Not so long ago you saw a professional soccer player Max Kruse while cheering like this: With his arms spread out, he mimicked an airplane and headed straight for the fan curve, where the fans received him frenetically. And today? Does that look different. Max Kruse holds a sparkling bracelet up to the camera, he’s grinning from ear to ear, and in front of him are playing cards and stacks of chips. Some are already rumored that the pictures illustrate Kruse’s new career. The career of a successful poker player.
The pictures were taken on Wednesday at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, the European Mecca for poker players. Max Kruse has a World Series of tournament there poker Europe won. He left 412 players behind and made a whopping 124,000 euros out of a stake of 1,650 euros. Sure, given his rumored annual salary of 3.8 million euros, the sum may seem like peanuts. But the diamond bracelet that he was allowed to put on is one of the highest honors in the international poker circuit. “I’m overwhelmed,” said Kruse. “It was a roller coaster of emotions.”
If you call poker a sport, then Kruse has been writing positive sporting headlines for a long time. The ex-national player was once one of the best offensive players in the Bundesliga. This season, however, he stood for the VfL Wolfsburg hardly on the pitch. First he suffered an injury, then he was suspended. Kruse is now considered a bit tired of training and heavy for the really big sport.
He is all the more active on his social channels. He recently appeared there at an erotic fair or scolded a teammate who had accused him of a lack of diligence. And now the casino. Is a footballer who has been sorted out drifting away?
Poker is like a science at the top of the world
At least from a poker point of view, that can be denied. Kruse has been working on his poker game for more than ten years. He was publicly seen playing in 2015 when he won the “TV Total Poker Night” for 50,000 euros with Stefan Raab. After that, he regularly tried to triumph at the World Championships in Las Vegas. If the Soccer paused in the summer, Kruse played tournament after tournament there. Since he could always shell out high stakes, he was able to compete with the very best in the business. Again and again he achieved considerable success.
The amazing thing about the story is that he can keep up with the elite. Away from the field, Kruse doesn’t always look like he’s thinking through his moves carefully. Poker, on the other hand, is like a science at the top of the world. Most professionals are intelligent above average and prepare meticulously for the tournaments. They combine patience, discipline and mathematical thinking. It is not for nothing that many professionals played chess successfully before their careers and were already masters of strategy games as children.
These “skills”, as it is called in technical jargon, would not have been expected of an amateur player like Kruse. In the scene, however, he enjoys respect. The TV poker expert Michael Körner, who moderated the “TV Total Poker Night”, ennobles him: “He is a very variable player. He can adapt well to situations and has to be extremely patient.” Kruse himself immediately played the next tournament after his success, but without success. “Right now I can only play poker as a hobby. But maybe I’ll play more after my career,” he said. Sounds like someone wants to build a second mainstay.