Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event Championship

Pius Heinz is the 2011 WSOP Main Event Champion

World Series of Poker Official Report

Pius Heinz is the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.

The 22-year-old professional poker player from Cologne stunned the poker world by becoming the first player in history from Germany to win poker’s most prestigious title. Heinz pulled off a masterful performance during the two-day final table session, which began on Sunday afternoon inside the Penn and Teller Theatre at the Rio in Las Vegas and ended late Tuesday night on a confetti-splattered stage accustomed to acts of magic.

With his stunning comeback victory, Heinz collected a whopping $8,715,638 in prize money – the third- highest payout for any poker champion in history. He was also presented with the game’s most coveted prize, the WSOP gold and diamond bracelet – which symbolizes poker’s supreme achievement.

The odds were stacked against Heinz from the start. First, he had to overcome the third-largest live tournament field in history, battling 6,865 players from 85 different nations who flooded into the Rio last summer in what was the first hurdle for all aspiring champions. Then, Heinz had to outlast an increasingly tougher field over the initial eight days of play, en route to inclusion in poker’s famed “November Nine” – which refers to the final nine players who ultimately make it to poker’s biggest game. Next came a nearly four-month wait during the interim between July and November, after which Heinz returned to Las Vegas hoping to write the latest chapter of poker history.

Indeed, Heinz’s biggest test was still to come. He arrived at the finale against eight formidable opponents with one of the lowest chip stacks -- ranking seventh in chips out of nine players.

Make judges play poker for money, then see if it's luck

Re-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

To poker players, predominate is a word probably not often used in their vocabulary; however, to good players “predominate” is the way they approach the game every time they play.

The famous line from Rounders echoes in the minds of these players: “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”

The goal of every decent player is to be able to sit at a table and assess the players, then use skill to prevail. To these players luck exists, but does not control the game at the end of the day.

If a poll was taken of every player at a table one night testing the veracity of these statements, particularly related to games of deepstack hold’em, overwhelmingly the sentiment would affirm their truth and affirm their operation as unwritten rules of the game.
So why is it courts of law across the country have such a difficulty understanding poker at its core is a game whose outcome is primarily driven by the skill of the players?

Two recent cases highlight the basic flaws in justice when poker is put on trial as to whether it is a legal game of skill or an illegal game of chance. The cases are Com. v. Dent, 992 A. 2d 190 (Pa.Super. 2010) from Pennsylvania and Three Kings Holdings, L.L.C. v. Six, 2011 WL 2279039 (Kan.App.) from Kansas.

In putting variations of Texas Hold’em on trial, these courts applied what is known as the “predominance” test to determine whether the games were legal games of skill such as bowling and golf or illegal games of chance such as slot machines and craps. The predominance test, true to the definition, is based on what dominates in determining the outcome of the game, a player’s skill or blind chance within the game.

The judges found that in bowling or golf “though chance inevitably intervenes, it’s not inherent in the game and does not overcome skill, and the player maintains the opportunity to defeat chance with superior skill.” In contrast in poker, “a skilled player may give himself a statistical advantage but is always subject to defeat at the turn of a card, an instrumentality beyond his control.” The courts found this to be “a critical difference.”

Despite the testimony from experts in statistics, psychology and poker who testified to the contrary, the judges chose to look solely at the uncertainty of the turn of a card as the dominant factor in the game, which swings the balance to make poker an illegal game predominated by chance. The result of these cases led to the barroom game in Kansas and the home games in Pennsylvania being shut down and deemed illegal.

Player frustrations with these rulings and the fallacy of the courts logic aside, keep in mind a trusted lawyer’s maxim that “you can’t beat the guy in the robe in his court room.” However, you can look for these guys at the poker tables, with their lack of understanding of the game; they will be the ones with “sucker” written across their forehead enjoy teaching them a lesson in “predominance.”

— Marc W. Dunbar represents several gaming clients before the Florida Legislature and teaches gambling and parimutuel law at the Florida State’s College of Law. Follow him on Twitter (@FLGamingWatch) or his website (floridagamingwatch.com).

Chicago Joe: "Horeshoe Hammond Started It All"

Chicago JoeRe-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

For our poker players, 08/08/08 is the most important date in Chicago’s gambling history. Why? That’s when the Horseshoe Casino opened. Just over the Illinois border next to Chicago in Hammond, Ind., the Horseshoe Casino created a world-class poker room that rivals the top rooms in the country. When opened, the Horseshoe’s 34-table poker room had twice as many tables than all of Illinois combined. For the staff, the Horseshoe assembled an extraordinary group of professionals from all parts of the country.

The Horseshoe’s $1,500 Summer Poker Tournament Series will be Aug 27.This tournament has a guaranteed $250,000 prize pool.For cash players, a Win a Seat high-card promotion will start a week before the tournament. At 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. one table will be picked. Eligible players at the table will be dealt one card with the high card winning a seat to the $1,500 event.

Starting at $100,000, the Horseshoe’s bad beat is the largest in the Midwest, with quad 10s as the qualifier. Twice a month the bad beat is increased $20,000 and the qualifying hand decreasing. On July 15 the bad beat reached $160,000 and quad sevens. Last year the bad beat reached $320K when the bad beat was hit. For more details see the poker room staff or call 219-473-6065.

The Ringer Cannot Look Empty

Chicago JasonIt is so tempting to write a blog post about a hand that one lost after “playing it correctly”.  This is one of those, such, hands.  Playing it correctly, is of course, in quotation marks because (a) this is a subjective measure, depending on who you ask, when you ask, and the respondent’s bias, and (b) even through my own lens, I’m often not confident about my decision making.  If nothing else, I very frequently feel differently about a hand the next morning than I do the night before.  This is not one of those times.  Even so, (a) applies, and many of you will disagree with me.  At one time I had the time and energy to invest in continuously improving my game.  I had visions of being an accomplished player, but given my other interests and commitments, I know that I will be relegated to a semi-occasional poker punter.  Had I continued to develop my game beyond where I am today, my analysis of this hand would be undoubtedly different.  Were I a more recreational player, of course, my analysis would be simpler.  The irony is those times when the effect of my analysis on my actions is the same, despite the analysis being so different.  THIS is why so many people enjoy the game of poker.

Full RingerI was at the Northside last night, and pleased with my play for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in office (no, I am not that old).  Sobchak was two to three seats to my left, depending on the table population and I had just button raised his big blind with AJo while the table was 5- or 6-handed.  Sobchak three-bet me out of position, and I decided this was one of those times he had a big hand, 88 or better, and very possibly dominated, and I folded my button.  If you’re thinking “he doesn’t have enough information to narrow a wild man like Sobchak’s range in this spot”, you don’t know how much history the two of us have, and you’re still correct.  
Sobchak does such a great job of merging his ranges, mixing up his betting lines, and also taking advantage of his great familiarity with my game.  In short, he’s a bitch to play against, but we play the same games, he’s a friend, and he forces me to play better.  
I showed my AJ in this spot, sending something of a message – I am playing tight, I’m not screwing around against you, I’m making “solid” decisions.  (See my previous expose on quotation marks).

The fact that I folded my AJ in position in this hand will make you scratch your head a bit when I tell you about the hand in question, and it’s all a part of this dance that Sobchak and I do.