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Pius Heinz, a 22 year-old professional poker player from Germany, has captured the Main Event crown in the 2011 World Series of Poker. For his heroic efforts, the young man was awarded a prize of $8,715,638.

“It’s got to be the happiest day of my life,” said Heinz on the heels of his incredible win. “I can’t believe what happened – it’s unreal. I just tried to focus and not make mistakes.”

The victory itself came after an impressive duel with the Czech Republic’s Martin Staszko. Action came to a halt early this morning when Heinz called an all-in pre-flop push from his opponent while holding A-K. Staszko, holding T-7, then watched in dismay as the board came 5-2-9-J-4.

A Team PokerStars Pro, Heinz has cashed in several major events over the course of 2011. This past June, he managed to earn a seventh place berth in the WSOP’s $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, netting him $83,286. Following that, he earned another €17,450 with a first place finish in the €1,000 Turbo Bounty Event at EPT’s Barcelona event in August.

And now, as PokerStars has been quick to point out, Heinz has become the fourth straight member of Team PokerStars to bring home the most coveted title in the poker world. The trend began in 2008 with Peter Eastgate and has continued with Joe Cada and Jonathan Duhamel in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Greg Raymer (2004) and Joe Hachem (2005) also played under the company’s flag, and 2003 champ Chris Moneymaker earned the gold after qualifying through a PokerStars satellite event.

While Heinz’s first place prize ranks as only the fourth largest in WSOP history, attendance totals (6,865) were good for third-best on the all time list. The total prize pool weighed in at a staggering $64,531,000, with the top 693 players earning a return on their $10,000 investment. The minimum payout nearly doubled the entry fee, totaling up to $19,359.