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World Series of Poker live blog: Pius Heinz shifts fortunes, wins Main Event

Heinz outlasts 6,864 other players for victory

Image

Steve Marcus

Pius Heinz, left, of Germany and Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic compete for the championship bracelet and $8.7 million in first-place prize money during the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011.

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 | 12:26 a.m.

Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event

Pius Heinz of Germany holds up stacks of cash after defeating Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic to win the championship bracelet and $8.7 million in first-place prize money during the World Series of Poker Main Event early Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2011, at the Rio. In the background are 2010 winner Jonathan Duhamel and ESPN reporter Kara Scott. Launch slideshow »

2011 WSOP Final Day

Pius Heinz, left, of Germany smiles as he competes heads up against Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic during the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Chip Counts

  • Pius Heinz — 205,900,000
  • Martin Staszko — 0
  • Ben Lamb — 0
  • Matt Giannetti — 0
  • Phil Collins — 0
  • Eoghan O'Dea — 0
  • Badih Bounahra — 0
  • Anton Makiievskyi — 0
  • Sam Holden — 0

2011 WSOP Main Event Final Table Payouts

  • Pius Heinz (1st) — $8,711,956
  • Martin Staszko (2nd) — $5,430,928
  • Ben Lamb (3rd) — $4,019,635
  • Matt Giannetti (4th) — $3,011,665
  • Phil Collins (5th) — $2,268,909
  • Eoghan O'Dea (6th) — $1,720,000
  • Badih Bounahra (7th) — $1,313,851
  • Anton Makiievski (8th) — $1,009,910
  • Sam Holden (9th) — $782,115

Heinz wins Main Event with Ace-King

The Main Event bracelet in the hands of Pius Heinz is a testament to how quickly things can change in poker.

Heinz returned from a level break less than half an hour ago at a chip disadvantage to Martin Staszko and searching for a sudden change of fortune. He found it.

Heinz doubled up with only Ace-high and made Staszko the one in desperation. Unfortunately for the 35-year old from the Czech Republic, it wasn’t meant to be.

He shoved all of his chips in with 10-7 of clubs and Heinz instantly called from the big blind with Ace-King off suit. The board ran out 5-2-9-Jack-4 to ensure Heinz’s Ace-high remained the best hand.

Heinz ran over to his family and friends, most of whom are wearing the same white hoodie as he is, and leapt into their arms in celebration. Staszko smiled and clapped — disappointed that he’ll go down as the runner-up in poker’s most grand tournament but happy with the more than $5 million he'll take home.

Heinz, a 22-year old from Germany, now gets to enjoy a year as poker’s world champion — and of course the $8.7 million for the achievement. He came into the final table in seventh place, but flew up the leader board on Sunday and stayed steady Tuesday.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of the event.

Pius Heinz doubles up

It took 111 hands to get the first all-in and call in the heads-up portion of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

And the tournament is still not over. Pius Heinz dodged a ton of cards that would have helped Martin Staszko on the turn and river to double his stack to 162 million.

Staszko is left with 44 million. Heinz shoved all his chips in the middle after a flop of 10 of clubs, 7 of clubs, King of spades.

Staszko called with a flush draw — Queen of clubs, 9 of clubs. Heinz could only muster Ace-Queen of hearts for Ace-high, but it held up.

The dealer peeled off the 3 of hearts on fourth street and the 6 of spades on the river. Staszko has dominated the last two hours of play, but will now have to operate the short stack.

Staszko coming strong

Martin Staszko has chipped his way up to his biggest lead of the night.

After taking down hand No. 103 with a bet on the turn, Staszko has 161 million chips to Pius Heinz’s 45 million. Statszko has won nine out of the last 10 hands.

Heinz had sliced well into his lead and was one notable pot away from re-taking the lead before the recent surge from Staszko.

With about 22 big blinds, the time is coming where Heinz will have to think about risking all of his chips to get back in the race for the gold bracelet.

Neither player can put the other away

The following update may sound like a repeat.

One of the two players left vying for the World Series of Poker Main Event gold bracelet pulled way ahead, but only for a brief amount of time. Martin Staszko scooped pot after pot to reach a 3-to-1 chip lead over Pius Heinz about 10 minutes ago.

But Heinz has bounced back since, chipping his 50 million up to 70 million. Although it’s still well behind Staszko, the comeback is following a similar pattern.

Every time one of the two players makes a run and could have a chance to win, the other starts a redemption tour. Momentum is on Heinz’s side as the 93rd hand of the session is dealt.

Eight lead changes so far

A 10-minute break to switch levels has re-vitalized Martin Staszko.

Staszko and Heinz have effectively swapped chip counts over the last 30 minutes. The Czech Republic native now has a 45 million chip advantage.

Staszko came out firing after the break and won seven of the first 10 hands. On one particular hand, he announced he was all-in after Heinz raised. Heinz folded to give Staszko a large pre-flop pot.

With the blinds now at 1 million-2 million with a 300,000 ante, Heinz is far from the edge of panic. But it’s got to be playing on both of these guys’ nerves the amount of times they’ve lost and gained chip leads.

The lead has changed eight times since Ben Lamb went out in third and heads-up play started.

Heinz in control

Right when it looked like Martin Staszko was poised to pull away, Pius Heinz corralled two notable pots to pull within 10 million chips

Heinz had the outright lead a few hands later. Through 63 hands, the 22-year old German is ahead of the 35-year old from the Czech Republic by 30 million chips.

It's the largest lead he's held since the first hand of play tonight. Staszko momentarily went up more than 80 million chips when he made a full house on a board of Ace-9-3-Ace-6 with Ace-9 as his hole cards.

Heinz must have had a poor read on Staszko in the hand, as he unsuccessfully bluffed at him twice. That was his last misstep, though, as Heinz seems to have cruised since that point.

