PokerStars Festival Hamburg: Paul Janke talks The Bachelor, poker and football (soccer)

One of the main TV watching trends of this century has to be Reality TV. In an era on shrinking production budgets, it was a dream for those in charge of the money. Cheap to produce, no scripts need to be written and the everyday person (in large parts) replaced the celebrities with egos. Also, when you hit on a winning formula, you can syndicate it all over world. Big Brother proved this so and nearly 20 years later the genre is still going strong, with Germany no different to any other market.

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Janke practicing his poker face

The Bachelor was first produced for the American market in 2002 and has a become a world-wide success story with franchises all over the world. Germany picked it up and the first season aired in 2003, but it wasn't until the second season (after a nine-year hiatus) that the show became a huge success. In 2012 Germany seeks the Superstar (Pop Idol franchise) was the number one show on German TV but it was soon overtaken by The Bachelor.

The show made a star of 30-year-old image manager and Mr Hamburg 2009 Paul Janke. The show was mostly filmed in South Africa that season and Janke chose his winner after falling in love, but unfortunately the relationship ended soon after the show.

Janke is from Hamburg but mostly resides in the sunnier Palma, Mallorca these days. He was in Vienna and flew in to play a specially arranged charity media event here in the Casino Schenefeld, and Kindly agreed to sit down with the PokerStars Blog.

PS. Do you think having to keep a straight face through the elimination shows on The Bachelor has helped with your poker face?

PJ. "I'm not sure actually. I think maybe you can see what I was thinking in my face, so not sure The Bachelor was that good for my poker face, too many emotions going on at the time."

PS. What's more nerve-racking: trying to pull off a big bluff in a poker hand or standing in front of a group of ladies knowing you might break some hearts?

PJ. "Whoa, that is a good question. I think both but in a different ways. I was asked before what was the best moment from the show and the saddest moment and I said it was in the final when I had to tell the runner-up she wasn't chosen. I liked her so it was sad to let her down. On one side I was happy to decide for the right one but it was also very sad. For poker, it's different too as I don't feel bad if I put a bad beat on a friend at the table!"

PS. Mr Hamburg, The Bachelor, Let's Dance to name but a few shows, and a very good amateur football career makes it seem to me that you're a guy that likes competition. Does this also translate into poker for you?

PJ. "I like competition. I'm a sportsman and have been playing soccer since I was four or five. Poker is a game but if I play something, I want to win. I don't see the point of playing anything of you don't want to win."

PS. And talking of football, Max Kruse graced us with his presence here two years ago and actually cashed in the High Roller. Do you think we could tempt you to play more poker events in the future?

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Janke all smiles before the serious business got underway

PJ. "He's a very good player! I like him but he is kind of crazy. He's a nice guy and a good soccer player as well as poker. And sure, I'd like to play more poker events - why not!"

I don't have any special tactics for the media event. I want to win but I have no strategy. I'll do my best and hope the cards are right for me today.

PS. What chance so you think Germany has of defending their title at next year's World Cup in Russia?

PJ. "I think their hance is good. Germany is a tournament team so they always well in them and they have a good team. I think the chance to win is pretty good. England have a nice team too, we just played against you guys. And with some good teams like Holland and Italy not there, the chance is better but, just like poker, you need a little luck as well."

The tournament

The tournament was a specially arranged sit and go where the winner was allowed to donate €1,000 to a local charity of their choosing. Janke was joined by yours truly, Hauke Schelling (Radio FFN), Bülent Kayaturan (Hamburg 1 TV), Norbert Schmidt (ganz-hamburg.de), Mirjam Rüscher (Hamburger Abendblatt) and fellow poker reporter Robbie Quo (Pokerfirma.de).

We all started with 10,000 chips and the tournament was played with lots of chatter and laughing, not that I understood much of what was being said! After losing an early pot or two, Janke made a set of sixes versus Schmidt (who flopped top pair) and was back into profit. That was about as good as it got for him versus Schmidt though, who went from playing passively to uber aggressively, and turned into somewhat of a nemesis for Janke.

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Mirjam Rüscher (seated)
defeated all-comers

Shortly after, Janke called a river bet from Schmidt on a 9♣A♥Q♣Q♠Q♥ board but mucked when he was shown A♦7♥ for a full house. After a period of consolidation, he lost another pot to Schmidt. Janke has flopped top pair with Q♦T♦ but Schmidt made running trips with 4♣5♠ and scooped yet another pot. Janke's eventual demise in 4th place came at the hands of - you've guessed it - Mr. Schmidt. His pocket threes couldn't hold up against Schmidt's A♦5♥ and an ace was the first card off the deck.

Schmidt managed to use those chips to get to heads-up versus Rüscher but that was as far he could last. She dominated proceedings from four-handed all the way to first place and was a very worthy winner. We're sure she'll choose a local charity that will put the €1,000 to great use.


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Marc Convey
@The_Conv in Live