Leon Sturm Bests Bill Klein in Event #23: $50,000 High Roller ($1,546,024)
Table Of Contents
Five of poker's best high-stakes players battled for eight hours as Event #23: $50,000 High Roller (8-Handed) reached a conclusion at the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Germany's Leon Sturm came out on top for his first bracelet and $1,546,024 as he denied American businessman Bill Klein a maiden bracelet.
The age gap between Sturm, 22, and Klein, 75, may have been the biggest ever in a heads-up bracelet battle, reminiscent of then 22-year-old Adrian Mateos' victory over 70-year-old John Smith in the 2017 $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. The audience-favorite Klein made several gutsy bluffs throughout the day but ultimately fell to the youngest player, who was making his WSOP final table debut.
“It does feel amazing," Sturm told PokerNews in a winner's interview. "The bracelet is something special; it means more than just a trophy, I guess. Before, I was thinking that trophies and bracelets don’t mean much to me. But I think a bracelet is special, so that’s pretty cool. The competition was really tough, so that makes it better.”
High roller regular Seth Davies was looking to remove his name from the "Best Without a Bracelet" list but fell in fifth place before Day 3 chip leader and 2022 $250,000 Super High Roller champion Alex Foxen went out in fourth, while Dutchman Jans Arends couldn't win his second bracelet and was eliminated in third place.
Event #23: $50,000 High Roller (8-Handed) Final Table Results
|2nd||Bill Klein||United States||$955,513|
|4th||Alex Foxen||United States||$512,824|
|5th||Seth Davies||United States||$385,617|
|6th||Justin Bonomo||United States||$295,169|
|7th||Sam Soverel||United States||$230,066|
|8th||Sung Joo Hyun||South Korea||$182,662|
Riders on the Sturm
As it turns out, this wasn't Sturm's first $1.5 million poker score of the month. Just last week, the German took down a $10,000 buy-in GGPoker Super MILLION$ event for $1,518,400. To make things even sweeter, he satellited into the $50,000 High Roller for just $5,000.
“Financially, I’ve had a pretty surreal month," he said while acknowledging that he sold significant action in both events. “It adds up. It’s nice. A lot of winnings coming together.”
Sunday's five-handed final table displayed a battle between two camps: the European online grinders and the American live specialists. Sturm and Arends are primarily online crushers, while Davies, Foxen and Klein are all among the most recognizable faces on the live high roller circuit.
Though they hadn't ever spoken before the tournament, Sturm and Arends shared a bond on the felt, and Arends even stuck around on the rail and hopped in Sturm's winner's photo.
“We haven’t really met before, but we play tons online," said Sturm. "He’s one of the best online regulars there are, really and we’ve played tons of hands against each other. So we know each other.”
“In terms of the rest of the competition, of course, there was like Foxen, Davies, and all these people. I’d say in terms of their skill, because they don’t play that much online and don’t get that much hands in, I think I can do quite well against them, and maybe I’m even better theoretically. But it’s just their presence and their focus, and how they prepare for everything is just so insanely sick in a way that you have to have so much respect for them. Because it’s so hard to show up every day and have the same routines and be so consistent with all of that.”
Day 3 Action
As he entered the day with a sizable chip lead and over a hundred big blinds, it looked like Foxen could steamroll his four remaining opponents en route to a second bracelet. But Foxen stumbled early when he turned a straight against Arends only for "Graftekkel" to river a bigger straight. Foxen couldn't recover and fell in a later hand against Sturm about an hour after the German sent Davies home in fifth.
“Unfortunate runout for me," Foxen told PokerGO's Jeff Platt. "Obviously, he hit a sweet card on the turn and about the only really bad card for me on the river. But it is what it is, not much I can do about it. Just kind of had to keep moving forward and take each hand one at a time.”
Foxen's exit marked the start of a lengthy three-handed battle that saw the Sturn, Klein, and Arends exchanging chip leads and all managing to stay afloat. After several hours, Arends check-jammed his top pair as Sturm called with a better kicker before a brick runout sent the Dutchman out in third for $694,019.
Sturm and Klein were near even in chips when heads-up play began, but Sturm slowly closed out against Klein, who had social media fired up as he made several epic bluffs throughout the final table.
Klein had grown restless by the time heads-up play came around and made consecutive shoves with marginal holdings. Eventually, Sturm was able to pick off the PokerGO Studio regular as Klein jammed with middle pair and Sturm called with top pair. A brick runout confirmed another runner-up bracelet finish for Klein, who took second in 2015's $111,111 One Drop for $2,465,522.
