Max Neugebauer has won the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event for €1,500,000. The former professional basketball player bested his 816 opponents to become the latest poker world champion, amazingly as a relative novice in his latest career choice.
The 26-year-old Austrian only had a live tournament career record of $84,000 before heading to Rozvadov. A couple of WSOP cashes in Las Vegas during the summer would have been nice, but certainly not enough to give him an inkling of what would come about this week.
The six-foot, eight inches giant was easy to spot during the last two weeks. At one point he was seen trying to satellite into the Main Event on the cheap but didn’t manage to follow through.
Speaking after his victory, Naugebauer said:
“It means a lot. I mean, the bracelet itself means a lot. And then it’s actually the WSOP Main Event means even a bit more.
“What means most to me, honestly, is my friends being here and cheering me on. It was really wonderful. I don’t know what the experience would’ve been without them.
“I had huge knee problems. When I stopped playing basketball, I started playing poker as well. Just the competition part and the part of improving and working on your game were really important to me, and I felt like there was some void that needed to be filled. Poker was that for me.”
Epic Final Table Action
The latter stages of the Main Event gave the viewers some incredible poker action. Some great pots mixed up with the occasional flutter of brutal bad beats.
Michael Rocco fell foul of a particularly cruel sequence. In one hand he woke up with aces in a perfect set up for Nils Pudel to jam into him. But in the very next hand Ting Tsaiwoke up with aces and Rocco jammed into him with ace-nine off. Then it was all over and the American was heading home, out in fifth place.
Michele Tocci was another hit particularly hard. It was starting to look like Neugebauer and Tocci would be heads-up rivals but then Tocci lost an all-in confrontation with sixes to Tsai’s pocket deuces.
In the very next hand he was able to get jacks in against Neugebauer who held king-four, but a king on the river sent a stunned Tocci to the rail on the wrong end of a close to $300k pay-jump.
Tsai started the heads-up battle with only around one quarter of the chips but he got off to a great start, winning several hands in a row.
But then, after just taking it all in for those few hands and seeing what his opponent was up to, Neugebauer sussed him out and ended the match with a fantastic hero call.
WSOP Europe Main Event Final Table Results