Christian Rudolph, a German pro, took down the first ever $25,000 WSOP Online Poker Players Championship for a nice cool $1.8 million. He defeated American high roller Chris Hunichen heads-up to win his first World Series of Poker bracelet.
Hunichen didn’t go home empty-handed, however. He earned $1,332,097 for 2nd place, adding to his $8.1 million in live tournament cashes. “Big Huni,” a North Carolina native, is still chasing his first bracelet but does have 39 WSOP cashes.
Heads-up play was a rather quick and easy affair for Rudolph, who finished off the match in just 20 minutes. He began the match against Hunichen with a slight chip lead, and quickly pulled away, leaving “Big Huni” with only five big blinds before finishing him off.
The Poker Players Championship replaced the annual $50,000 PPC, which takes place in Las Vegas each summer. There’s a strong difference between the online version, a strictly no-limit Texas hold’em tournament, and the live PPC, an eight-game mixed event.
But due to COVID-19, the WSOP was forced to make some changes this summer. One of those was a change in structure to some of poker’s most prestigious events, such as the PPC and the Main Event.
Disappointing day for Ja-Koon
Jason Koon, one of the best tournament poker players ever, entered the final table with the chip lead. The partypoker ambassador had over $31 million in live tournament earnings and has made millions of dollars online. When he’s eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame in 2026, he’ll get in on the first vote.
But there’s just one thing missing from his poker resume — a World Series of Poker bracelet. That opportunity presented itself on Saturday. Koon, one of four Americans at the final table, held the chip lead entering Day 2 with nine remaining players.
The blinds, however, were big relatively speaking. In most WSOP events, players have a bit more play left when the final table hits. Koon had just 39 big blinds as the chip leader, and the average stack was only 23 big blinds.
The West Virginia native had a rough final day. He was eliminated in 7th place, earning $285,808, a far cry from what he had his sights set on when the session began.
Rudolph, however, ran red hot all day. He began play third in chips, but seemingly won every crucial pot at the final table.
The $25,000 Poker Players Championship, a $10 million guaranteed tournament, attracted 407 players, 55 of whom cashed. Many talented pros cashed, including Koon, Hunichen, Elio Fox, Sorel Mizzi, David Peters, Scott Seiver, and Chris “Jesus” Fergsuon. But none of them could outlast Christian Rudolph, poker’s newest bracelet winner.