2008 World Series: The powers of Jan Heitmann

A senior PokerStars employee once told me... “Jan Heitmann is the only man in the world I’m jealous of.” When you meet Jan you quickly realise why.

Not only is he one of the best poker players to come out of Germany, he’s also an accomplished pianist and magician. During the fourth season of the European Poker Tour he kept women enthralled and enchanted as he played piano in the lobby of a Dortmund hotel, and stunned a mass crowd with his magic skills (for once not ‘The Gathering’ kind), performing reality bending shenanigans that had onlookers screaming in amazement, and at least one high-spirited sceptic accusing him of being a witch.

You can see for yourself as he dumbfounds Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer on PokerStars.tv.

Watch Jan Heitmann Does Magic Trick On Greg Raymer on PokerStars.tv

On top of all that he’s racing towards the front on day 2a of the World Series main event.

He wears a grey suit with electric blue shirt in the same way as his friend George Danzer – a sign of respect to the importance of the game, like an officer in uniform. Every now and then he yawns, a sight not uncommon today in a field at least half of whom were crammed into the Rain nightclub last night for the PokerStars Burlesque Party.

Today though it’s back to the real business, that of winning chips, and Jan just won the type of hands that for the most part slipped by unnoticed, but could almost be compared with the elegance of a tango, were it not so one-sided.

A new player had arrived at the table moments before, in heavy contrast to Jan’s suit, wearing a plain T-shirt and comfortable shoes and looking to make an immediate impression on his new table mates. He did just that in a hand against Jan that would be one riddled with pain. Starting with a limp in mid-position.

Jan Heitmann.jpg

It got to Jan on the button who raised; a small one of around 2,000 which he toppled over the line before resting both palms on the felt alongside his bet. This was his offering to the poker gods, to summon angels of good fortune to his side, forces that you suspect Jan has instant access to. Keeping perfectly still he waited.

It was folded back to the seat one player who picked now to make his mark. Jan remained still and passive while his opponent first jittered in his chair, and then assembled a threatening power raise of around 35K, pushing it forward. Breaking from his self-imposed trance Jan now began riffling, using his piano playing fingers to mix together his green chips for a while, before restacking them, placing them on top of the rest of his stack, making a tall space rocket shape, and sliding them with beautifully delivered choreography, into the pot.

This got people’s attention. A few reporters arrived, like they’d just heard of an accident (or a potential one) on the police frequency. Jan didn’t move. It was like the seat one player was playing against a waxwork. No movement, just palms on the table, head held up high like the success of this move relied on him not setting off any motion detectors.


Jan turned over two red jacks.

“I have pocket eights” said his opponent, in a mood that was already foreseeing his likely departure. He’d only just arrived but the QsKsTc7s6c board sent him away again. Only when Jan was stacking his new chips did his face break into a smile.

“I bet you didn’t want to see an eight!” said one player. It was an obvious thing to say but the table was now in a mood to chat.

“Or a spade” replied Jan. “He had a spade. I did not like the turn.”

The offering to the gods had been received well. Jan started on 41,000, he now has 128,000. He also does magic and plays the piano. I hate to admit it, but I’m also jealous of Jan Heitmann.