World Cup of Poker: Team Germany returns to the finals
Joined by Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater, Team Germany made the finals of last year's World Cup of Poker, but unfortunately had to say "Auf Weidersehen" in seventh place. Now, after plowing through five teams of their fellow countrymen, Team Germany 1 is set to make a repeat appearance with Thater again as its fearless leader.
Yes, you read that right-- five teams. The German player base has grown so much that rather than compete within one of the European divisions, Germany occupies its own division like the United States and Canada. Among our four qualifiers are three amateurs and one rising young pro who will attempt to bring the crown home to the motherland.
20-year old Bastian "mados4k" Wulff is the first to admit that he got extremely lucky in the freeroll qualifying matches that earned him a spot on Team Germany. Only having learned the game recently, Wulff primarily plays freeroll MTTs on PokerStars and the World Cup finals in the Bahamas will mark his first live tournament experience.
Like Wulff, Peter "SmArTdOg1970" Schmidt is another World Cup finalist whose poker experience is largely confined to playing freerolls. The 38-year old auto mechanic from Esslingen is excited not only to play poker on the world stage but to represent Germany in the process.
"I´m very proud to play for my country and who can say in his life (that he had) the chance to win a world championship!" said Schmidt.
40-year old Georg "josha45" Geissler earned his spot on Team Germany via his TLB status for 2007. Married for 14 years and the father of three daughters, Geissler works as a marketing VP for a high-tech machinery company. He discovered PokerStars in 2006 and also plays in a live game at the Casino Wiesbaden once a week. Geissler is especially excited to travel to the Bahamas--last year he won a seat to the PCA but was unable to play due to health issues. This year, he looks forward to experiencing the warm weather and will represent Germany in the World Cup with someone special on his mind, his grandmother, who recently passed away.
"She would have (been) too excited about it as she always supported me, loved playing cards as well and taught me this when I was young," Geissler related.
Our final player is TLB qualifier Thomas Boekhoff who first caught the eye of the poker media with his impressive 14th place finish at the 2008 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, for which he took home €76,000. The 21-year old took up poker in 2006 and dropped out of school shortly thereafter to pursue a career as a poker professional. He can often be found playing up to 40 tables simultaneously.
Boekhoff admitted to us that he isn't too familiar with the island nation he's about to experience. "(I) don't know much about the Bahamas, I actually thought it was somewhere around New Zealand to be honest... just looking forward to have some nice relaxing days,' said Boekhoff.
Sun. Sand. Crystal-blue water. Fruity drinks. Awesome cash game action. That's all you need to know.