The field of 36 was limited to German players, a first in a Party Poker tourney, and featured celebrities, top German pros and internet players. Ruthenberg, a Hamburg native, took down the top prize when he bested noted German pro player Thomas Bihl, from Frankfurt. €The 2,500 entry fee made up most of the prize pool, with the balance of the €117,000 pool kicked in by Party Poker in a clear statement of their dedication to the European market.
Ruthenberg was at a 2-1 chip disadvantage to start heads-up play, but came back to break his opponent's lucky streak and take the advantage. On the final hand of the tournament, Ruthenberg's pocket 8-8 held up against Bihl's K-Qo to net him the biggest win of his tourney career. "I have been playing poker seriously now for the past 3 years. However, this is my biggest win to date. Previously, my biggest win had been around €12,000 in an online tournament at PartyPoker.com. I plan to use the winnings to keep me in buys-in for a while but hopefully it won't be long until I win again!"
The tournament, held in the Poker Den in London, marks the beginning of a European push for Party Poker, which saw a massive drop in stock value after it ceased accepting wagers from US customers last month. This move to sponsor live tournaments should spark interest in the company's online gaming interests in Europe, which include poker, blackjack and sports betting through Gamebookers.