Last American Gone – Pius Heinz and Martin Staszko in Heads-Up Showdown


That’s the best word to describe the unlikely course of events during the opening moments of the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship Final Table.

Ben Lamb, widely-regarded as the world’s top tournament poker player at the moment, and winner of the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” title, busted out in shocking fashion on Tuesday night at the Penn and Teller Theatre in Las Vegas.

His elimination was not as stunning as the manner in which it occurred, which many observers would have thought unthinkable.

On the very first hand dealt during the three-handed session, Lamb made a baffling move, trying to steal from his opponent Martin Staszko in what can only be deemed as highly-risky.  Facing a strong pre-flop raise from his Czech opponent, Lamb re-raised holding king-jack – quite a marginal hand.  Staszko, holding pocket sevens, shoved all-in which left Lamb shaking his head pondering a bad situation.  Pot-committed to the hand, Lamb reluctantly called.  Staszko was all-in for his tournament life.

Lamb found himself only a slight dog to the underpair.  But he knew he’d played the hand way too strongly.  When five blanks hit the board, Lamb was left with a severely short stack.  He was eliminated just ten minutes later.

Accordingly, Lamb joined the ranks of 6,863 other (eliminated) players who entered this year’s championship, who are now forced to look forward to next year, and beyond.

Nonetheless, Lamb could certainly take great pride in what was a remarkable accomplishment.  He collected his biggest poker payout ever, $4,021,138 for third place.  He also became this year’s undisputed “Player of the Year.”  The gold bracelet winner’s summer accomplishments were so strong that he had the title locked up no matter where he finished at the Main Event Final table.  As it stands now, Lamb ended up with a gold bracelet, a third-place finish in the Main Event, a runner-up finish in another Event, and five top-12 finishes.  Even more remarkably, Lamb only entered a dozen or so events this year.

With Lamb’s stunning departure, two Europeans are left to battle for the world championship.  Martin Staszko (Czech Republic) now holds a slight chip lead over Pius Heinz (Germany).

Final table action could last deep into the night (Tuesday) given the large stack sizes.  For the first time in history, poker players and fans everywhere can tune in and watch all the action live.  Comprehensive coverage with expert analysis also includes player hole cards being shown to viewers – a WSOP first.

to watch live WSOP Main Event Final Table action.  For those who prefer to read a written account of the action, CLICK HERE to see the live log of every Final Table hand.

To see the latest chip counts of all remaining players, CLICK HERE.  Updates will be posted regularly as players are eliminated and chip counts change. 

The official report of the entire tournament, complete with statistics, historical information, records, and quotes from each of the nine players will be posted to at the conclusion of the tournament.