German Pius Heinz Wins the World Series of Poker and $8.7 Million

WSOP 2011 Main Event Champion Pius Heinz

A 22-year-old student and professional poker player made history early this morning by becoming the first German resident to win the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio.

Pius Heinz from Cologne became just the second German ever to make a Main Event final table. His unprecedented first-place finish earned him the World Series of Poker gold bracelet and $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.

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