Martin Staszko

Martin Staszko (born 22 June 1976) is a Czech poker player from Třinec, best known as the runner-up of the Main Event at the 2011 World Series of Poker, where he finished second to Pius Heinz.[1]

Martin Staszko
Martin Staszko.jpg
Staszko at the 2011 WSOP Main Event.
ResidenceTřinec, Czech Republic
Born (1976-06-22) 22 June 1976 (age 44)
World Series of Poker
Money finish(es)13
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
2nd, 2011
World Poker Tour
Final table(s)None
Money finish(es)3
European Poker Tour
Final table(s)None
Money finish(es)4
Information accurate as of 26 March 2014.

Staszko lives in the industrial southern Silesian town of Třinec, best known for Třinec Iron and Steel Works. His parents are Rudolf, who works in iron works, and Žofie, who works as a pharmacist.[2]

As a child, Staszko was an athlete, becoming long jump champion of his Třinec Polish primary school.[3] He started playing mariáš and betting on sport games during high school. Later, while studying at Technical University of Ostrava, he not only supported himself from the games, but he also saved roughly CZK400,000 (14,000) annually. During his studies, Staszko became champion of the Czech university darts league and was also a successful chess player.[4] After finishing studies, Staszko started working at Třinec Iron and Steel Works.[3]

Playing chess taught me how to endure long sessions by the table. Chess also required much more preparation, which is not needed for poker. So compared to chess, poker playing is a piece of cake with much higher earnings.

He began playing poker in 2007, initially playing online in games which did not require entrance fee, but provided some very limited returns.[3] At that time, Staszko worked as foreman at Hyundai Nošovice automobile manufacturing plant's paint shop. He was in charge of around 200 workers, earning a little over CZK 30,000 (€1,200) a month. He used to get up at five in the morning in order to attend twelve hours shifts followed by playing poker, leaving only some four to five hours for sleep.[3] He was able to win an equivalent of six-months salary during a night online session. In 2010, following a win of €35,000 in France, Staszko decided to leave his job in order to fully concentrate on gaming.[4]

His runner-up finish in the 2011 Main Event garnered him $5.43 million (€3.98 million).[5]


  1. ^ "Pius Heinz Wins the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event". Card Player. 9 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Parents still do not believe poker champion: Why our son studied?". Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Eisenhammer, Milan (2011), "Flanelový král: A teď nevěstu!", Týden (46): 82–83
  4. ^ a b "I am thrifty, says Czech, who won in Las Vegas poker 13 million". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Pius Heinz wins $8.72 million World Series of Poker main event over Martin Staszko". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 9 November 2011.