WSOP 2013: A double at home, now for a double at work for Jan Heitmann

It seems only last week that we got into a routine of checking in with Jan Heitmann each morning, on his way to a 26th place spot in the main event in 2012. Back then Heitmann became part of the daily routine - how much did he have at the start of play and how many chips did he have at the close.

Heitmann played some of the best poker of his career that week, and, despite obvious disappointment at not going all the way to the final table, was gracious in defeat as he is in victory.

But while it might not feel like a long time ago, for Heitmann the world has changed since that glorios summer. For one thing there is another Heitmann in the world, his second daughter, and there's nothing like a mouth to feed to keep your focus sharp.

"Being three weeks away from home is actually a very long time for me," said Heitmann at a break in play. "Other than that it's pretty much the same."

It is the same. He starts in the same room (Brasilia) as last year. Even the clothes he wears look the same - a red, white and blue striped top which he swears is different.
But, as any parent will tell you, the world changes with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, never more so when your chosen career is poker.

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Jan Heitmann in action last year

"Obviously you have more responsibility," said Heitmann. "But also it's very inspiring to have kids. They get up in the morning and start learning and they don't stop until they break down from fatigue. I find that very inspiring because I've really worked on the game in the last couple of years and really strived to become better and learn every day.

"Also when I'm touring I play a lot. I've been here three weeks and I think I've taken two days off. The rest I've played cash games on the side and tournaments and everything. It's a very expensive time for me when I can't get home."

Crucially, the time away has given Heitmann the opportunity to get into the right frame of mind. A run up of you like, which provides the same groundwork he had prior to last year's main event, some solid results providing the right kind of momentum.

"It helps because you have a lot more financial security after winning," he said. "I had a very good run before the World Series last year. I cashed at the PCA, I cashed in Berlin at the EPT. I won two smaller tournaments in Austria, and won another one in Zurich. So I was feeling very confident.

"It also helps to have been there a lot - you get to the bubble a couple of times, you get in the money a couple of times, you have all the different stack sizes, all the different situations. All that live experience coming into an event like this, it really helps."

Heitmann now looks ahead to a new main event campaign, and no doubt another routine, although so far it has not included the spaghetti Bolognese he had each day last year (apart from the day he was eliminated). It was an abrupt ending, but looking back Heitmann has only a single regret.

"It was disappointing because for another German to reach the final table would have been a big thing," said Heitmann. "I really like to do all the media stuff and for me it would have been a great opportunity to push poker into the mainstream. I missed out on that. I think for poker it would have been really nice."

Now there's nothing left but to try once more. Heitmann knows he's good enough, as do fellow professionals who made public their admiration for Heitmann's performance last year, including Swiss pro Ronnie Kaiser. It's the type of recognition that Heitmann uses as inspiration, as well as that which comes from having two daughters waiting for him at home. Few doubt that their Dad would be a pretty good ambassador for the game. All he needs to do is hang around until November.

"That's the plan."

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter. Pictures courtesy of Poker Photo Archive.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in 2013