As grinders know, it takes a lot to win a big tournament. The person that takes one down is someone that played their “A Game” throughout the tournament, made correct decisions, maintained aggression, and frankly ran well too. But as the saying goes, “When you’re hot, you’re hot” and at this point Philipp Gruissem is on fire. Three weeks ago, Gruissem won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Alpha8 event in London for his biggest cash ever. A few days ago, Gruissem won his second straight Alpha8 title, winning the St. Kitts event on November 17 for just over one million dollars.
Million Dollar Hero
The biggest benefit to playing incredible poker and being white-hot on the tournament scene are the obscene amounts of money that come your way. Gruissem, for winning just the St. Kitts event, took home a seven-figure payday at $1,086,400, plus the WPT trophy. While this marks his second win in three weeks, it is his third major score in the last month. Back in October, Gruissem finished in third place at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Event. In that finish, he took home $337,915 and cemented his status as a serious force at high roller events. Never mind that the Alpha8 London victory was the largest cash of the three recent scores, at $1.379 million. Simple math tells us that Gruissem is loaded, but to be exact, over the last month he’s won over $2.8 million during the last four weeks.
High Roller Monster
Gruissem is no stranger to success as a high stakes tournament player. In 2013 and prior to the three recent scores, he had already earned four six-figure cashes in high roller events. Back in January he finished in third place at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $98,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller event for $400,700. In February he finished as the runner-up in the Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge for $197,416. Then in April he took down the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific A$50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Re-buy event for $863,386. Finally, in June he finished in third at the GuangDong Asia Millions HK$250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Warm Up tournament for $221,427.
Just this year alone, Gruissem has won over $4.6 million in tournament cashes. On the Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings, he now ranks fourth, behind Daniel Negreanu, Marvin Rettenmaier, and Ole Schemion. He outranks David Peters, Shannon Shorr, Michael Watson, David Sands, Johnathan Duhamel, and Jason Mercier on the top ten list. His career total earnings are in excess of $7.9 million with the recent WPT Alpha8 London event for $1.379 million being his biggest cash during his career.
No Small Task
To start, the final table at the WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts event had Gruissem sit with the second shortest stack. Eventually, notable pros such as Isaac Haxton and Johnathan Quoss were eliminated after a few hours of play. Gruissem then went on a tear and outlasted notable pros Scott Seiver and Jason Koon. Going up to heads-up play against Tom McDonald, Gruissem held a 1.69 million to 1.11 million chip edge. After 26 hands, a champion was crowned when Gruissem moved all-in with A-5 and was called by McDonald’s A-6. Bucking the odds, Gruissem flopped a five which held up, giving Gruissem the win and over a million dollars.
Final Standings of the WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts Event
1. Philipp Gruissem – $1,086,400
2. Tom McDonald – $679,000
3. Michael McDonald – $434,560
4. Jason Koon – $298,760
5. Scott Seiver – $217,280