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WSOP National Championship: Nitsche Seizes the First Gold

The official start of this year’s WSOP is still two days away, but the first gold bracelet has already been awarded. Dominik Nitsche has become the proud owner of this most desired piece of poker jewelry and this is already the second bracelet for the young gun.

After battling his way through the field of 126 players and defeating Athanasios Polychronopoulos in the heads-up duel, the 23-year-old has become the first European winner of this tournament. Apart from another bracelet to adorn his wrist, Nitsche received first place prize money of $352,800.

“It’s always nice to win a tournament, especially in a tough field like here.  Athanasios is an amazing player and we played heads-up for quite some time.  Beating him feels extra sweet because he is such a good player, even though we’re friends.

NItsche is a name well-known to the poker public, as he is the part of a highly-talented German group of players mostly known for their endeavors in high roller tournaments and undeniable talent for the game. In that regard, Polychronopoulos could have certainly gotten an easier opponent for the final battle, but that’s how the chips fell and he walked away with $218,000 for his second place finish.

Matthew Ashton was another European player to make the final table. Although he came in with quite a substantial chip lead, his stack couldn’t help him past third place and he takes home $157,399 for his efforts.

Chris Bibb was the last circuit qualifier standing, came in second shortest in chips, but managed to come up with a fourth place finish worth $115,655.

Despite finishing in fifth, Tracy Doss was probably not disappointed with his performance at this tournament. A pizza parlor owner and part-time poker player, Doss managed to win his seat online through and subsequently turned his free ticket into a final table appearance and $86,461 in cash. While it is not a Moneymaker-like story, he is probably quite happy with the nice chunk of change he is taking back home.

First to hit the rail was Andrew Robinson, who came in with a really short stack and rather limited options. Things didn’t really pan out for the two-time circuit ring winner, but $65,734 might help ease the pain at least a little bit.

While these articles often end with something along the lines: that is it, the game is over, this time the games are only about to start, as the World Series of Poker starts on Tuesday, May 27 in Las Vegas and there will be tons of cash and plenty of shiny gold bracelets up for grabs. The excitement is only just beginning!

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Ivan Potocki

Ivan is an aspiring journalist writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a degree in English Literature and a fiery work ethic, Ivan adds a dynamic and flexible element to the PokerUpdate writing staff.