“He played weird, of course," said Sturm. "He went all in a couple of times in spots where you don’t expect it, so that kind of threw me off ... I waited, got my top pair, and then we got it in.”
As much a philanthropist as he is a businessman and poker player, Klein vowed to donate all of his winnings to charity. Sturm, meanwhile, will surely use the seven-figure score to pad his poker bankroll as he now looks for a second bracelet.
That wraps up PokerNews' coverage of Event #23: $50,000 High Roller (8-Handed). Be sure to check out the WSOP live reporting portal for coverage of other events here at the 2023 WSOP in Las Vegas.
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In this Series
- 1 Peter Thai Wins First Bracelet of the 2023 WSOP: Event #1: $500 Casino Employees ($75,535)
- 2 Alexandre Vuilleumier Captures 2023 WSOP Event #2: $25K High Roller Title
- 3 Cody "1eggadaymike" Bell Wins WSOP Bracelet and $87,665 in the Triple Treys Summer Tip Off
- 4 Michael Moncek Wins Event #6: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $534,499
- 5 Chad Eveslage Steamrolls to Second WSOP Bracelet in Event #5: $1,500 Dealer's Choice (6-Handed) ($131,879)
- 6 Ronnie Day Reigns Supreme in Event #4: Tournament of Champions ($200,000)
- 7 Vadim Shlez Takes Down Event #7: $1,500 Limit Hold’em For $146,835
- 8 Chanracy Khun Wins Event #8: $25,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship
- 9 Nick Schulman Wins Event #9: Seven Card Stud For Fourth WSOP Bracelet ($110,800)
- 10 Ian "IanMa" Matakis Wins Online Event #2: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Bankroll Builder for $120,686
- 11 Ryan "dna2rna" Hughes Wins Third Bracelet, Defeats Shaun "fortnite" Deeb in Online Battle
- 12 Tyler Brown Crowned Champion of Event #3: $1,000 Mystery Millions ($1,000,000)
- 13 Kenneth O’Donnell Wins Event #11: $600 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack For $351,098
- 14 The Chosen One: Chad Eveslage Wins Third Bracelet in the $10,000 Dealer's Choice Championship
- 15 Estes Nabs Second WSOP MI Online Bracelet; Kershaw Victorious in First PA Event
- 16 Joseph Altomonte Returns to Poker With a Bang; Rakes in $217,102 and a WSOP Bracelet
- 17 Jeremy Eyer Defeats Felipe Ramos in Gruelling Heads Up Duel for $5K Freezeout Title ($649,550)
- 18 Danny "jackdaniels1" Wong Finally Bags WSOP Bracelet After 13 Hour Day
- 19 Isaac Haxton Removes Name from "Best Without a Bracelet" List w/ $25K High Roller Win
- 20 Brian Yoon Wins 5th WSOP Bracelet in $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship
- 21 Brazil Out in Force for Reis' First Bracelet in $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
- 22 Three Isn't a Crowd for Jim Collopy Who Wins His Third WSOP Bracelet
- 23 Valentino Konakchiev Denies Andres Korn a Second Bracelet in $2.5K NLHE Freezeout
- 24 Michael Rodrigues Becomes First Badugi Champion in Event #20: $1,500 Badugi
- 25 Stephen Nahm Toasts To His Victory in Event #21: $1k Pot-Limit Omaha
- 26 Fifth Bracelet for Josh Arieh in Event #22: $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship for $316,226
- 27 Leon Sturm Bests Bill Klein in Event #23: $50,000 High Roller ($1,546,024)
- 28 Two Big Bets and a Chair - David “ODB” Baker Fights Back from the Felt to Win His Third Bracelet
- 29 Jason Simon Becomes WSOP's First Gladiator of Poker for $499,852
- 30 Renji Mao’s Deepstack Aggression Earns Him First WSOP Bracelet ($402,588)
