Event #23: $50,000 High Roller

The five-handed final table of the $50,000-entry High Roller, the 23rd event of the 54th annual WSOP was a classic. At the start of play, both the former two-time GPI number one player in the world Alex Foxen and Dutch professional Jans Arends were miles clear at the top of the leaderboard. By the time the final battle for the bracelet was taking place, both men were on the rail.

WSOP 2023 Event #23 $50,000 High Roller Results:

1stLeon SturmGermany$1,546,024
2ndBill KleinUnited States$955,513
3rdJans ArendsNetherlands$694,019
4thAlex FoxenUnited States$512,824
5thSeth DaviesUnited States$385,617
6thJustin BonomoUnited States$295,169
7thSam SoverelUnited States$230,066
8thSung Joo HyunSouth Korea$182,662

Davies Hits the Rail, Foxen Falls

The action began almost immediately with an elimination. American professional Seth Davies is no stranger to playing nosebleed tournaments and on the high roller circuit is the definition of a regular. Even he couldn’t do anything about his final hand, however.

The board looked a kind one for his hand of five-deuce when it came with a five on both turn and river. But Davies was incorrect to call off his stack, as the five on the turn, along with the 9-8-7 flop, had given Leon Sturm a straight with his hole cards of seven-six, Davies scoring $385,617 in fifth place.

Alex Foxen
Alex Foxen came into the action as favorite and chip leader, but busted in fourth place.

That pot alone catapulted Sturm into the upper limits of the leaderboard but better was to come. Alex Foxen started the last day as the overnight chip leader as he attempted to follow up his first WSOP bracelet in 2022 with another one year on. He could hardly win a pot all afternoon, however, and dropped down the ranks until he was at threat of elimination by each of the other three players.

It was Sturm who again was the conqueror, as he eliminated his second of what would become four victims at the final table. Foxen fell into the post-flop trap too as he moved all-in on an eight-high flop holding nine-eight himself. Sturm. However, had called to the flop with eight-six and hit two pair, so called it off and rode out turn and river to send the dangerous America pro to the rail for $512,824.

Three Handed Play

Superstar Bluff from Klein Ends Arends Hopes

With three players left, Dutch player Jans Arends was still involved. Having eliminated Kristen Foxen on Day 2 of the event, then seeing her husband Alex busted on the final day, Arends was in place to make a run at the gold. Then he ran into Bill Klein. The 75-year-old businessman and philanthropist, who was shooting for his first-ever WSOP bracelet, pulled the bluff of the World Series so far out of the bag and Arends folded the winning hand.

It was a pivotal moment, catapulting Klein into the lead and turning Arends’ chips into the shortest stack. If the Dutch player was hoping to get back into contention, he was sorely disappointed, as Sturm did for him as he would every single opponent he faced on the last day of action.

Arends moved all-in on a doomed flop too. It came 9-5-4 and Arends shoved with the perfectly reasonable ten-nine. It was a marginal decision for Sturm with queen-nine, but he made the call and his kicker played when a four then a three landed on turn and river. As important as the pot was for Arends, sending him to the rail for $694,019, it was vital for Sturm too, building his stack to 13.9 million. He was still some way behind Klein’s stack of 23.2 million after the opening exchanges of heads-up play… but he had a chance.

Bill Klein
Bill Klein made the bluff of the WSOP so far… but just missed out on gold.

Sturm Wins Sneaky Showdown Then the Gold

Leon Sturm is known for his online play, Bill Klein has built a reputation for his live reads and fearless moves when he can see the whites of his opponent’s eyes. The clash was chalk and cheese, with Klein, half a century older than his opponent, appearing to have the edge not only in chips but style.

Sturm, however, is equally fearless and showed his tenacity in battling back. Close to parity, an inflated pot went to showdown where until the river card, the German had no value at all. His eight-four was well behind Klein’s ace-king on a board that failed to help either man’s cards. A four on the river changed all that, and Sturm went into a lead he would not lose.

Not long after that hand, the tournament was over. Sturm watched as Klein shoved with eight-five on a board showing J-8-3-6. It was an easy call for Sturm holding queen-jack and he faded the river to win a maiden WSOP bracelet and the top prize of over $1.5 million, by far the biggest live result of his fledgling career.

Klein will go again, but you have to wonder just how many more chances he’ll have that are better than the position he entered heads-up in. Poker, so often a game of gifts, can be merciless with its favor too. Here’s how the winning moment played out.

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Paul seaton

Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
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