Taylor Von Kriegenbergh is a recent graduate of UMass-Lowell and a Stoneham, Massachusetts native who has made a big splash in tournament poker in early 2011. Thanks to his first major career victory at the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Von Kriegenbergh now leads the Card Player Player of the Year race with 3,560 points a few years after he first started playing the game with friends.Von Kriegenbergh made a number of revealing statements after his victory in Florida. He was gracious, “My success is clearly 100 percent attributed to luck. That’s how I’ve gotten here. I’m very lucky, I have good karma, and the cards fell my way.” He also showed a deep connection with family who is no longer with him and friends, one of whom staked Von Kriegenbergh for 10 percent in Florida. “My dad passed away almost a year ago and I think he is my guardian angel and he’s taking care of me. He was my best friend and now he is looking down from up above. He’s my higher power,” said Von Kriegenbergh. He went on to say, “I really love that tonight I was given the chance to change multiple lives, not just not my own. My friend makes $10 an hour and now I can give him $100,000. That feels great. Making other people happy makes me happy.”He topped a field of 433 players in Hollywood, Florida, and his battle to win $1,122,340 was its toughest at the final table, one that took close to 12 hours and 220 hands to finish. He defeated top professionals Tommy Vedes , Allen Bari , and his final opponent Curt Kohlberg . Von Kriegenbergh grew his career earnings to $1,318,340 after the victory and he has a shot to increase those winnings even further by the end of May thanks to the $25,000 seat in the WPT Championship he took home for the victory. The win in Florida was even more impressive considering that it was the first WPT event that he ever played.He almost didn’t play in Florida as Von Kriegenbergh was one of 27 players who signed up for the event just before the registration deadline hit on day 2. “I think I’m a little bit of a spontaneous person. On my Facebook on the day before day one I wrote that I wasn’t going to play in the tournament, I was going to hit the pool, the spa, the gym. I didn’t want to be trapped inside in Miami. I’m from Boston and the weather hasn’t been that great there. I took a whole day off from poker, read a book and relaxed, and after that I was so hungry to play poker again so I registered for day 2,” said Von Kriegenbergh. The victory marked the fourth cash of the year for Von Kriegenbergh as well as for his career and they have all come since March 10. That was when he made his first final table, taking fourth place in a field of 417 players at the The Big Event main event to take home $140,000 and 960 POY points. “It was a dream come true to go head-to-head with these legends of poker (fellow final-table contestants Joe Hachem and Victor Ramdin). Of course, I would have loved to beat them, but coming in fourth place and taking home $140,000 is nothing to complain about,” wrote Van Kriegenbergh in a guest column for the Stoneham Patch after the cash.He also wrote, “I have a lot of learning to do in the game of poker.” That learning curve seemed to be on an accelerated track as Von Kriegenbergh continued his success in April at the North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun tournament series, taking 18th place in the main event (good for $12,000) and fifth place in the Bounty Shootout (good for $44,000 and another 200 POY points).A few months ago no one in the poker world knew who Von Kriegenbergh and he now he sits at the top of it. It goes without saying that he is a player to look out for in 2011, and if he continues the torrent pace he has started the year with then he might claim the Player of the Year title as a tournament trail rookie.
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