With the brain power exerted on a regular basis at his day job, the challenges of the WSOP didn’t seem to faze Marcel Vonk. The 36 year-old theoretical physicist from Holland managed to outlast a field of 3,844 players in the $1,000 NLHE Event #54. It was his second cash in four attempts, earning him a handsome reward of $570,960.

“It means a lot,” says Vonk. “When I first started playing, I was an amateur player. And while the money means a lot, I play in tournaments because I want to win something. Otherwise, I would play in cash games. The $500,000 is a lot. But the bracelet is almost more important than the money.”

Professionally, the native Dutchman studies String Theory, a high-level segment of quantum and relativistic theory. It’s a field which could yield great returns for mankind, assuming the power of such theories can be harnessed. It may even bring a Nobel Prize to one of its devotees. So if Vonk had to choose between that and a Gold Bracelet, which would it be?

“I would choose my work. I would choose to win the Nobel Prize,” says the physicist. “But, it’s close.”

Finishing in second place was David Peters, capturing his second cash in this year’s WSOP.

All told, the top 396 players were paid. Notable finishers included Jesse Rockowitz (33rd), Al Krux (118th), James Dempsey (277th), and Toto Leonidas (358th). Nicolay Evdakov also made the money, something he’s done only twice this year. His record of ten WSOP cashes (set in 2008) is in jeopardy, with a pair of competitors currently sitting at eight apiece in this year’s running.

Here’s how the final table shook out:

#1 – Marcel Vonk ($570,960)
#2 – David Peters ($350,803)
#3 – Paul Kerr ($255,076)
#4 – Nathan Jessen ($186,818)
#5 – Henrik Tollefson ($138,107)
#6 – Matthew Lupton ($103,061)
#7 – Mehul Chaudhari ($77,633)
#8 – Epsen Moen ($59,020)
#9 – Dustin Dorrance-Bowman ($45,286)