The German poker narrative revolves mostly around big successes in the world's biggest events, but they scored a victory in a much smaller one on Friday night.
German amateur Paul Hofer won Event #61: $1,111 The Little One for One Drop, beating out one of the biggest fields of 2015 – 4,555 players – for $657,225 and his first gold bracelet. He did so in front of a loud and supportive German rail that included plenty of stars of the poker world, players such as Ole Schemion, Thomas Muehloecker, and Dominik Nitsche.
“The German guys...I think we're one of the best groups,” said Hofer, who hails from Leipzig. “It's a super community who came together over the last year, and it's almost like a family.”
He needed some timely luck as a slow pace of play led to stacks being short across the board for much of the final table. That increased the variance, but Hofer capitalized as he caught the cards at the right time. He eliminated Carlos Chang in fifth by jamming the in the small blind for eight big blinds and outdrawing Chang's . Then, he hit a wheel with the all in preflop against the of bracelet winner John Reading to send him out fourth, much to the delight of the boisterous railbirds.
That gave Hofer a 3-1 lead over the final two players' combined stacks, and he eliminated Senovio Ramirez III and Mario Lopez in the next two hands.
“I was running super well in the end,” Hofer said. “I played well, and I ran pretty well. That's the best mixture to win a tournament.”
Hofer, 24, had put together a decent run of tournament scores grinding out small buy-in prelim events on the European Poker Tour but considers himself an amateur and isn't sure if he will try to play for a living despite winning “so much money.” He spent two years as a student at a university but has taken a break while he decides what to do with his life.
With his newfound bankroll, he has at least one more option and plenty of time to plot his course.
Final Table Results
|1||Paul Hofer||Leipzig, Germany||$645,969|
|3||Senovio Ramirez III||Mission, TX||$287,620|
|4||John Reading||Rochester, MN||$212,559|
|5||Carlos Chang||Taipei, Taiwan||$158,404|
|6||Dustin Lee||Waipahu, HI||$119,049|
|7||Rainer Kempe||Berlin, Germany||$90,189|
|8||Jason Caulk||New Palestine, IN||$68,912|
|9||Brett Shaffer||Beloit, KS||$53,088|