Around the WSOP: German college student outshines WSOP star Seidel

27 June 2008

It was an event that appeared as though it was going to be remembered as a monumental moment for Erik Seidel. Instead it may go down as the official coming out party for 21-year-old German college student.

Seidel, an eight-time bracelet winner, was poised to add a ninth to his collection and tie the estimable Johnny Moss on the all-time list when he made the final table of the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split event on Wednesday night, sitting in second place. The fact that he was, by far, the most experienced and decorated out of the nine players – this was his 26th-career final table – at the final table added to the expectation that he was the heavy favorite.

But the Martin Klaser crashed the party.

Martin Klaser

Martin Klaser has good reason to smile. At just 21 years old, he's a World Series of Poker champion. (photo by IMPDI for the 2008 WSOP)

Klaser, who is making his first appearance at the WSOP only because it's the first year he's old enough to compete, entered the finale on Thursday night in third place. With a stack of 337,000, he was only slightly behind the leader Jon Maren (377,000) and Seidel (340,000). It didn't take long for the student from the University of Applied Sciences in Rheinbach, Germany to make his presence felt. In fact, Klaser and longtime tournament veteran Casey Kastle, who came into the final table sixth on the chip leaderboard, began taking down opponents left and right before meeting in a heads-up battle.

Once the field was down to two, Klaser got red-hot, winning 15 of the next 20 hands to win his first bracelet and cash in for $216,249 in just his third WSOP start. At age 21 years and four months, Klaser ranks as one of the youngest WSOP gold bracelet winners in history. He also becomes the third German to win at this year's WSOP and only the seventh to ever win a gold bracelet, following Matthias Rohnacher (1997), Eddy Scharf (two wins in 2001 and 2003), Michael Keiner (2007), Katja Thater (2007), Jen Voertmann (2008) and Sebastian Ruthenburg (2008).

Klaser is a Full Tilt pro who won the 2007 Million Euro Challenge in Germany, after earning his seat via a freeroll on Full Tilt. On his way to that victory and the €350,000 that came along with it, Klaser knocked off Gus Hansen and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson at the final table.

As for Seidel, while he missed out on an opportunity to win a ninth bracelet he did manage to place fourth and win $68,304. He now has 52 in-the-money finishes in his WSOP career, which ranks him sixth on the all-time list.

Four other former bracelet winners cashed in the event. Brent Carter placed 22nd and now has 45-career WSOP cashes, putting him in a tie for eighth on the all-time list. Joe Hachem took 35th, while Berry Johnston (39th) and Ferguson (50th) each recorded their 56th-career WSOP cash, tying them for third on the all-time list.

Noteworthy exits from $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship

David Singer, Hoyt Corkins, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Eli Elezra, Gus Hansen, Mike Sexton, David Benyamine, Howard Lederer, Greg Raymer, Patrik Antonius, Freddy Deeb, Jennifer Harman, Johnny Chan, Dewey Tomko., Mike Matusow, Ted Forrest, TJ Cloutier .

What do they have in common? They were all on the "bust-out" list from Day 2 of the prestigious $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship.

There were 148 entrants when play began on Wednesday night. When the cards are dealt for Day 3 tonight just 67 players will be alive.

Leading the pack is three-time bracelet winner Lyle Berman, who has 14 WSOP cashes in his career, but just two in the last seven years. The Minnesota native has 507,000 chips and is followed by Patrick Bueno (485,500), Barry Greenstein (473,000), Minh Ly (451,000) and Chris Reslock (435,500).

Other players to note: Daniel Negreanu is in ninth place with 374,500, Doyle Brunson is 10th (366,600) and Andy Bloch is 11th (362,500). Day 1-leader James Mackey dropped to 41st place and has 175,500 chips, just behind Phil Ivey (177,000), John "Miami" Cernuto (190,000) and Tom "durrrr" Dwan (195,000).


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