Even great poker players need to catch a break sometimes.
Dominik Nitsche caught his first break at approximately 10:30 pm tonight when he was all-in and down to the final card. With only six outs left to make a pair, he ended up spiking a ten on the river, giving him the most critical pot of the night and new life in a determined quest to win a third career WSOP gold bracelet. After another hour of clawing and scratching his way back into the chip lead, Nitsche managed to finally vanquish his final opponent, a tough player named Dave D'Alesandro, who ended up finishing second. Along the way, Nitsche won four other critical all-in confrontations, triggering jubilation from half of a huge gallery, and crushing disappointment within the other who were cheering on D'Alesandro.
Nitsche's third gold bracelet victory was made even sweeter, given the tough caliber of competition he was up against at the end of the tournament. In addition to D'Alesandro, he faced Bob Bounahra, who made history in 2011 as the first Central American player to make the November Nine. The Belize native finished seventh then, and this time ended up in third place.
As the latest poker champion, Nitsche collected $335,659 in prize money, propelling him to well over $2 million in WSOP career earnings. He also was presented with his third gold bracelet on what was his 19th cash, remarkably all within the past three years. One would have a hard time locating a player who has enjoyed as strong a showing these past three years as Nitsche.
It's feels really good to win this one," the German champ said afterward. "Of course, the first one feels really great, and so does the second one, and so does the third. They all feel good in different ways because this is the top prize on poker. This is what we play for."
The victor of this tournament also won this year's National Championship, which was played in Atlantic City last month. Nitsche also took the all-time lead in gold bracelet wins among his fellow countrymen. He also joined Davidi Kitai as the only player with more than three wins from Europe. Moreover, Nitsche is the youngest three-time gold bracelet in history, at age 23. He eclipsed the previous mark set by Phil Ivey, who was 24.
"I have been playing poker for seven years," Nitsche said. "At this rate, I really think I can catch Hellmuth (who has 13 wins, to date). Of course, he and Phil Ivey are great players so to be talked in the same breath as them is really something for me. I will just say I am really proud to come to Las Vegas where I have enjoyed a lot of success over the years."
Third-place finisher Bob Bounahra was looking to join the ever-growing fraternity of players who made the November Nine, and then followed that appearance up with a gold bracelet victory. That list currently includes Ylon Schwartz, Scott Montgomery, Eric Buchman, Phil Ivey, Michael Mizrachi, and Matt Jarvis. However, Bounahra will have to wait for another day.
Nitsche and Bounahra weren't the only players with final table credentials. Jeff Gross (6th) was making his third WSOP final table appearance, while this was Thayer Rasmussen’s (5th) second time in the spotlight.This $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event drew 2,043 players, generating a prize pool of $1,838,700. The top 216 finishers made the money, including Matt Brady (190th), Jonathan Dimmig (105th), Erik Seidel (83rd), Jason Koon (82nd), David Williams (65th), JC Tran (38th), Jason Senti (21st), and Mickey Petersen (14th).Here are the final table results from the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Event 21:1st: Dominik Nitsche - $335,6592nd: Dave D'Alesandro - $208,9313rd: Bob Bounahra - $145,2294th: Zachary Gruneberg - $104,5945th: Thayer Rasmussen - $76,4436th: Jeff Gross - $56,5497th: Eric Milas - $42,3828th: Billy Horan - $32,1689th: David Burt - $24,702