November 9th, 2011
09:47 AM ET

German, 22, takes $8.72 million and poker's top prize

A 22-year-old from Germany became poker's newest champion early Wednesday, outlasting eight other finalists and coming away with $8.72 million in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Pius Heinz of Cologne is the first German to win the event. His winnings are the third-highest in the history of the event, which began in 1970. He had only $83,000 in earnings before his Main Event victory.

Heinz, who entered the finals ranked seventh in chips, survived a six-hour final duel with Czech Martin Staszko, who still came away with $5.43 million as the runner-up.

Heinz won with an ace-high final hand. After the final card was revealed to give him the win, Heinz hugged cheering family and fans at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas like a football star who had just scored a touchdown. The fans chanted his name and raised a German flag. Watch the final hand on

"It's gotta be the happiest day of my life, but I can't believe what happened. It's so unreal," Heinz said after he was presented with the gold and diamond winner's bracelet.

Also in the final nine at the Rio Hotel and Casino was American Ben Lamb, the World Series of Poker player of the year for 2011, but he fell out in third place, setting up the dramatic final face-off.

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Filed under: Las Vegas • Poker
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. drap he can upgrade to an AMG 63... .

    November 10, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. @drap

    Nobody holds a gun to your head to eat at McDonalds either. But thanks to massive advertising, most do. State Lotteries have a huge advertising budget targeted at lower income communities where peoples only hope of getting rich is to gamble with their meager earnings, or in the case of carreer welfare peeps, food stamps.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Snooker

    @the Clown and your one peanut peanut gallery...Luck has nothing to do with it when you sit down to play Hold 'em at a casino. Did you not read my explanation as to why? I was a house player in Vegas for several years, and also hustled pool at the Que Club and Elbow Room billiard halls. Have you ever seen pool tournaments on ESPN 2? Those are the guys we hustled. We had a 14 foot snooker table where we played a ring game called 'Golf'. It looks like an easy game, but it takes abour 5 years even for an pro pool player to master. Plus, we worked the game just like we worked the tourists. It's funnier than heck watching a guy win 10k in a televised 9-ball tournament, then leave the pool hall with zip squat. 99% of you "gamblers" and "pool players" are just a bunch of pidgeons..

    November 10, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. With Apologies To Pearl Jam

    At home
    Drawing pictures
    Of mountain tops
    With him on top
    Lemon yellow sun
    Arms raised in a V
    Dead lay in pools of maroon below

    Daddy didn’t give attention
    To the fact that Mommy didn’t care
    King Philip the Wicked
    Ruled his world

    Philip spoke on the blogs today
    Philip spoke on the blogs today

    Clearly I remember
    Pickin’ on the boy
    Seemed a harmless little f*@k
    But we unleashed a lion
    Gnashed his teeth
    And bit the recess lady’s bre*st
    How could I forget
    He hit me with a surprise left
    My jaw left hurting
    Dropped wide open
    Just like the day
    Like the day I heard
    Daddy didn’t give affection
    And the boy was something that Mommy wouldn’t wear
    King Philip the Wicked
    Ruled his world

    Philip spoke on the blogs today
    Philip spoke on the blogs today

    Try to forget this…Try to erase this…From the blackboard.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Raving

    Two out of three people surveyed don't read your sh!t. Who wants to continually read the ravings of a lunatic? Go away.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sirosky Maisie

    I've been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever... Sirosky Maisie

    December 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
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