg Raymer (2004), Joe Hachem (2005), Peter Eastgate (2008), Joe Cada (2009), Jonathan Duhamel (2010), and now Heinz.
Play came to a dramatic close in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, as 22-year-old Heinz, who has been playing online poker for four years, called with A-K, which was way ahead of Staszko's all-in pre-flop push with T-7. The board ran out 5-2-9-J-4 to hand the World Series title and prestigious WSOP gold bracelet to the German.
Final 3 - Heinz had gone into the final three-handed session on Tuesday night as the big stack, but Staszko eliminated American player Ben Lamb after just four hands to become chip leader. Then, in a topsy-turvy final heads-up, which lasted 119 hands and more than six hours, the chip lead yo-yoed between the players until a crucial hand saw Heinz take a 4-to-1 lead.
On a flop of Tc-7c-Ks Heinz bet 8.2 million, Staszko raised to 17.5 million, and Heinz moved all-in. Staszko called with Qc-9c for a flush draw, but Heinz had the marginally better hand of Ah-Qh and had to dodge 12 outs. He did so as the turn and river brought the 3h and 6s. That sent Heinz into a huge chip lead, which the PokerStars Pro never looked like relinquishing, finishing the match off less than half an hour later.
W.S.O.P Statisticks - 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.
The Main Event final table initially resumed on Sunday, November 6, with the 'November Nine' who had come through the nearly 7,000-strong field, returning to Vegas to battle for the World Championship. The first six players were eliminated on Sunday, with the three remaining players – Lamb, Staszko and Heinz – taking a day's break in play, before continuing their match at the Rio Casino last night at 18.00 PST to play out the final stages. The entire final table was broadcast nearly live (15-minute delay) on ESPN in North America, and on the internet for viewers around the world.
Previous cashes - Heinz had already enjoyed a seventh-place finish in a WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event back in June, which earned him for $83,286, before his success in the Main Event. In between July and November he continued his hot streak with a first place in a €1,000 Turbo Bounty event at EPT Barcelona in August for €17,450.