German Soccer Player & Olympian Max Kruse Wins WSOP Bracelet

Max Kruse has proven he can score on and off the soccer pitch after ending his decade-long pursuit for WSOP gold. The German Soccer Player and 2020 Olympian triumphed in Event #7: €1,650 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) for €134,152, which also marks his biggest ever tournament cash.

He was the final player remaining from the 413-entry field and took the biggest slice of the €588,525 prize pool after defeating the formidable Dorian Melchers in heads-up play. The feat looks even more impressive after seeing that he outlasted the likes of Farid Jattin, Leonid Yanovski, Orhan Sen and Nacho Barbero at the final table.

Who is Max Kruse?

Kruse, who plays as a striker for VfL Wolfsburg, is crazy about poker and has been spotted at several stops of various poker tours as well as battling it out on the virtual felt. His previous best finish under the WSOP banner came in 2014, where he took third place in the No-Limit 2–7 Draw Lowball event.

He also notched a fifth-place finish in the 2021 GGPoker WSOP Online $10K Heads Up Championship for $62,156 and also found a $57,592 payday in the $25K NLH Poker Players Championship the year before.

Max Kruse
Max Kruse

While Kruse will not be heading to the upcoming FIFA World Cup later this month, he represented the German National Team on 14 occasions. His first goal for his Country came against the United States before finding the back of the net three more times in other matches.

Kruse’s place in the German side however was cut short due to a poker-related faux-pas. It was reported that he had lost €75,000 worth of poker winnings in the back of a taxi in 2016. That incident saw him dropped from the national team and he also received a €25,000 fine from his club side.

At his peak, he was once rumored to join Manchester United however the transfer never materialized. Nonetheless, Kruse has put together a stellar career in the Bundesliga (German First Division) and has registered 131 goals in 460 league appearances as well as winning the DFL-Supercup in 2015.

Event #7: €1,650 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize (EUR)
1 Max Kruse Germany €134,152
2 Dorian Melchers France €87,059
3 Farid Jattin Colombia €63,874
4 Leonid Yanovski Isreal €38,010
5 Orhan Sen Germany €27,482
6 Nacho Barbero Argentina €20,236

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Final Table Recap

The final day of action saw just five players return to King’s Resort, Rozvadov as sixth-place finisher Barbero was ousted in late goings of Day 2.

Sen was the first player to exit on Day 3 and found himself on the wrong side of the rail within the first half hour. He jammed his short stack with ace-seven but was unable to improve against Melcher’s ace-eight.

Four-handed play would last for another two and half hours and then it was Kruse’s turn to oust an opponent. Kruse moved all in as the big stack from the small blind with ace-three and was called by Yanovski and his ace-eight from the big blind. Kruse paired his three on the flop and held out to take the chip lead with three players remaining.

Kruse’s lead wouldn’t last for long as Melcher secured another final table scalp. Jattin shipped in his stack with king nine. Melcher woke up with ace-eight again and had his opponent drawing dead after flopping trip aces.

Melchers entered heads-up with a 2:1 chip lead before giving up the lead and retaking it. Undeterred, Kruse regained control and held a narrow chip lead after scooping consecutive pots.

The final hand of the night saw Melchers risk it all with ace-queen and was called by Kruse’s pocket deuces. Both players missed the ten-high flop but Melchers left Kruse drawing to two outs after making a pair of queens on the turn. Kruse then roared with excitement after a deuce hit the river to secure the victory.

2022 WSOPE Gold Bracelet Winners

€350 NLH Opener 2,454 Fabio Peluso €95,670 €734,359
€550 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Max 566 Helmut Phung €55,132 €268,850
€1,350 Mini Main Event 1,431 Ilija Savevski €245,319 €1,631,340
€2,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 221 Anson Tsang €95,461 €388,407
€550 NLH Colossus 2,982 Lubos Laska €170,568 €1,416,450
€5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 223 Roman Verenko €247,288 €1,006,287
€1,650 NLH 6-Max 413 Max Kruse €134,152 €588,525
€25,000 NLH Platinum High Roller 67 Paul Phua €482,433 €1,565,790
€2,200 Short Deck 91 Emil Bise €49,521 €172,900
€2,000 8-Game Mix
€50,000 NLH Diamond High Roller
€10,350 Main Event
€1,650 PLO/NLH Mixed
€1,100 NLH Bounty Hunter
€1,000 NLH Turbo Freezeout
Name Surname
Calum Grant

Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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