Christian Rudolph Wins $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship For $1.8M

Christian Rudolph won his first WSOP bracelet and a career-best $1.8 million on August 29

German superstar Christian Rudolph is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner. The German triumphed in the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship and secured his first bracelet. Victory came with a massive $1,800,290 payout, Rudolph’s biggest-ever score.

The tournament attracted 407 players despite its massive $25,000 buy-in. Those entrants were whittled down to the final table of nine last week. The final table, which Rudolph started third in chips, commenced at 13:00 ET on August 29.

Former European Poker Tour champion Aliaksei “BladeRunner1” Boika was the first player eliminated. Shankar “Saquon” Pillai min-raised to 400,000 before calling when Boika jammed for 2,172,276. Pillai showed Ah-Jh and Boika Ad-5d. A jack on the flop was enough to send Boika home in ninth place.

Eight became seven when Paulius “ChickenBBQ” Playsinaitis busted at the hands of Aram “Pusha T” Zobian. Zobian moved all-in from the small blind with Td-8c and Plausinaitis called off his last nine big blinds with Kc-9c. Zobian flopped a ten and his opponent never caught up.

Team partypoker pro Jason Koon went from hero to zero in the space of a few hands. Koon started the day as the chip leader and looked set to win another bracelet. Koon’s Ad-Js lost to the Qs-Qh of Chris Hunichen before Rudolph won the rest of Koon’s chips.

The chips went into the middle preflop, Rudolph holding Ah-Qs and Koon Ts-Td. The board ran 7s-Jh-Ad-7h-Kc to send Koon home in seventh.

Rudolph Claims the Chip Lead

Rudolph soared into the lead when he busted Brunno Botteon in sixth-place. Botteon called off 11 big blinds with Qh-Qd when Rudolph set him all-in with Ac-8c. Rudolph turned an unlikely nine-high straight to send Brazil’s Botteon to the showers.

There was no stopping Rudolph now and he sent Zobian home in fifth. Rudolph min-raised to 600,000 from the button with 9s-9c. Zobian three-bet all-in for 3,239,745 from the small blind with Ah-Qs and Rudolph called. Three spades were on the board by the turn, but the river was the 9h and Zobian was gone.

Aleksejs Ponakovs was the next Rudolph casualty, but it was Hunichen who did all the damage. Hunichen flopped a full house to crack Ponakevs’ aces. Ponakovs managed to double up through Rudolph but then Rudolph’s 5s-5d held against Ponakovs’ Qd-6d to further reduce the player count.

Heads-up was set when Hunichen’s Ac-Kd held against Pillai’s dominated Ah-9c. Both players paired their aces on the flop, but Pillai couldn’t find a nine. This left Rudolph holding a narrow 21,246,792 to 19,453,208 chip lead over Hunichen.

The difference between first and second place was more than $450,000 but no deal was struck. Rudolph ran better heads-up and soon forged a substantial lead for himself.

The final hand took place at the 250,000/500,000/60,000a level. Hunichen moved all-in for 2,492,208 with Kh-Qs. Rudolph called with Qh-Tc and caught a ten on the Th-9d-6s flop. The 3d turn was a brick, as was the 7h river, which busted Hunichen in second place.

Hunichen collected $1,332,097 for his runner-up finish, leaving the champion to bank $1,800,290.

$25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Christian Rudolph Germany $1,800,290
2 Chris Hunichen United States $1,332,097
3 Shankar “Squon” Pillai United States $979,138
4 Aleksejs Ponakovs Latvia $719,700
5 Aram “Push T” Zobian United States $529,005
6 Brunno Botteon Brazil $388,837
7 Jason Koon United States $285,808
8 Paulius “ChickenBBQ” Plausinaitis Lithuania $210,079
9 Aliaksei “BladeRunner1” Boika Belarus $154,416

Both Hunichen and the new champion will now likely battle it out in the $25 million guaranteed Main Event. They certainly have the bankroll for it now after these seven-figure prizes.

Only one Main Event flight remains and there are already almost 5,000 entries.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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