'I was going to quit poker and go to college': German pro, 22, wins cool $8.72m in World Series final
'It's the happiest day of my life,' says Pius Heinz after collecting winnings
9 November 2011
Show me the money: Pius Heinz celebrates claiming the $8.7 million after winning the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas
Glitzy: The final was played out at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
A German poker professional who was thinking of quitting the game to return to college has won an incredible $8.72 million in the World Series final. Pius Heinz, 22, beat Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic to take victory in the World Series of Poker.
It is believed that Heinz, who had a rough six-month run in poker before the series, was thinking about quitting the professional circuit. But thankfully for him he decided against such a move and won the game's biggest tournament - along with the huge amount of money.
The tournament used the Texas hold 'em format in which all players 'share' five 'community' cards and two cards of their own. Heinz held an ace and a king, while his opponent held a seven and a ten, with the community cards helping neither player. According to The Washington Post, Heinz said after his victory: 'Honestly I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the money.
'Probably my family is going to get a couple of gifts.'
He added: 'It’s got to be the happiest day of my life. I can’t believe what happened - it’s unreal.'
|Heinz can now look forward to spending his vast winning|
Celebrations begin: Pius Heinz is mobbed by his delighted supporters following his tense victory
Heinz led at the start with just over half the chips in play, but Staszko quickly took that lead away as the players began trading chips.There were eight lead changes over the first three hours of play, the eighth coming just after a break when Staszko responded to a 20 million chip bet from Heinz by announcing a re-raise. Heinz immediately folded. Staszko at one point had a 2-1 chip advantage, but that was gone within minutes. Staszko regained the lead before a break in play, and had about 60 per cent of all the chips in play after five hours, excluding breaks.
High stakes: The tension shows on Heinz's face as he competes for the cash
|So close: Czech Republic's Martin Staszko was the unlucky loser on the night|
|Tense: Pius Heinz, left, and the Czech Republic's Martin Staszko during their final match|
Each player must lose all his chips to be eliminated from the no-limit Texas Hold `em tournament, and win all the chips in play to take the crown. Heinz aggressively stormed from seventh in chips to first at the nine-hand final table on Sunday. He went from 16.4 million in chips to 107.8 million in just more than 7 1/2 hours of play, propelling him to a higher finish than at least six of his competitors. Las Vegas poker professional Ben Lamb collected a cool $4 million for finishing in third place. The 26-year-old was defeated by Staszko on Tuesday night.
Staszko congratulates Heinz on his World Poker Series win
It paid off: Heinz's friends join in the celebrations after his all-in gamble helped him to victory
'I got the sense he wasn't like super strong, but he actually was stronger than I thought he was,' Lamb said.
'Every poker player dreams of having the year I had, so I don't want to sit here and have people like cry for me," he said. "I'll be OK."