WSOP – German successes
Published: 24 May 12 16:36 CET | Print version
Germany is the fourth most successful nation in the history of the Word Series of Poker. These are the players that turned Germany into a country of poker enthusiasts.
With twelve bracelets won, including Pius Heinz’ triumph at the main event last year, Germany leads Italy (10), France (9), and Denmark (7), but trails England as the best European nation with 25 bracelets, and Canada with 28.
It goes without saying that the United States are the most successful nation in WSOP history, leading the rest of the world by a very narrow margin of 768 WSOP bracelets…
Of course, before the year of Chris Moneymaker, very few Europeans even made the trip to Las Vegas and played in the world series, so for the first 30 years of its existence, it was pretty much an exclusively North American event.
One of the players who seem to have always been there is Eddy Scharf, the only German ever to win two bracelets. Scharf won two Omaha tournaments, in 2001 and 2003, and he came close to the final table in 2004, when poker had started to explode.
Although his first cashes go back as far as 1996, Scharf is still going strong. He cashed again ant the WSOP last year, and he’s probably already packing his bags to go back for this summer.
The first German to win a bracelet in Sin City was Matthias Rohnacher. In 1997, Rohnacher prevailed in a Pot Limit Omaha tournament against English grand old champion Surinder Sunar. By the way, the field of this $2500 PLO event consisted of 87 players only, with just the final nine making the money. Rohnacher took home $183.000 for his win.
Last year, this event had 685 entries, and the winner Sam Stein collected $420.802!
Thomas Bihl, former Full Tilt pro, won the very first tournament of the inaugural WSOP Europe in London, 2007. His heads-up opponent in the HORSE was no other than experienced Vegas pro Jennifer Harman. The final table also featured Chris Ferguson, formerly nicknamed “Jesus”, but that was before details of his role in the downfall of Full Tilt became public.
Only two months before Thomas Bihl claimed his only bracelet, Katja Thater became the first and only female German player ever to win one. Surprisingly, she won it in Razz poker, one of the most unusual variants and certainly not her favourite.
Thater is still seen as the pioneer of female players, in Germany and the whole of Europe. She was the first female member of the PokerStars team, and she paved the way for players like Annette Obrestad from Norway, German Sandra Naujoks, and Leo Margets from Spain.
If there is a male player who played an equivocally important role in the history of poker in Germany, it is Michael Keiner. The former plastic surgeon was one of the first who took poker out of the smoky backrooms and gave it a friendly, trustworthy face.
Keiner won his bracelet in the same year as Katja Thater, in a Seven Card Stud event. Stud is a more traditional variant than today’s most popular version Texas Hold’em, and it somehow fits Keiner’s image as some kind of German poker doyen.
Sebastian Ruthenberg had celebrated his win in his most successful year in poker: 2008. He went on to win the EPT main event in Barcelona not even two months later.
Further German bracelet winners are Carsten Joh (2009), Jörg Peisert (2009), Martin Kläser (2008) und Jens Vörtmann (2008), the last one being world champion Pius Heinz, of course.
Check the latest German poker news here.
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