An American financial professional and former semi-pro poker player on assignment in Poland won a World Series of Poker bracelet in Berlin, Germany, early Thursday morning.
New York's Ryan Hefter took down the 2015 WSOP Europe's Event #4: "Monster Stack" No-Limit Hold'em, defeating a field of 580 entries to claim the bracelet and €176,205 first place prize.
"I can't even put into words how I feel right now," said Hefter, who is currently on a two-year assignment with Credit Suisse in Poland. "I don't play many tournaments. I used to play online professionally when I was younger in the States, but I'm not a tournament player, mostly cash.
"I just took a shot. I came down to Berlin for a few days, busted out of the €560 'OktoberFest', tried this one and ended up taking it down."
Play resumed on the event's third day Wednesday with 22 players remaining. Once the final table of nine was reached, Denmark's Henrik Hecklen held a slight lead over a tightly bunched field with Hefter near the bottom.
American David Peters booked his 34th WSOP cash lifetime hitting the rail ninth when he called all in with pocket eights facing a Diego Ventura shove. Ventura turned the into a flush.
Hecklen then extended his lead by busting Richard Sheils in a massive preflop flip. Hecklen's pocket jacks fell behind Sheils' on a flop, but Hecklen turned a straight.
They took a dinner break seven handed and returned to see Carlos Chang take the lead making a one-card straight against Hecklen.
Hecklen got that back and more when he doubled through Justin Frolian finding a miracle river to turn pocket aces into a full house and crack Frolian's flopped straight. Frolian busted a hand later getting it in with pocket fives against Chang's and hitting the exit when Chang four flushed.
Armin Eckl busted fifth when Hecklen made trips against his suited rags in a three-way pot, then Chang sent Ventura out fourth making a set of sixes against his overcards.
Hecklen was the next to go, shoving over top of a Gilbert Diaz open and running the into Diaz's .
Diaz took the lead into three-handed play, holding as many chips as Chang and Hefter combined. But Hefter grabbed all of of Chang's chips winning a flip after turning pocket sevens into a full house against Chang's big slick to start heads-up play about even.
With blinds high and stacks shallow, heads-up boiled down to a series of all in flips for the bracelet, with the worst hand and shorter stack seemingly unbeatable until Hefter won two in a row to seal the victory.
"We had been playing for 14 hours here and we had about 20 big blinds each," Hefter said of the heads-up match. "He's a really good player, so what am I going to do? I'm not going to outplay him with 20 big blinds. I just figured I'd pick a hand I like and go for it.
"It feels amazing. Like I said, I used to play semi-professionally online, but I work, so I don't have time to tour the circuits here. I try to play a couple when I can and to win one just feels unbelievable. I can't describe it."
Here's how the final table finished up:
|1||Ryan Hefter||United States||€176,205|
|9||David Peters||United States||€16,455|
As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage.