Max Steinberg Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

23-Year-Old Poker Pro Gets His Redemption Following Second-Place Finish Two Years Ago

Steinberg Collects $440,238 in Prize Money

Tournament Pro and Heads-Up Specialist Overcomes Huge Field of 2,795 Players

26 of 32 Gold Bracelets Won By Americans – To Date
2012 WSOP Crosses Midway Point:  33 Gold Bracelets Won – 28 More at Stake!


Max Steinberg won the most recent World Series of Poker tournament, which ended tonight at the Rio in Las Vegas.  He overcame a massive field size and three long days and nights of intense competition.
Steinberg won the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event, which was the 33rd of 61 gold bracelet events on this year’s schedule.  He pocketed the handsome sum of $440,238 in prize money -- which more than doubles all of his previous combined WSOP earnings.  He also received poker’s supreme symbol of excellence – a WSOP gold bracelet.  This marked his first such victory.
Steinberg is a 23-year-old professional poker player, who learned much of his craft from playing online.  The Washington, D.C. native how resides in Oakland, CA.  He specializes in short-handed and heads-up play.
After surviving an initial field size totaling 2,795 players, Steinberg defeated a formidable final table lineup.  After about six initial hours of play on Tuesday, the top three finishers were set.  They battled for nearly four hours, trading the chip lead back and forth several times.  No doubt, one of Steinberg’s toughest foes proved to be Matt Stout (Las Vegas, NV), who finished third.

Samuel Gerber (Brugg, Switzerland), the runner-up, was even more problematic.  The last two players shared at least one defining characteristic aside from both being in their early 20s.  Both had finished as runner-up in events played two years ago.  Naturally, Steinberg and Gerber were both equally motivated for another chance to earn a victory, with Steinberg gaining the upper hand on this occasion.
As runner-up, Gerber barely missed out on becoming only the second WSOP gold bracelet winner in history from the nation of Switzerland.
With this victory, Steinberg now has one win, two final table appearances, and four cashes on his WSOP résumé.  He has also massed nearly $800,000 in career earnings, all won during the past three years.

Name:  Max Steinberg

Birthplace:  Washington, D.C.

Age:  23

Current Residence:  Oakland, CA

Marital Status:  Single

Children:  None

Education:  Attended American University (Washington, DC) for two years

Number of WSOP Cashes: 4

Number of WSOP final table appearances: 2

Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament): 1

Best Previous WSOP finish: 2nd (2010)

Total WSOP Earnings: $811,048

Other Interesting Things:  Practices Transcendental Meditation, Has twin brother


Question:  How does it feel to win this time?
Steinberg:  It feels really, really good.  I got second two years ago, and I really, really wanted that bracelet.  And it just felt good to, you know, play really well at the final table and get it in good and win, feeling like I was the best player there.

Question: Do you see a divide between young players being really good at this game (Hold’em) and older players being better at the split and draw games?
Steinberg:  I would say in No-Limit Hold’em -- especially how these tournaments are set up -- yeah, the younger players are better.  I don’t really play mixed games, so I can’t really give my opinion on that.  In terms of tournaments like these, I think the younger players are usually going to prevail.  I think they’re just well-practiced in this style of tournaments.  They just know their stuff.

Question: You said you got second place last year.  Was there any added pressure coming into this final table?
Steinberg: There’s definitely pressure coming in.  When I came into the day, I was just definitely feeling, ‘I just want to get to the final table.  And then we’ll see what happens from there.’  Once I got there, I felt very, very comfortable.  And, you know, I just felt really at ease here because I didn’t really feel any pressure.  Especially, the heads up.  Someone asked me if I felt extra pressure because I had gotten second before.  It was actually the opposite. Like, no pressure at all.

Question:  Tell us more about your poker background.
Steinberg:  I play heads up sit-and-goes online….my background is primarily online.  And then, I moved to tournaments, when I turned 21, which was in 2010, I think.  No, it was actually 2009. Anyway, come from mostly an online background, but I’ve played probably 50 tournaments in my lifetime.  I think I have a decent grasp on how to play these things and do well.

Question:  Can you tell us a little about how you grew up and how you got into poker in the first place?  I know you went to an interesting high school.
Steinberg:  The high school thing is a long story. I went to a high school—it was an alternative school—where we meditated twice a day.  And I still do meditate every-so-often.  I have an identical twin brother.  We started playing poker when we were young, just in our friend’s basement.  We started really low.  We started with like 50 dollars; we shared an account, an online account.  And we just worked our way up and worked together to improve at poker.  And eventually, we both turned pro.  Now he works at a hedge fund sort of company, and I still play poker.  But he still follows and cheers me on.

Question:  You seem to have a very positive attitude.  Do you think the meditation has a calming effect?
Steinberg:  Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’d say meditation has a calming effect. But, you know, that’s just how I approach poker...the only thing you can control is how well you’re going to play.  And if I get distraught over with what happens when I get it in with tens against ace/king and lose, or whatever happens, then that’s just no fun.  So, you know, I’d rather just take a positive attitude and just try to play my best and have fun doing that, instead of just worry about what’s gonna happen.

Question:  You said you were online a lot.  What have you been doing since Black Friday?
Steinberg: It’s turned to doing a lot more live play.  I’ve taken kind of a break also. It’s just a little here-and-there, working on other things, living sort of a leisurely lifestyle.

Question:  You don’t seem that excited about playing live poker.  Is this a long-term plan for you?
Steinberg: I would say that, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be playing poker.  But I think that I do get excited playing live poker.  Maybe I’m not yelling or screaming, but I do enjoy myself.  Online is sort of my thing.  I still play online too.  I just had enough money to sit on for awhile.  Just, you know, I’ve just been doing my thing.  I was really excited for the WSOP because it was a chance to play poker every day again and just see what I can do.  We’ll see what my future holds - I’m not really sure what it’s going to be, though.


This was classified as WSOP schedule Event #33, since it’s the 33rd gold bracelet of 61 to be awarded this summer in Las Vegas.  The tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, starting on Saturday at 5 p.m. and concluded on Tuesday night at 12:45 a.m.

The total duration of the final table was about nine hours.

The final table included no former gold bracelet winners.  However, the first and second place finishers had both previously been runners up in events played in 2010.

The final table had eight of nine players aged in their 20s – which was the youngest final table group, this year.  The winner was 23.  The runner-up was 23, also.

The runner-up was Samuel Gerber, from Brugg, Switzerland.  He now has two second-place finishes.  Gerber just missed becoming the second player in history from Switzerland to win a WSOP gold bracelet.  The first (by Guillaume Humbert) took place at least year’s WSOP Europe, played in Cannes, France.

Among the notable players who finished in the money were – Lisa Hamilton (19th), who won the Ladies World Championship three years ago; Doug Carli (22nd), who has more WSOP Circuit cashes than any other player in history; Humberto Brenes (148th),who now has 66 WSOP cashes which ranks seventh all-time; Erik Seidel (153rd), who now has 71 WSOP cashes, which ranks third all-time; and Andy Frankenberger (165th), who won his second gold bracelet last week.