Martin Staszko is a Czech professional poker player best known for finishing runner-up in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event. Staszko then lost the race for the title to the young German player Pius Heinz and collected almost $5.5 million for his achievement.
Martin Staszko was born in 1976 in Třinec, Czechoslovakia. Before he started playing poker in 2007, Staszko mastered in other mind games such as mariáš (a very popular trick-taking card game in the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and chess. He began playing poker online from freerolls and then leveled up to some bigger tournaments. He was also working full-time at a car factory which left Staszko little time for poker. Still, his poker earnings exceeded his monthly salary by far and so eventually Staszko decided to leave his job and pursuit a career as a professional poker player.
Staszko was born to a family of an iron works worker and a pharmacist. He got involved in gaming and betting while he was in High School. Staszko was a keen mariáš player and when he started studying at the university he was able to support himself from gambling winnings. Staszko became the champion of his university's darts league and was also known as a very successful chess player.
World Series of Poker
Staszko first entered the World Series of Poker in 2011 and gained instant success. Before the start of the Main Event he already had 4 cashes that summer and a total of $23,000 in winnings. However, it was just a warmup before the most important tournament of them all, the WSOP Main Event. First Staszko made the November Nine leading the final table in chips. However, when the play resumed three months later, it was the short stack Pius Heinz who emerged from the seventh place and eventually outplayed Staszko heads-up taking the Czech's title dreams away.
Martin Staszko's Top 5 WSOP Results
|2011||$10,000 Main Event||2nd||$5,433,086|
|2011||$1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo||39th||$5,874|
|2011||$1,500 No-Limit Hold'em||58th||$10,156|
|2011||$1,500 No-Limit Hold'em||112th||$4,242|
European Poker Tour
Staszko has a total of seven European Poker Tour cashes on his record. His best EPT achievement came at the EPT Sanremo in 2012 when Staszko fell just short of winning the €300 No-Limit Hold'em / Turbo event. He finished the tournament in second place for €5,000. He scored his best EPT Main Event result at the EPT Deauville in 2010. Staszko took home €35,000 for finishing the tournament in eleventh place.
Martin Staszko's Top 5 EPT Results
|2012||Sanremo €300 No-Limit Hold'em / Turbo||2nd||€5,000|
|2012||Campione €1,000 No-Limit Hold'em||9th||€3,370|
|2010||Deauville €5,000 Main Event||11th||€35,000|
|2011||Barcelona €1,000 No-Limit Hold'em||11th||€4,800|
|2012||Copenhagen DKr 35,000 Main Event||16th||DKr 75,000|
In 2010 Staszko came in tenth at the Unibet Open Prague €1,500 Main Event collecting €8,200 in cash. Then two years later, in 2012 he final tabled the German Championship of Poker, Grand Final (GCOP) €2,500 Main Event in Rozvadov. He finished the tournament in sixth place for €21,360 in prize money.
After his runner-up finish at the 2011 WSOP Main Event, Staszko signed a sponsorship deal with the world's larges online poker site PokerStars. Along with his fellow countryman Martin Hrubý, Staszko was a member of Team PokerStars Czech Republic.
Did you know?
- Before becoming a professional poker player Staszko used to work as a foreman at an automobile manufacturing plant's paint shop.
- Staszko was the first Czech player to ever make the World Series of Poker Main Event final table.