- 31 Belyalovsky Defeats 2020 WSOP Online Domestic Main Event Champion Hebert
- 32 12 Year Drought Ends: Ben Lamb Runs "Hotter Than the Sun" to Win 2nd WSOP Gold Bracelet
- 33 Six is Sweet For Shaun Deeb in Event #27: $1,500 Eight Game Mix
- 34 Jans Arends Tops Star-Studded Final Table to Win $100K High Roller for $2,576,729
- 35 Benjamin Ector Busts Seven Straight to Win Event #28: $1,500 NLH Freezeout ($406,403)
- 36 Houston Firefighter Scott Dulaney Extinguishes the Opposition in Event #31 of 2023 WSOP
- 37 Cash Game Specialist Mark Ioli Wins First WSOP Bracelet for $558,266
- 38 John Monnette Joins Five-Timers Club With $1,500 Triple Draw WSOP Title
- 39 Sean Troha Wins 2nd WSOP Bracelet; Takes Down Event #34: $1,500 PLO for $298,192
- 40 “It’s Gonna Be Tough for You” Says Jerry Wong on Way to Winning 1st WSOP Bracelet
- 41 Chris Klodnicki Returns to WSOP, Wins $10,000 NLH Secret Bounty for 2nd Career Bracelet
- 42 Ryutaro Suzuki Becomes Japan's Mixed-Game Master in Event #36: $3,000 Nine Game Mix
- 43 Yuan Li Adds Name to List of 2023 WSOP Bracelet Winners after $2K NLHE Triumph ($524,777)
- 44 Benny Glaser Joins Five-Timers Club with Win in Event #38: $10K 2-7 Triple Draw Championship
- 45 Morgan Magee & Josh Dempsey Lay Claim to WSOP Online Bracelets in MI & PA
- 46 "suited_h13" Last One Standing in WSOP Online Event #6: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo ($134,527)
- 47 Chris Brewer Wins $250k Super High Roller and First Bracelet ($5,293,556)
- 48 Joe "jimjam01" Serock Wins 2023 WSOP Online Event #7: $500 PLO 6-Max ($93,911)
- 49 "I've Got It!" Qiang Xu Wins First Bracelet in $800 Deepstack ($339,033)
- 50 Scott Abrams Becomes Inaugural Big O Champion for $315,203
- 51 Braxton Dunaway Wins Monster Stack for $1,162,681; Now Headed to Son’s College World Series
- 52 Jeremy “ChipChecka” Ausmus Claims Sixth Bracelet in Online Event #8: $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em
- 53 Jay Lockett Turns $500 into $262,526 and a Bracelet at the 2023 WSOP
- 54 Braxton Dunaway Wins Monster Stack for $1,162,681; Now Headed to Son’s College World Series
- 55 William Leffingwell Brings A Bracelet Home to Houston a Week After His Friend Did the Same!
- 56 Pengfei Wang Plays First Tournament Ever; Wins $270,700 in Event #49: $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty
- 57 Brian Rast Wins $50,000 Poker Players Championship For the Third Time ($1,324,747)
- 58 Yang Zhang Captures 2023 WSOP $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Title ($717,879)
- 59 Yuri Dzivielevski Wins Third Bracelet and $207,678 in Event #47: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
- 60 Poker Player Proposes to Girlfriend After Winning WSOP Bracelet & $1,309,232
- 61 Team Savakinas Reign Supreme in WSOP Tag Team Event ($190,662)
- 62 Nick Pupillo Wins First Bracelet In $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw for $181,978
- 63 Justin Vaysman & Rudy Gavaldon Win WSOP Online Bracelets in Pennsylvania & Michigan
- 64 Ryan "GoFeltaFish2" Eriquezzo Multitasks His Way to His Third WSOP Bracelet
- 65 Lonnie Hallett Defeats Billy Baxter Heads-Up to Win 2023 WSOP Seniors Championship ($765,731)
- 66 Mike Gorodinsky Blazes Down the Home Stretch to Win $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship ($422,747)
- 67 Marcin Horecki Denies Mike Matusow as he Captures Poland's First-Ever Live WSOP Bracelet
- 68 Retired Fireman Steven Genovese Climbs a Different Type of Ladder to Take Home a WSOP Bracelet!
