Tales of people getting up to no good on a business trip are a dime a dozen, but stories of a businessman taking some time away from his duties to win a poker tournament are less common.
New York native Ryan Hefter may be in Europe for business, but when the WSOP bandwagon rolls into a city close nearby, it’s hard to turn down the chance to play for a bracelet.
Hefter is currently away from the US on a two-year assignment at Credit Suisse in Poland, but when he heard that the World Series of Poker Europe was taking place in neighboring Germany, he decided to join the action.
Although his first intention was to play the €560 ($638) Oktoberfest event, an early exit on Day 1 left him with a hole in his schedule.
Not wanting to take the fast train back to Poland, Hefter jumped into the €1,650 ($1,880) Monster Stack.
Despite being markedly smaller than the summer Monster Stack in Las Vegas (which attracted 7,192 players), a healthy 580 entrance fees were collected on October 12, which meant the prizepool was pushed to €843,900 ($961,979).
Among the pros making it into the money and vying for the title were some of the UK’s finest, Simon Deadman and Barny Boatman, as well as North America’s Noah Bronstein and David Peters.
However, when it came down to the final push, it was former online cash game pro-turned-financial-expert Hefter who eventually captured the gold bracelet.
After making it to the final table with the shortest stack, Hefter was able to employ some tricky plays to gradually bolster his reserves while those around him drifted away.
As the 14-hour mark came and went, Hefter eventually found himself in control of the match, but with only 20 big blinds to work with.
Owing to the length of the finale and the ever-increasing blinds, Hefter held nothing more than a slight lead over Frenchman, Gilbert Diaz, when the final battle began. Sensing that it would take a big move to break the deadlock, the American eventually took a stand with 8s 7c.
Diaz made the quick call with Ad Jh, but as the board rolled out 9d 7d 2d 3s 2h it was Hefter who made enough of a hand to clinch the pot, €176,205 ($200,781) and his first WSOPE bracelet.
As the realization of his achievement sank in, Hefter told Pokernews that he never expected to win and only decided to play on a whim.
“I just took a shot. I came down to Berlin for a few days, busted out of the €560 ($638) ‘Oktoberfest’, tried this one and ended up taking it down,” chirped Hefter.
1. Ryan Hefter – €176,205 ($200,781)
2. Gilbert Diaz – €109,625 ($124,914)
3. Carlos Chang – €80,170 ($91,354)
4. Henrik Hecklen – €59,495 ($67,795)
5. Diego Ventura – €44,725 ($50,964)
6. Armin Eckl – €34,180 ($38,948)
7. Justin Frolian – €26,415 (30,098)
8. Richard Sheils – €20,675 ($23,558)
9. David Peters – €16,455 ($18,749)