After months of speculation we now know who is the king of poker for another year. With the usual four month gap passed, the world tuned in to the see the end of the 2011 WSOP. For the first time ever, a German player took home the money and the bracelet.
Pius Heinz defeated thousands of competitors to capture the title, grabbing every last chip in the tournament on his way to victory. All this from a man not fancied by any but the most fervent German when the tournament paused in July. This was thanks to him sitting 7th in chips when the play resumed, well behind crowd favorites like Ben Lamb.
Lamb fell with three players remaining, collecting his millions and leaving Czech player Martin Staszko to face off against Heinz for the title. Staszcko is relatively inexperienced at poker, but has years as a top class chess player behind him. He bucked the trend of recent new players by playing a slower, more deliberate game, compared to the hyper-aggressive style used by Heinz.
It wasn’t enough, however, and the younger man took the day and the $8.72 million first place prize. “Probably my family is going to get a couple gifts,” said the shell-shocked Heinz immediately after his victory. “It’s got to be the happiest day of my life,” he added, “but I can’t believe what happened — it’s unreal.”
Piss would have been forgiven for being lost for words following the six hour heads up marathon he had to endure to beat Staszko. Neither player could keep a grip on the chip lead and Heinz even slipped to a 4-1 chip deficit for a brief period. He was going to need all of his poker experience to recover.
However, if he has proved anything over the past few days, it’s his resilience. After clawing his way back into contention, Heinz finally ended it all with nothing more than Ace high. Holding A-K, Heinz got his money in ahead of the Czech’s 10-7, but still had to sweat a whole board full of cards. Thankfully for the German, nothing connected with the Czech’s hand and Pius Heinz was officially crowned the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.
Greenstein and Johnson in Poker Hall of Fame
After some heated debate, the steering committee for the Poker Hall of Fame have announced the 2011 inductees, just in time for the November Nine. Barry Greenstein and Linda Johnson are the two celebrated names entering the hall this year. This list of poker greats is operated by the World Series of Poker and are planning an induction on November 8th.
If you know anything about professional poker, you’ll know the name Barry Greenstein. Known internationally for his appearances on TV, Greenstein is regarded as one of the toughest cash game players in the world. He has three WSOP bracelets to his name, along with two WPT titles.
Barry is often praised for his consistent dedication to charitable causes. For years, he has given his net earnings from poker tournaments to charity, keeping what he earns from cash games to support him and his family. This unparalleled poker generosity has earned him the title the ‘Robin Hood of Poker’.
He is also a long time member of Team PokerStars and continues to represent them to this day. Eliminating Barry from a tournament is always worthwhile, as you’ll win up with a shiny new copy of his book Ace on the River. Having been a revered figure in the game for many years, Barry’s entry into the Hall of Fame will come as no surprise to most observers.
FlopTurnRiver.com had an excellent interview with Barry Greenstein and it’s really funny. You can read the Barry Greenstein interview here.
Entrant number two, Linda Johnson, might seem like more of a surprise but is actually just as vital to poker as Barry, even though she isn’t nearly as popular with casual players. Long known as the First Lady of Poker, Johnson has been shaping the poker landscape for over a decade. In 1980 she quit her Post Office job to take up the game full time, long before the poker boom brought felt and chips to the masses, when online poker was still non-existent. Only 15 women have ever won WSOP gold and Linda is one of them, captured in 1990 for victory in a 1997 7-Card Razz tournament.
In 1993 she became one of poker’s big movers and shakers when she purchased CardPlayer. She is now considered most valuable as a poker ambassador. You may have seen her announcing players on the floor of the WPT or played in one of the many tournaments she has staged across the globe. All that, and she was also the first ever chairperson of the Poker Players Alliance.
A cavalcade of poker’s brightest stars will be on hand at the conclusion of the World Series to see these poker greats officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.