World Series of Poker Europe Main Event’s Record Breaking Field Topped by Former Professional Basketball Player

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The largest World Series of Poker Europe Main Event is in the books, and topping the field of 817 was Max Neugebauer, who won €1,500,000 ($1.6 million) for taking down the European Championship. The win dwarves his previous best cash of $27,000 as severely as the 26-year-old Austrian dwarves his opponents in height. At 6’8″, he briefly played professionally in Europe before knee problems pushed him to the felt.

Max Neugebauer is the 2023 World Series of Poker European Champion. (Image: WSOP)

It all paid off this week in the €10,350 Main Event.

“It means a lot. I mean, the bracelet itself means a lot. And then it’s actually the WSOP Main Event means even a bit more,” he told a WSOP reporter. “What means most to me, honestly, is my friends being here and cheering me on. It was really wonderful. I don’t know what the experience would’ve been without them.”

Runner-up was Eric Tsai, a Taiwanese poker blogger with more than 125,000 followers. Despite the many followers, Tsai didn’t have many results until nearly winning the bracelet at King’s Resort in Rozvadov. He took home €891,000 ($951,000) for nearly winning it.

He did go out swinging in the final hand after blasting away with busted flush draw. Neugebauer won the tournament by making a hero all-in call with third pair, even though an ace fell on the turn.

Here’s what he told the WSOP about that hand:

“I just thought, he wouldn’t c-bet from how he played before. He wouldn’t c-bet his range. I think he would’ve checked a lot of ace-x. So I discounted a lot of ace-x. I thought it was very, very easy to overbluff this spot because he has all the bluffs. He doesn’t have all the ace-x. Also, it seems like a very good card for him to bluff, and with those wide ranges I felt like it’s just a very decent call because he was playing somewhat aggressive. I felt like he wanted to push it and overtake the chip lead. With those wide ranges in that spot I felt like it was a good call, and I called.”

Michele Tocci’s third-place finish was good for his lifetime best. The €639,000 ($682,211) pushed his total over the million mark.

Fourth-place finisher Kasparas Klezys had a very nice WSOP Europe. Besides winning nearly a half-million dollars in the Main Event, he made two other final tables, finishing second in a €1,100 Pot Limit Omaha bounty event for €13,979 ($14,926), and third in the €5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event for €97,600 ($104,728), his previous best.

Rounding out the top five was American Michael Rocco, who had an even better 2023 WSOP Europe with €718,425 in cashes. He was the runner-up in the €25,000 high-roller event for €365,000 ($391,858) before cashing another €341,00 ($364,059) for fifth in the Main.

A total of 712 players entered with 105 re-buys, which generated a prize pool of €7,761,500 ($8,300,148), shattering the €5,000,000 guarantee.  It’s the third year in a row that the WSOP Europe Main Event saw an increase in field size.

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