PLAYER PROFILE – Koray Aldemir
Aldemir has earned more than $21.5 million playing in live poker tournaments, making him one of the most successful German poker players. Amongst his accomplishments he has won the 2017 Triton Super High Roller Series Main Event, a 2019 US Poker Open event and the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Koray grew up in Berlin-Friedenau. His intelligence was noted by his teachers through school and he was able to skip one year allowing him to graduate high school early. After a voluntary social year in a Berlin kindergarten, he moved to Cottbus and began studying business administration at the Brandenburg Technical University, a life path he did not complete. Aldemir currently lives in a shared flat in Vienna with fellow poker players.
Aldemir’s first interaction with poker occurred New Year’s Eve 2006. He joined the ranks of online players and began to play in private groups of friends and play money tournaments. Koray met Fedor Holz in 2013 in Vienna. At the time, Fedor was still playing smaller tournaments but in the years that followed he rose to become one of the best tournament poker players in the world. Motivated by the success of Fedor, Aldemir intensified his game to embark on a career as a professional poker player and left his studies.
Aldemir had his first major success at a live tournament in January 2012 at the Spielbank Berlin, winning a €200 No Limit Hold’em event. In mid-December 2013 he made the final table and finished 7th from a field of nearly 2000 players at the Concord Million in Vienna. He earned €21,000 for the effort but more importantly it was the first big money finish of his career. In late June 2014, he made his debut at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas but only managed to cash once.
In March 2015, Koray had his next big cash when he finished in the money for the first time at the Main Event of the European Poker Tour. He finished 69th at the event in Malta and earned over €35,000. That same year at the WSOP, the German cashed three times including finishing 362nd of 6,420 entrants in the Main Event.
The 47th World Series of Poker saw Koray have his first major breakthrough. He cashed in 8 events that summer. His first big breakthrough happened at event #63, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Summer Solstice when he made his first final table of the WSOP and finished second, earning $252,805, placing behind Spain’s Adrián Mateos. Follow his success in event #63, Koray Aldemir propelled himself up to the level of poker master. Playing in the most expensive event on the schedule, the $111,111 buy in High Roller for One Drop, Aldemir managed again to make the final table. While he only managed 3rd place, finishing behind Dan Smith and eventual winner Fedor Holz, Aldemir earned $2,154,265, the biggest score of his career at the time.
He continued to play and saw some reasonable results over the next 8 months. In mid-February 2017, Aldemir won his first major poker tournament, the main event of the Triton Super High Roller Series in the Philippines, worth approximately $1.2 million USD.
Through the rest of 2017, Koray continued to play extremely well, cashing in 23 tournaments, making 15 final tables and finishing top 3 in 11 of the poker tournaments. His biggest score during this run was at the PokerStars Championship Super High Roller event in Barcelona where he earned over €500,000.
His winning ways continued through 2018 with 12 more final tables including 1st place at the Aria High Roller 83 in Las Vegas for $202,500, 2nd at the Poker Masters event #6 $50,000 No Limit Hold’em worth $517,000 and 3rd at the 2018 PCA where he earned $481,560. The Poker Masters series was particularly kind to Koray as the day after finishing 2nd in event #6, he finished 3rd in event #7 and earned an additional $400,000. In November 2018, Aldemir successfully navigated to the final table of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. While he did bust out in 7th – earning €130,350 for his efforts – the experience he gained would not be lost.
2019 saw Koray continue his torrid pace as he placed top 3 in 7 of the 9 tournaments he finished in the money including a $738,000 victory at the 2019 US Poker Open event #9. 2020 was a relatively quiet year in the poker world as we all reacclimated ourselves to live in a pandemic. As the world began reopening, with many moves to a more online and digital world, the WSOP, through GGPoker, ran the first full World Series of Poker Online. Aldemir, along with many poker players from around the world, jumped at the chance to get back to the game they loved. That year, while playing online, Koray managed to cash in 9 events but it was at the Main Event that he officially made history. At the 2021 World Series of Poker, Koray Aldemir became just the fourth German to reach the final table in the main event, the feat having been accomplished by Henry Nowakowski (2001), Pius Heinz (2011) and Hossein Ensan (2019) previously. Aldemir began the final table as the clear chip leader. It took a grueling 13 hours split over 2 days and included a 4 hour heads-up battle against runner up George Holmes, but Koray Aldemir claimed the victory. He became the third German poker World Series of Poker champion and received the $8 million USD top prize as well as the coveted diamond-studded bracelet.
The 2022 WSOP, which had found a new home after the pandemic, was held at Bally’s, Las Vegas and Paris, Las Vegas. Prior to defending his world champion status, Aldemir made 4 final tables and cashed a total of 14 times, finishing with almost $1.2 million in prize money and settling for third place in the WSOP Player of the Year rankings. While he was unable to defend his championship bracelet – he finished 75th – Koray did set a WSOP Main Events record for most players outlasted in a row at 15,328, between the 2021 and 2022 WSOP.
Koray Aldemir beat out 6,550 players to win the top prize and became the World Champion in 2021, easily the biggest win of his life. Currently he has earned $21,585,121 in career poker tournament winnings, including 9 tournament wins and 48 final tables.