Wolfsburg Footballer Max Kruse Shows Poker Face in $10k PLO

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Max Kruse

For German striker Max Kruse playing basic No-Limit Hold’em poker as a hobby just isn’t good enough.

Instead he prefers one of the hardest variants in poker: four-card Pot-Limit Omaha.

Not only that, Kruse is playing arguably the toughest PLO event in the world — the $10,000 World Series of Poker event.

“For me No-Limit Hold’em is a little boring” explained Kruse while on break. “I love action.”

As of the first break on Day 2 of the tournament Kruse was facing some stiff competition with poker legends Eli Elezra and Jason Mercier seated at the same table.

Kruse Already Has a WSOP Final Table Appearance

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Max Kruse

Kruse didn’t regret his decision to buy into the tournament.

“When I play a No-Limit tournament I only get to play one out of 20 hands or so. In PLO with four-cards you can be more aggressive. I love PLO. It’s my favorite game.”

It’s not the only unusual game Kruse plays. Last year Kruse bought into the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 event and ended up finishing third for $36,494.

If Kruse were to win this year’s PLO championship it would mean a payday of nearly $1 million.

Despite the potential for serious money Kruse maintained that poker was just a hobby and he also said he somehow finds a lot of stress relief in high-stakes poker.

“For me it’s just a hobby while I’m on vacation. I can relax when I play poker and think about other things.”

Kruse got into poker when he was playing for SV Werder Bremen. His teammates liked to take trips to the casino and once he tried a hand of poker he was hooked.

There is a small but notable group of poker players in German football, according to Kruse.

“We have some poker players on the national team and a few in Bundesliga,” he said. “Maybe like 10-20% play poker.”

It's not just in Germany either as Spaniard Gerard Piqué has frequent appearances at the WSOP as well as Norwegian John Arne Riise.

New Start for Kruse at VfL Wolfsburg

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Max Kruse

Once the summer’s over Kruse will be back into the thick of international football and he mentioned he’s thrilled to be joining new squad VfL Wolfsburg after playing one year for Borussia Mönchengladbach.

“It will be a new experience to play for Wolfsburg,” he said. “It’s my first season in a Champion’s League. I’m very excited to play against the big teams.”

Of course there’s another world cup going on right now — with the Women’s World Cup currently taking place in Canada — and Kruse, like many Germans, has been following it closely.

“We have a great team,” he said. “Maybe they’ll play the US. I definitely would like to see that match.”

At the time this article was published Kruse was still in the $10k PLO Championship with just 52 players out of 387 left. The money begins at 40 players remaining.

Update: Max Kruse made it all the way to 26th place for a $23,500 prize. It's his second official WSOP cash.

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Max Kruse at 2015 WSOP $10k Pot-Limit Omaha
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Max Kruse in the 2015 $10k WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha

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