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Confessions of a Player


Power to the kids

By: Vicky Coren @ 12:23 (EST) / 1622 / Comment ( 2 )

So, there is a new World Series of Poker champion at last: Pius Heinz from Germany. He is part of the new wave of German wunderkinds, playing a reportedly "unexploitable" aggressive strategy (broadly: raising so much that he can't be bluffed).

His march to victory at the final table kicked off when he raised to 1.3m, got called by Ben Lamb and "squeezed" up to 4.1m by Irish hopeful Eoghan O'Dea with AQ. Heinz called, and heads-up they saw a flop of 8 8 4. O'Dea bet 4.6m and Heinz called. Gamely, O'Dea fired again (for 8.2m) and Heinz had an agonising five-minute think before moving all in for 16m total.

O'Dea folded immediately, and the live blogger shrieked "Wow!" in his online report. The blogger may have suspected a giant move, but the table cameras revealed (if that cold-calling of the huge flop and turn bets hadn't already) that Heinz held a monster: QQ. Really, a fake agonised dwell-up at the WSOP final? Or perhaps Heinz really did fear his QQ might not be winning as they grappled for an $8.7m first prize; I wish I had his problems.

More fun for the lay viewer, perhaps, was a hand that Ben Lamb played when they were down to four. The blinds were 500k-1m by then and Martin Staszko, quirkily, limped under the gun. Lamb checked the big blind and they saw a flop of K 8 8. Lamb checked. Staszko bet 1.2m. Lamb check-raised to 2.6m. Staszko re-raised to 5.2m. Lamb put in the fourth bet: 8m. Staszko folded.

The hands? Why, 56 offsuit for Staszko and for Lamb, of course! That's the spirit, boys. Biggest title in poker, $8.7m at stake. You're only young once.

Ben Lamb is 26. Pius Heinz is 22. Whatever happened to paper rounds?

This article first appeared in The Guardian

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