Karl Mahrenholz is one of the most well recognised players on the UK poker circuit, but then, standing at nearly seven foot tall you could hardly fail to miss the TGF sponsored poker pro. There's a limit to how tall you look when seated at the poker tables though so it's not just his size that gets him noticed, he's also a pretty decent player and also writes strategy articles and columns for several UK poker magazines.
Part of the London-based group of poker players known as the Hit Squad that includes November Nine WSOP finalist James Akenhead, WSOP bracelet winner Praz Bansi, GUKPT champion Sunny Chatta and brother Chaz, Karl gave up his job in the City three years ago to turn pro and hasn't looked back since.
First introduced to poker when he was just 18, Karl didn't meet his fellow Hit Squad members until he began playing poker at the Gut Shot in London back in 2005. He was first introduced to fellow members Praz and the Chattha brothers by his housemate and fellow Hit Squad member James Akenhead who was trying to gather together a group of poker players to talk strategy and work on their game.
If results are anything to go by then this was obviously a resounding success and between them the Hit Squad boys have won over $5.4million in poker tournaments the world over ranging from the GUKPT to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
With over $700,000 in career tournament earnings and cashes at the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events under his belt it's fair to say that Karl can handle himself at the card tables. After finishing runner-up to fellow Hit Squader Praz Bansi at the 2007 GUKPT Bolton leg, Karl narrowly missed out on the final table of the 2007 WSOPE, cashing in 15th for £38,000.
His biggest win and largest career cash to date came in September 2009 when he defeated a final table featuring EPT winner Andreas Hoivold, WSOP final tablist Jon Kalmar and beat Welshman Iwan Jones heads-up to win the title of GUKPT Cardiff Champion for £38,700.
In addition to his impressive NLHE resume, Karl has become something of a Pot Limit Omaha specialist in recent years and his resume also boasts several PLO wins at GUKPT side events as well as State-side cashes and 13th place in the 2009 £5,000 PLO WSOPE event.
The Hit Squad seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment and with solid players like Karl in their ranks it's easy to see why.