Max Heinzelmann Gives Germans Hope at 2011 Main Event

Max Heinzelmann
Max Heinzelmann

Max Heinzelmann, playing in his first WSOP event, has a chance to do something no German has done before – win the Main Event.

It’s not as if the 21-year-old poker pro is inexperienced however.

He’s been playing the game for three years and finished second in two European Poker Tour events this year for over $1.5 million in profit. 

He couldn’t really put his finger on what has made him so successful this year.

“I haven’t changed my game too much,” he said. “I tried to be more patient because I didn’t have a very good year playing live poker in 2010. Obviously I’ve been running well.”

Heinzelmann, who lives near Stuttgart, turned 21 on July 2nd so the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event was the very first tournament he was able to play in this prestigious series.

So far it’s been an incredible experience for the young German pro.

“This is the softest $10k tournament you’ll find because there are just so many entrants,” he said.

“When it gets deeper it gets a lot tougher but I feel like there are a number of tournament players who have trouble adjusting to how deep the stacks get.”

Heinzelmann played one of the most memorable hands of the 2011 WSOP Main Event when he laid a vicious beat on fellow poker pro Shaun Deeb on Day 3.

Deeb and Heinzelmann got into a huge raising war pre-flop that ended with Heinzelmann finally shoving his A-6 into Deeb’s AA.

Heinzelmann rivered trip sixes to cripple Deeb, who would bust a few hands later.

Heinzelmann explained that he’d played a number of hands online against Deeb and felt like he was one of the few players that could possibly five-bet light in that situation.

“When he called I was like, ‘I’m done.’” He said. “I was obviously lucky to get there.”

At the start of Day 5 Heinzelmann was one of the top 20 chip leaders with 1.6 million.

There are only six Germans left in the tournament and Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg is the next closest to Heinzelmann with 1.2 million chips.

First place in the 2011 Main Event will walk away with $8.7 million.

Winning the Main Event is the crowning achievement of any poker player’s career but Heinzelmann was realistic heading into the day with 389 players left.

“It would mean a lot to win the Main Event but it’s a long ways off and I’m not going to expect anything,” he said.

“There’s a lot of variance involved and you have to run really well to get there.”

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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