Germany is celebrating its first ever WSOP Main Event champion this week, after 22-year-old Pius Heinz took down down Martin Stasko of the Czech Republic to win the grand prize of $8.71 million plus the coveted WSOP winners’ bracelet.
“Honestly I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the money,” said Heinz, who became the forth straight player age 22 or younger to win the Las Vegas event. “Probably my family is going to get a couple gifts.”
Starting heads-up play against Staszko with less than 20 percent of Staszko’s chip amount, Heinz struggled, later telling reporters that the heads-up, for the most part, didn’t go his way.
“I just never made a hand. I just thought I’m going to play my game, play as good as I can and hope the cards eventually fall my way,” the Cologne, Germany, native revealed in an interview following the event.
After a six-hour, 119-hand battle however, Heinz came out on top, winning with just Ace-high in the final hand of the night when Staszko was unable to pair his 10-7.
“I’m never happy if I don’t win,” Staszko, who took home $5.43 million for his runner-up finish, said. “But it’s not too bad. Second place is OK.”
When Heinz arrived at the famous tournament along with 6,865 others, he had less than $100,000 career tournament earnings and was considering going back to college.
Now he’s one of the richest card players in the world.
“It’s got to be the happiest day of my life,” Heinz said. “But I can’t believe what happened — it’s unreal.”
To watch Pius Heinz and Martin Staszko in the final hand of the 2011 WSOP Main Event, check out the video below: