There’s no shortage of professional mainstream sports stars who have gone on to win at the poker tables – the competitiveness of the activity drives them. The latest to add his name to the list is Max Kruse, a Bundesliga soccer player who just took down a World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) event.
Kruse shares the same space as Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, Jr. or former MLB player Alex Rodriguez. They have all a thirst for success at the poker tables but, out of these three, only Kruse can brag about having won a WSOP bracelet.
The 34-year-old forward won the €1,650 (US$1,650) WSOPE No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max Tournament taking place in the Czech town of Rozvadov. Kruse, who has had difficulty on the soccer field over the years, could possibly make a living as a professional poker player.
From Soccer Kicks to Poker Chips
Kruse scored a payday of €134,152 (US$134,152) with the win, but it wasn’t his first. In 2020, he pocketed a little more than $57,000 in the $25,000 No-Limit Hold ’em Poker Players Championship. He followed that up last year with a third-place finish for just over $62,000 in the GGPoker WSOP Online $10K Heads-Up Championship.
However, his best WSOP result was in 2014. That year, he finished third in the WSOP $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball for $36,494.
"I’m overwhelmed. It’s the greatest feeling to have finally won a WSOP bracelet."https://t.co/ZrgiubsirE pic.twitter.com/VwDLGSLZkk
— WSOP – World Series of Poker (@WSOP) November 9, 2022
Kruse cruised his way to victory by eliminating French player Doran Melchers in the final heads-up battle of the seventh WSOPE event. Down 2:1 in chips, he launched a surge that culminated in a showdown between his pocket 2s and Melchers’ A-Q. Although his opponent found his pair on the turn, a deuce on the river gave Kruse a set to win the hand and the event.
The Bundesliga player has been with Wolfsburg, but is leaving after falling out with coach Niko Kovac. There are rumors about a move to MLS, but there’s also a chance he could return to his former team, Werder Bremen. Kruse played for them from 2016 to 2019.
Short Deck Event Delivers Tall Prize
In another WSOPE event, Switzerland’s Emil Bise secured the €2,200 (US$2,200) Short Deck event for his second WSOP bracelet. To that, he added €49,521 (US$49,521) in prize money.
45 participants and 46 re-entries pushed the prize pool to €172,900 ($172,900), with 14 players remaining in the final run. The bubble had burst on Day 1, and those still at the table were set to take home at least €3,572 (US$3,572).
As players continued to hit the rail, Bise was in a position to be next. However, he doubled against Tom Paz and Simeon Tsonev, giving him some breathing room. With a comfortable lead, Jakub Koleckar went heads-up against Bise, but the Swiss pro doubled, grabbed the lead and eventually the bracelet.
It came down to pocket Q vs. A-10, with Bise holding most of the chips and the pair. The flop didn’t help either, but Bise secured his win on the turn when a Q appeared. At that point, they were drawing dead and the 6 on the river was irrelevant.
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