I have not been playing much poker over the last six or seven weeks, I have to report — not since EPT Barcelona, really. One big reason why is I became a father (again) about five weeks ago to a baby boy.
Some of that time I spent keeping close tabs on George Danzer and his triumph down under at the WSOP Asia Pacific series. I was very excited to see him win the WSOP Player of the Year, a dream that even George had never thought to have dreamed about before. He always wanted to get one bracelet, and couldn’t get to that point for a very long time — a full decade of trying. Then everything came together for him this year and he won three of them, plus the POY!
I joked with George after he won his third bracelet which was for a prize worth about $75K USD that now he needs to make a new goal of maybe winning or going deep in a big money event and really go for the cash now. Danzer really is an expert player, and it’s very nice to see him do well.
I’ve also had the chance to play the “expert” role, so to speak, in a couple of different ways recently. Once was when I gave a talk in front of about 300 people at an online marketing conference where I was a keynote speaker.
It was a little bit of an unusual choice to speak at this conference since I have nothing to do with online marketing, and the people who were attending didn’t necessarily have anything to do with poker. As it turned out about 80% of the audience had at least some kind of acquaintance with the game — perhaps just playing kitchen table games or the like. But only a couple of them had even heard of me before, which also suggested they weren’t necessarily following poker that closely.
So the audience was not at all especially inclined toward being interested in poker per se, but as it turned out the talk went quite well and I received a lot of nice feedback afterwards. I was a little nervous speaking before such a big crowd — I’d never spoken in front of that many people before — but it turned out just fine.
I’ve also spent some time giving a couple of interviews to two major economic publications here in Germany. One was an interview about poker, and the other was a big feature article about “investing in people” for which I spoke about how backing and swapping percentages works in poker.
But as I mentioned, most of my time has been spent taking care of my family, which has now increased by one. I’ve been taking my two older daughters to kindergarten everyday — one is about three-and-a-half and the other two-and-a-half — and then picking them up again, and during the day taking care of my new son.
I have to say being a full-time father is simply a fantastic job. It has been really enjoyable being to spend so much time with my kids this way. That said, it’s a tough job, too. It’s like a grind without a pause. When I would play online full-time, I’d always take breaks every couple of hours to have a coffee or take a walk and kind of reset my mind and start fresh again. But with parenting, it’s nonstop pretty much from morning to night with essentially no break at all.
They change so quickly when they are so young, too. I was reading something the other day that talked about how raising kids makes you realize there’s a last time for everything — a whole catalogue of “last times,” in fact.
There’s the last time they’ll come running towards you. Or the last time you pick them up. Or the last time they need you to tie their shoes. With some of these “last times” you might not necessarily be doing these things with a smile on your face, but there’s going to be a time later when they don’t need you to do that thing anymore and you might miss it.
But despite all the challenges, I dearly love this opportunity to spend every waking hour with them like this. As far as being a father goes, I do feel like I’m learning and getting better at it.
Of course, I’m not quite an expert yet. But I’m trying!
Jan Heitmann is a member of Team PokerStars Pro