Of all the Platinum Pass winners remaining in the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), the one we knew the least about was Germany’s Max Menzel.
We knew he was from Berlin. We knew he had won his Platinum Pass by taking down the Road to PSPC Manila event. And we knew he lived in Singapore. But that’s about it.
“I think I might be the most unknown,” the 37-year-old tells us during a break on Day 4.
So let’s change that.
FLYING UNDER THE RADAR
When Max Menzel was at university he played poker a lot. So much so that he was able to fund his studies, and contemplated turning professional.
But when he and his wife decided to start a family, he opted to pursue a corporate career instead, and for nine years he lived in China for work. “I loved it,” he says. “For the past year, we’ve lived in Singapore, and we love it there too.”
While living in China, Menzel became a regular in Macau cash games. “I think that’s why I’m under the radar,” he says. “There’s not a lot out there about the people who play those games.
“Without wanting to sound arrogant, I think I’m probably one of the best players who are unknown on the circuit. That might have changed, but that’s how I like to look at myself.”
Menzel works in management for a German logistics company, a role that demands a lot of travel. He likes to combine this with some live poker and plays four to five poker stops a year.
“I spend a lot of time studying poker, probably more than playing,” he tells us. “But poker is definitely just a hobby for me.”
AROUND THE WORLD
It’s a hobby that’s brought him to the Bahamas for an unforgettable PSPC experience, although it was quite a journey to get here.
“It’s insane, I’ve literally travelled around the world,” Menzel says. “If you look at a globe, Singapore is on the complete opposite side to the Bahamas. I’m not sure if I’m travelled the furthest to get here, but it’s close.”
Still, having had an incredible time and with millions of dollars still to play for, he’s happy he took the 18.5 hour flight.
“It’s been amazing,” he says. “When you have a deep run like I’m having, there’s this intensity that I enjoy. But I also like people to have a good time at my tables. We were chatting, ordering wine, and I had people singing… I just try to have fun. It hasn’t got under my skin, the amount of money we’re playing for.”
GERMANY’S PLATINUM HOPE
Menzel is one of just two German Platinum Pass winners remaining in the PSPC field, following a huge bluff from Dominik Nitsche earlier today.
The man known as “Bounatirou” on PokerStars was heads-up in a pot against France’s Thomas Eychenne and the two reached the river on a Q♥ 5♣ A♦ 5♥ K♣ board.
Nitsche ran a huge bluff with 9♥ 7♥ , and ran straight into trouble as Eychenne had K♠ 5♦ for a full house.
That pot left Nitsche with crumbs and he was out shortly after. Eychenne, meanwhile, rocketed to the chip lead.
At the time of writing, just 31 players remain in the PSPC, all of whom have $93,500 locked up.