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BRAZIL BEAT: German player wins big _ at World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

World Series of Poker-1.jpg

This June 18, 2014 photo provided by the World Series of Poker shows pro soccer player Max Kruse playing in the World Series of Poker at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Kruse, a German who was left off his country's World Cup team, placed third in his event and won $36,494 in prize money. (AP Photo/World Series of Poker, Melissa Haereiti)The Associated Press

Max Kruse isn't playing for Germany at the World Cup, so he found another international competition — the World Series of Poker.

The Borussia Moenchengladbach forward finished in third place and won $36,494 this week in one of the Las Vegas tournament's 65 events.

Kruse, 26, played in three World Cup qualifiers for Germany but has since fallen out of favor.

WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky says it was Kruse's first time playing the 2-7 Draw Lowball variant of poker, so he got a 30-minute tutorial from fellow German and poker star George Danzer before making his strong showing.

The seven-week series features an estimated 80,000 players. Organizers expect to give out $200 million in prize money during the events.

— By Michelle Rindels — www.twitter.com/RindelsAP

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014