Staszko in the lead again

The ever-swinging tide at the Main Event is currently on Martin Staszko’s side.

Through 46 hands, Staszko is ahead of Heinz by approximately 30 million chips. The two have swapped leads frequently. With their chip stacks in close proximity and the blinds at 800,000-1.6 million, one above average pot is enough to switch the chip leader.

Staszko won the last notable showdown. About 10 hands ago, Staszko went all-in after Heinz bet out on a board of 7-2-10-Ace.

Heinz mucked his cards to award Staszko the 40 million chip pot and the lead. Staszko has kept his distance ever since, but hasn’t done anything to build on it.

Two pair vs. two pair

It was only a matter of time before the cards dictated a clash between Martin Staszko and Pius Heinz.

After a period of relative inactivity, the 25th hand of the night saw a 45 million chip pot pushed in the direction of Staszko. Heinz had two-pair in the encounter, but Staszko had a higher two pair.

Both players hit their first pair on a 2-Queen-9 flop. Although a King on the turn looked like a scare card, it did nothing to get either player off of their hand.

The fateful 7 landed on the river. Heinz bet and confidently flipped over 7-2 when Staszko called. But Staszko had Queen-7 for the win.

The 35-year old now has a 10 million chip advantage over the youngster.

Play slows down

The rapid pace that accompanied the beginning of tonight’s action has worn off.

Staszko and Heinz went to war in a couple bigger pots at the beginning of heads-up play, but have played with less confrontation over the last 30 minutes.

Heinz is winning more pots, but Staszko is swooping in every now and then to keep the German from running away with the lead. Many hands have come and gone without a flop.

Heinz is currently about 60 million ahead of Staszko.

Heinz pushes Staszko away on river

Pius Heinz has re-gained the lead after losing it two hands into the night.

Heinz and Staszko faced off in a massive pot during the ninth hand. A raising war pre-flop ended with both men committing more than 3 million chips.

Heinz bet out on a 9-5-8 flop and did the same when the turn card, which completed a flush draw with the Queen of diamonds, arrived. Staszko called both bets.

Heinz opted for a check-raise, all-in on the river after Staszko placed more than 15 million chips in the middle. Staszko folded and still has 83 million chips in front of him.

A stunning exit

Goodbye, Ben Lamb.

The 26-year old professional from Las Vegas lasted all of three hands during Tuesday's three-handed play. After losing a massive pot to Martin Staszko that limited what he could do, Lamb shoved all of his chips in two hands later.

Staszko called immediately. The Czech Republic native had pocket Jacks to Lamb's Queen-6. The board ran out 5-2-5-2-7 to award Staszko the pot.

Lamb's historic run through the Main Event ended disappointingly. But he does still win $4 million for his third place finish.

Staszko, meanwhile, is on an absolute roll. He's up to 117 million after finding pocket pairs in each of the first three hands — 7s, Kings and Jacks. He's gained nearly 120 million in 15 minutes with those hands.

Tournament officials are spreading the money on the table now in preparation for heads-up play.

Ben Lamb takes major hit

The start to the night's action couldn't have gone much more unpredictably.

The man with the smallest stack, Martin Staszko, has doubled up to 85 million after Ben Lamb stepped a bit out of line. Lamb opened with a raise and Staszko re-raised.

Without taking much time for contemplation, Lamb announced he was all-in. Staszko frowned, looking torn by the decision, but decided to call.

He flipped over pocket 7s, which was slightly ahead of Lamb's starting hand — King, Jack. Staszko increased his lead after a 3-9-2 flop and locked the pot up when a 3 and 10 were the turn and river cards, respectively.

Lamb is now desperate with 12 million, only 10 big blinds at the current level of play. Staszko is now more on Heinz's radar, as the Czech Republic native has 85.6 million.

Pre-game

The three men remaining in the World Series of Poker Main Event reached this point with vastly different experiences during Sunday’s final table play.

Pius Heinz, a 22-year old from Germany, rode a wave of momentum and good cards to the lead with 107.8 million chips. Heinz started the day in seventh place, but some fortunate situations catapulted him to the top. Once he was there, Heinz played brilliantly and applied pressure on players with lesser stacks to build his mountain of chips higher.

Martin Staszko, on the other hand, went into survival mode Sunday. Staszko was the most card-dead competitor out of the final nine. The 35-year old Czech Republic native should be commended for doing what he needed to do to advance. Staszko ended the day with almost exactly the same amount of chips he started with — 42.7 million.

Ben Lamb fell somewhere in between those two extremes. He won some hands when he was a major underdog and lost some hands when he was a decisive favorite. The most eyes are undoubtedly on Lamb tonight as he tries to continue a momentous year that already saw him win the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year award.

Lamb and the other two players are expected to start their chase toward poker immortality in less than half an hour. Like Sunday, ESPN2 will air the action on a slight delay until a champion is crowned.

It will be interesting to see how the three change their approach from Sunday. They’ve likely spent the past 36 hours re-visiting some of the hands they played against each other on Sunday.

Heinz and Lamb particularly butted heads as the table played down to three. Each took turns bluffing each other in different spots, as later exposed by ESPN’s hole cameras.

Although he was mostly patient, Staszko has some aggression in his game too. During one of the bigger pots to take place after the dinner break Sunday, he bluffed at Heinz with nothing more than a King-high hand.

The play of Heinz, who only had a pair of 10s in the hand, was exceptional. He called bets on two streets when he was in the lead, but folded when a Jack hit the turn to give Staszko a straight.

These players will hope their instincts are that sharp with $8.7 million and a gold bracelet at risk. Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for live coverage of the event along with photo galleries and a story afterward.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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