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 @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 has come since June 2015.
His best score to date was $1,223,264 for finishing runner-up to his countryman, Christian Christner, in May’s ARIA Super High Roller 19 $100,000 Super High Roller. Other highlights on his relatively new résumé include winning the 2017 Poker EM €25,000 Super High Roller for $501,183, sixth in the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo €100,000 Super High Roller for $415,348, and sixth in this summer’s Triton Super High Roller Series Budva for $313,423.
Consider this amazing fact – coming into the Poker Masters, Sontheimer had 27 documented tournament cashes, of which 14 have come in High Rollers events.
Cleaning Up at the Poker Masters
In the last few days, he’s added $1,104,000 to that total after finishing fourth in the Poker Masters Event #1 for $204,000, and the following day winning Event #2 for $900,000. In Event #3, he barely missed the money bubbling in eighth place, and today in Event #4 he is back at the final primed to add to his total and extend his Poker Masters lead.
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 by a $100,000 freeze out 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. Erik Seidel ($576,000) and Matt Hyman ($561,000) round out the top five.
Others who could still surpass Sontheimer are his friends and fellow Germans Fedor 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).
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 stands to win over $1 million if he were to win it, has just one min-cash through four events. If he’s to stand a chance, he’ll likely have to win the $100,000 finale and hope those with preliminary success come up empty in that tournament.
Meanwhile, Sontheimer has proven to be a thorn in the side of Phil Hellmuth throughout the Poker Masters.
Yesterday in this very event, Christian 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 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 and both players checked to the on the river. Both players checked again and Sontheimer tabled the . 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 have 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.
Ooops# https://t.co/fDPvSBjj7g— Steffen Sontheimer (@RunGo0seRun)
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.