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The Goose is Loose: Steffen Sontheimer Cleaning Up at Poker Masters

The Goose is Loose: Steffen Sontheimer Cleaning Up at Poker Masters 0001
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  • Current Poker Masters leader @RunGo0seRun may be new to you, but he’s certainly not new to poker.

Heading into the inaugural Poker Masters at ARIA Resort and Casino, few people were talking about Steffen Sontheimer. To most, he was just another German, and arguably the least known from that contingent. Now, the man who celebrated a birthday less than a week ago is the talk of the town and primed to become the first "Master of Poker."

Sontheimer, known as “Goose” by his friends and on Twitter as @RunGo0seRun, may be new to you, but he’s certainly not new to poker. In fact, coming into the Poker Masters he had $3,551,390 in tournament earnings, and all of that had come since June 2015.

Fedor Holz Predicts Sontheimer's Breakout Year

Sontheimer's first live tournament cash came in June 2015, a little over two years ago, when he finished 25th in a WSOP $1,500 six-handed event for around $11,000. That was his only cash that year, and he added 11 more in 2016 for a total of $485,856.

But Sontheimer was just getting started. While he has managed to fly under the radar of many in the poker world until his current performance in the Poker Masters, others had already taken notice. Possibly with insider information, fellow German high roller Fedor Holz predicted 2017 would be Sontheimer's "breakout year" and he shared that prediction publicly on Twitter.

It turns out Holz was not wrong. Coming into the Poker Masters, Sontheimer had already racked up over $3 million in tournament cashes in 2017 with more than three months left of the year. It has been a pretty good past five months for the young German.

In April, he took sixth in the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo €100,000 Super High Roller for $415,348. In May, Sontheimer notched his best score to date in the ARIA Super High Roller 19 $100,000 Super High Roller for finishing runner-up to his countryman, Christian Christner for $1,223,264. In July, Sontheimer won the Bellagio $25,000 High Roller for $111,648 and later won the 2017 Poker EM €25,000 Super High Roller for $501,183, with a sixth-place finish in the Triton Super High Roller Series Budva for $313,423 sandwiched in between.

Consider this amazing fact – coming into the Poker Masters, Sontheimer had 27 documented tournament cashes, of which 14 had come in High Roller events.

Cleaning Up at the Poker Masters

Within the past week, Sontheimer has added $1,221,000 to that total after finishing fourth in the Poker Masters Event #1 for $204,000, winning Event #2 for $900,000 the following day, and taking fifth in Event #4 for $117,000. In Event #3, he made the final table (but not the TV final table), barely missing the money by bubbling in eighth place. With his three cashes thus far, he takes the lead going into the final event of the Poker Masters.

If you recall, the player with the best results (highest total earnings) throughout all five Poker Masters tournaments (four $50,000 buy-in tournaments capped off by a $100,000 freezeout finale) will win The Poker Masters Purple Jacket™.

At this point, Sontheimer is the odds-on favorite to win, but he faces some stiff competition from the likes of Event #3 champ Bryn Kenney, who has amassed $1.085 million in earnings, and Event #1 winner Nick Schulman, who currently sits in third with $918,000 in winnings. Brandon Adams ($819,000) and Doug Polk ($612,000) round out the top five.

Others who could still surpass Sontheimer include his friends and fellow Germans Holz and Stefan Schillhabel, who have won $550,000 and $306,000 respectively. Likewise, it’s too early to count out Germans Dominik Nitsche ($178,500) and Koray Aldemir ($153,000).

Here's a look at the standings going into the final event.

RankPlayerCountryWinsCashesTV Final TablesFinal TablesEvents PlayedWinnings
1Steffen SontheimerGermany13344$1,221,000
2Bryn KenneyUSA12224$1,085,000
3Nick SchulmanUSA11114$918,000
4Brandon AdamsUSA11113$819,000
5Doug PolkUSA 2224$612,000
6Erik SeidelUSA 1124$576,000
7Matt HymanUSA 1113$561,000
8Fedor HolzGermany 1114$550,000
9Jake SchindlerUSA 2224$409,500
10Stefan SchillhabelGermany 1114$306,000
11Tom MarcheseUSA 1113$300,000
12Adrian MateosSpain 2224$277,500
13David PetersUSA 1114$273,000
14Phil HellmuthUSA 1114$200,000
15Dan SmithUSA 1114$192,000
16Dominik NitscheGermany 1114$178,500
17Justin BonomoUSA 1114$175,500
18Christian ChristnerGermany 1124$175,000
19Koray AldemirGermany 1114$153,000
20Cary KatzUSA 1114$120,000
21Daniel NegreanuCanada 1014$102,000
22Dan ShakUSA 1012$100,000
23Sergio AidoSpain 1114$96,000
24Zach ClarkUSA 0111$0
25Sean WinterUSA 0014$0
26Stephen ChidwickUK 0014$0

Sontheimer Eyes $50K from Negreanu, Frustrates Hellmuth

Sontheimer, who now resides in Brighton, UK, also stands to win an extra $50,000 as he is one of the players who bet Daniel Negreanu that he’d win the Poker Masters. Negreanu, who would win over $1 million in side bets for taking down the Poker Masters, cashed in just one of the preliminary events (eighth place in Event #1) for $102,000. If he’s to stand a chance of collecting the extra million, he’ll likely have to win the $100,000 finale and hope those with preliminary success come up short in that tournament.

Meanwhile, Sontheimer has proven to be a thorn in the side of Phil Hellmuth throughout the Poker Masters.

In a hand on Day 1 of Event #4, Christner raised to 11,000 from under the gun and was called by Sontheimer in the small blind and Hellmuth in the big blind. The flop came {8-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{3-Hearts} and the action was checked to Christner who continued for 13,000. Sontheimer called and Hellmuth check-raised to 35,000. Christner folded and Sontheimer still called.

The turn was the {2-Hearts} and both players checked to the {10-Spades} on the river. Both players checked again and Sontheimer tabled the {6-Hearts}{6-Clubs}. Hellmuth couldn't beat it, mucked his cards, and mumbled under his breath about how bad "these young kids" play.

Sontheimer has taken the “Poker Brat’s” jabs and has joined the throng of German players who’ve needled Hellmuth throughout the series. For Sontheimer, he’s taken most of his shots on Twitter while letting his play speak for itself at the tables.

Clearly Sontheimer is doing something right, and the poker world, Hellmuth included, will just have to wait and see if the young German can close out the inaugural Poker Masters with another impressive performance in Event #5: $100,000 No-Limit Hold'em taking place Sept. 18-20.

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