Fedor Holz channeled his inner Atlanta Falcons, surrendering a 6-1 chip advantage when heads-up play against fellow German Steffen Sontheimer began in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Masters Event #2 at the Aria in Las Vegas.
After Holz delivered a bad beat to eliminate Tom Marchese in 3rd place ($300,000), he appeared moments away from finishing off his first career Poker Masters title. But then Sontheimer happened.
Ich Bin Ein Poker Meister
It’s rare for Holz, one of the winningest tournament players in history ($23.9 million lifetime) at just 24-years-old, to lose heads-up to anyone, let alone squander a massive lead.
But Friday’s heads-up match wasn’t his best performance. Part of the credit goes to Sontheimer, a multi-million-dollar tournament winner in his own right, for throwing him off his game. These two countrymen have faced off many times in the past and know each other’s style of play.
Sontheimer used that to his advantage. Early on, he doubled up upon flopping a set and rivering quads by eliciting an all-in bluff from Holz, who was holding jack-high.
Then a few hands later, Sontheimer rivered a flush and found a way to get value. After checks around on the flop and turn, he fired a bet that was twice the size of the pot. The bet confused Holz, who made the call with a small pair.Sontheimer used that to his advantage. Early on, he doubled up upon flopping a set and rivering quads by eliciting an all-in bluff from Holz, who was holding jack-high.
By sizing his bet to look like a bluff, Sontheimer took the chip lead.
In fairness to the so-called “retired” poker pro, the cards simply didn’t go his way heads-up. But he also gave away a large portion of his stack on failed bluffs and calling off value bets.
But, again, much of the credit goes to Sontheimer for playing near flawless heads-up poker and defeating one of the game’s best players.
Poker Masters Event #2 Final Table Results
1 Steffen Sontheimer (Germany) $900,000
2 Fedor Holz (Germany) $550,000
3 Tom Marchese (United States) $300,000
4 Phil Hellmuth (United States) $200,000
5 Christian Christner (Germany) $175,000
6 Adrian Mateos (Spain) $150,000
7 Bryn Kenney (United States) $100,000
With the victory, Sontheimer moves into the lead in the race for the “Purple Jacket,” awarded to the overall money winner in the five-tournament series. He finished in 4th place ($204,000) in Event #1.
Holz, meanwhile, may not have won the event, but he’s now guaranteed himself a profit for the series, which is good news to the eventual winner of his one percent profit giveaway. He’s up $300,000 for the series after a total of five buy-ins during the first three $50,000 events. That’s $3,000 to the lucky winner so far with two more events to go.
Battle of Wits: Hellmuth vs. Holz
In case you didn’t know, Phil Hellmuth is the most amazing poker player that has ever lived. Just ask him, he’ll tell you, as he did with his final table mates in Poke Masters Event #2.
After Hellmuth folded a pair of jacks, Marchese showed him a bluff with 2♣3♣ on the river with no pair. That triggered an epic meltdown from the self-proclaimed “best hold’em player ever.”
“What the f*ck are they doing?” the Poker Brat cried. “Wow, defend with deuce-f*cking-three? I wish I could play with you guys every day.”
“We wish the same,” Holz said.
“Really, Fedor? I have the best no-limit ROI in history,” Hellmuth fired back.
Final Table of American Pros
Sontheimer fell just short of going three-for-three in Poker Masters final tables. He was the bubble boy, finishing in 8th place after losing a race to Bryn Kenney, who currently leads the 2017 GPI Player of the Year race.
With Sontheimer eliminated, Event #3 played down yesterday to an unusually American-heavy final table, with six of the remaining seven players hailing from the United States.
Dan Smith, one of the best players in the game to have never won a WSOP bracelet, cruised through Day One of the third $50,000 buy-in Poker Masters event. He has 1,982,000 chips to lead the way with seven players out of the 48 entries remaining. The tournament pays the top seven with $960,000 going to first.
Poker Masters Event #3 Final Table Chip Stacks
Dan Smith (United States) 1,982,000
Doug Polk (Unites States) 1,436,000
Jake Schindler (United States) 1,240,000
Bryn Kenney (United States) 576,000
Sergio Aido (Spain) 327,000
Cary Katz (United States) 224,000
Erik Seidel (United States) 221,000
Day Two will get underway at 12 noon PT on Saturday. You can catch the action on a 30-minute delay starting at 12:30 on the PokerGO app.
Smith will be joined at the final table by Doug Polk (1,436,000). The YouTube sensation and poker coach finally caught some cards after being card dead the first two events of this series.
Polk, like Holz, is offering a one percent profit giveaway to his social media followers. He’s currently in for $150,000 (three buy-ins) this series, meaning he’ll need to finish in at least 4th place ($192,000) on Saturday to move into the black.