- 69 Jason Daly Steamrolls Final Table of Event #58: $3,000 Limit Hold'em to Win First WSOP Bracelet
- 70 Millionaire Maker Winner Pavel Plesuv Becomes Moldova's First WSOP Champion ($1,201,564)
- 71 Ka Kwan Lau Finds Redemption in $25K PLO High Roller ($2,294,756)
- 72 WSOP Online Pennsylvania & Michigan: Christopher Nunez & David Ferus Find Mystery Bounty Success
- 73 Calm, Collected, and Deadly: Robert Schulz Becomes a WSOP Champion
- 74 Jason Mercier Defeats Mike Watson to Capture Sixth WSOP Bracelet
- 75 Brazil’s Gabriel Schroeder Bad Beats Andy Black on Way to Super Turbo Bounty Bracelet ($228,632)
- 76 Austria's Klaus Ilk Wins 2023 WSOP Event #61: $1,000 Super Seniors for $371,603
- 77 "Can't Stop Kopp!" William Kopp Wins Event #66: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better ($259,549)
- 78 David Simon Emerges Victorious in Battle of Davids to Win Maiden Bracelet in $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em/Pot-Limit Omaha ($410,659)
- 79 Ryan Miller Wins Maiden Bracelet in Event #63: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship ($344,677)
- 80 David Guay Celebrates on Canada Day with WSOP Gold ($271,032)
- 81 Weiran Pu Captures His First Bracelet in Event #65: $5,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em ($938,244)
- 82 Phil Hellmuth Wins Record-Extending 17th World Series of Poker Bracelet
- 83 Brewer Beats Baker and Livingston in 2-7 Single Draw Championship for Second Bracelet of the Summer
- 84 Jesse Lonis Steamrolls to Victory for Second Bracelet in Event #71: $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller
- 85 An Unstoppable Tamar Abraham Wins Record-Breaking Ladies Event for $192,167
- 86 Tom “lultaxpayers” Hall Emerges Victorious to Claim Maiden WSOP Bracelet ($176,920)
- 87 Moshe Refaelowitz Fulfils a Promise to His Wife; Wins Event #70: $400 Colossus
- 88 Bradley Gafford Rallies Back to Win the Mini Main Event ($549,555)
- 89 Hassan Kamel Speeds to Victory in Event #75: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship ($598,613)
- 90 Sam Soverel Wins World Series of Poker Bracelet in Live/Online Hybrid Tournament
- 91 Zachary Grech & Blaze Gaspari Pick Up NV/NJ WSOP Online Bracelets
- 92 Thomas Skaggs Adds a WSOP Bracelet to His Circuit Ring in Event #76: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha
- 93 Shawn Daniels Wins Event #77: $777 Lucky 7's for $777,777
- 94 Josh Arieh Steam Rolls Final Table For Sixth Bracelet in Event #80: $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. High Roller
- 95 VAMOS!! Samuel Bernabeu Wins First Bracelet in Event #79:$2,500 No-Limit Holdem
- 96 Thai Ha Wins First Bracelet in 2023 WSOP Event #83: $1,500 Short Deck ($111,170)
- 97 Brazilian Vitor Dzivielevski Wins NV/NJ WSOP Online Event #16 Bracelet ($185,316)
- 98 Alex Kulev Wins $50K High Roller for $2,087,073; Moves Atop Bulgarian All-Time Money List
- 99 Tom Marchese Wins First Gold Bracelet in WSOP Online Event #17: $1,000 Online Championship
- 100 Matthew Parry Wins 2023 WSOP Event #82: $3,000 PLO 6-Handed ($480,122)
- 101 Prominent Poker Coach Faraz Jaka Leads By Example and Wins First Bracelet in Event #85: $1,500 Shootout
- 102 Diego Does It! Ventura Earns First Live Bracelet for Peru in $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty
- 103 Oh Canada! Bradley Smith Wins Maiden Bracelet and $221,733 in Mixed Omaha/Stud Hi-Lo
- 104 Beginner's Luck? Pierre Shum Wins a WSOP Bracelet in His First Ever Tournament
- 105 Dong Meng Holds Off "Westside" Wesley to Win 2023 WSOP Event #89: $1,000 Flip & Go
- 106 Alexandre Reard Wins Second Bracelet in Prestigious $10K 6-Handed Championship ($1,057,663)
- 107 Kang Hyun Lee Takes the Event #92: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout Bracelet Home to Canada!
- 108 Two Bracelets in Five Events; Ryan Miller Victorious in Event #91: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.
- 109 Summer Saved! Nielsen Takes Home Short Deck Bracelet and $270,160 in Second Cash of 2023 WSOP!
- 110 14 Years in the Making: Alex Keating Wins His Maiden Bracelet at the 2023 WSOP
- 111 Paul Berger Didn't Plan to Play Event #95: Super Turbo No-Limit Hold'em But He is Now Its Champion