Imagine winning $83,000 during a huge poker festival and leaving the money in a taxi cab. This is exactly what happened to 27-year-old German football pro Max Kruse when he left behind the large sum of money after attending the World Series of Poker Europe in Berlin in October 2015.
Kruse, a forward for Vfl Wolfsburg, immediately reported the incident to the police, however, they were unable to recover the lost money.
The day before Kruse carelessly left his poker winnings in a taxi cab, he was on top of the world after securing a hat trick in a 4-2 win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
To add insult to injury, the forward, who makes approximately $96,000 per week in wages, lost over a full week's pay when the money lost was combined with a fine of about $30,000 by his football club for playing poker without their permission. Wolfspurg's management also publicly reprimanded the forward in hopes of teaching him a lesson.
"You might be a private person as a footballer when you are in your bed," an official Wolfsburg statement publicized. "At any other point, you are also an employee of the club. We have explained to him what sort of behavior we expect from our players. We can only hope that he has been taught a lesson and will change his behavior."
While there are no reports to exactly how Kruse won the money, it must have been in cash games since there is no record of him cashing in any WSOP Europe event in his home country. This is despite the German newspaper Bild reporting that the money left behind was won in a poker tournament.
Kruse is no stranger to big-money poker games. Last summer, he was witnessed playing in several events during the 2015 World Series of Poker. His only tournament cash during the Series came in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship when he took 26th for $26,500.
During the 2014 WSOP, the German football pro made waves by appearing on a final table in Event #36: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw. After a long-battle, Kruse fell short of a gold bracelet when he was eliminated in third place. He did bank $36,494 for his run, though.
Perhaps Kruse's love of poker will provide him a new career path when he retires from football. Last summer, Kruse shared with PokerNews editor Mo Nuwwarah, "Maybe later I can play [poker] more, when I'm 35-36. We can talk to each other then and maybe I'll have another career as a poker player."