As we got further into the final-table action he became impossible to ignore, however, and when it came down to the last three players Bihl was very much on the poker radar.
After a prolonged battle against Jennifer Harman that went back and forth many times, Bihl finally pulled away from Harman and at approximately 4:15 a.m. London time claimed victory for himself.
A very tired but pleased Bihl sat down with PokerListings.com right after his big win and gave us the low-down on his big win.
Thomas you've just won the first WSOPE bracelet... how are you feeling?
I'm feeling great and also very exhausted. It was a long, grueling three days. The structure was great but there was room for a lot of play. I think we played for 14 or 15 hours today and I'm quite tired but I feel great.
How much of a factor was fatigue at the final table?
Actually, I was exhausted but I was still able to play my best game. I was sort of on autopilot so it wasn't a negative for me.
It seemed that when the other players got tired you just got better and better. Would you say that's true?
I would agree with that, probably because I play long hours online. I play eight or nine table sit-and-gos which is like robotic play for me. Kirk Morrison seemed in control of the final table at one stage and then he kind of lost control. Something happened to him and he finished third. I have to say hats off to all the players at the final table. I thought it was a very high-quality final table.
It was an incredibly stacked final table. Was there any player in particular you were worried about?
No. I wasn't scared of anyone but I definitely had to respect players like Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Kirk Morrison and Jennifer Harman. They are complete players with experience in all of the five H.O.R.S.E. games.
Thomas Bihl vs. Jennifer Harman
What did you think of your heads-up competition, Jennifer Harman?
She played a great game. Obviously Hold'em is her best game and at one point she was in command. It was back-and-forth between us and it could have gone either way. At the end I got a rush of cards and just managed to close out the game.
What does it mean to you, as a European player, to win the very first WSOP held in Europe?
It means everything to me. It was good for me to play in Europe because when I go to Vegas the jet lag is quite grueling. I was happy to just fly one hour from Hamburg. I'm happy and my sponsor Betfair Poker is happy as well. It's poker history!
What's your preferred game?
My preferred game is Razz but I don't get a lot of action in that so I also play a lot of No-Limit Hold'em sit-and-gos. I'm not a cash game player at all.
I'm sure a lot of people are wondering, as well as myself, where did you learn to play poker, Thomas?
I started playing poker online in May 2004 and just started working my way through the ranks. I'm basically an online player.
What does the future hold for you? Are you going to jump onboard the poker circuit?
I plan on mixing it up between live games and online games. I've actually played a fair bit of live poker and have cashed for over $200,000 although most of that has gone to buy-ins.
I've already heard that you will be playing in the Main Event at the WSOPE this week but do you plan on playing in the 2008 WSOP in Las Vegas?
Yes of course. I will continue to play live but want to mix it up because I cannot be traveling all year long. Nothing will change for me. I'll be the same guy and I'll do the same things. That's my plan.
Thanks so much, Thomas, now go get some sleep!
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And that's that. Bihl got to compete against some of the most elite poker players in the world and survived to tell the tale. Even better, he actually won the entire thing. Bihl kept saying it was a poker dream come true for him and it's hard to argue with that statement. Even Kirk Morrison, who was eliminated third, congratulated the German on the victory and complimented his exceptional play. No doubt about it, Thomas Bihl is a name you're going to want to remember if you follow poker.