This was expected to be the year of the Germans at the World Series of Poker, and so far the players from Deutschland have lived up to the hype.
George Danzer became the first two-time bracelet winner at this year’s WSOP as he won the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split 8 or Better event late Thursday at the Rio Convention Center.
Danzer defeated John Racener after nearly an hour of heads-up play, and the 30-year-old online poker pro from Salzberg, Germany, earned $352,696 for the victory.
Countryman Dominik Nitsche won the WSOP Circuit National Championship on May 24, three days before the start of the seven-week event at the Rio, and added another bracelet on June 11.
“The community is very huge, and we are traveling together and training together and preparing as good as we can for the big events. It’s nice to get some results,” Danzer said of the German players. “It’s a nice combination of having fun and playing as hard as we can together.”
With his trademark scarf and mohawk haircut, Danzer has been one of the hottest players at this year’s WSOP. It was the third final table and fifth cash this summer for Danzer, and the victory increased his lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race.
Danzer, who won the $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Razz tournament on June 8, has earned more than $772,000 thus far at the WSOP.
Danzer reached five final tables without winning a bracelet before breaking through twice this year.
“I don’t think there is a special thing I did different this year,” Danzer said. “I had probably the exact same preparation as last year. I got close last year, so the difference was a couple of coin flips. That was all that changed from last year to this year. … When I needed the right card, it came this time.”
Racener finished as the runner-up in a WSOP tournament for the second time in his career. The Port Richey, Fla., resident was second to Jonathan Duhamel in the 2010 Main Event.
This was Racener’s third cash of the summer, and he collected nearly $218,000.
Racener and Danzer were involved in a controversial hand with only three players remaining. Racener called Danzer’s bet after the final cards were dealt and turned over his hand to show three 3s. Danzer, believing he was beat, picked up his cards and then realized he had made a flush to scoop the pot.
Racener thought Danzer’s hand was dead when he picked up his cards, and two floors were called to provide a ruling. Both floors ruled Danzer had done nothing wrong since he wasn’t faced with a bet, and tournament director Jack Effel confirmed the ruling over the phone.
The hand knocked Racener down to approximately 100,000 in chips, about 3 percent of the chips in play, but he doubled up twice before the dinner break to climb back into contention.
“It was a slowroll because it looked like I was going to muck my hand and then I showed the winner. It was a little confusing,” Danzer said. “There was no hard feelings.”
Calvin Anderson, a highly regarded online player who also was seeking his second bracelet of this year’s WSOP, finished in third place after holding the chip lead for a portion of three-handed play.
The tournament drew 134 entrants for a prize pool of more than $1.2 million, and the stacked final table included 11 WSOP gold bracelets among the nine players. ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad finished 10th.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.