Sunday, 16th June 2024 13:09
Home / Live Poker / EUREKA Rozvadov qualifier Thomas Schäven on the German poker community: “It’s a special thing”

We’re used to German poker crews crushing at high stakes, but there’s a very close community at the lower stakes too, as EUREKA Rozvadov online qualifier Thomas Schäven explains

When one thinks of “poker crews” – i.e. a community of players who travel to tournaments together – one inevitably thinks of German players.

After all, the country was the first to introduce a wave of young talent to poker’s highest echelon: the world of high rollers and super high rollers, in which the likes of Tobias Reinkemeier, Fabian Quoss, Philipp Gruissem and Max Altergott became poker superstars.

Then came the second wave, led by the wunderkind Fedor Holz and featuring Rainer Kempe, Steffen Sontheimer, and Stefan Schillhabel, all of whom enjoyed phenomenal success.

But what the outside world might not know is just how tight-knit the German poker community is at the lower stakes, too.


Thomas Schäven, perhaps better known in the community as “Hempmaster”, is part of a group of German poker players who got to know each other online, but now meet up and travel the booming live poker circuit together.

“Our community is hype,” the Cologne resident tells us on Day 1D of the EUREKA Rozvadov Main Event. “We love this. Everyone at home follows our play and cheers us on. Everyone here says good game when you get knocked out.”


Schäven won his way into this Main Event online when he took down a €162 buy-in qualifier on PokerStars. Even that win was down to his friends in the community.

“I was playing online with my friend and he said come on, do it, give it a try,” says Schäven. “I played one bullet in the 162 qualifier and I won it. Then later my friend ended up winning one too!”

But it’s not just the two of them here in Rozvadov. The tournament room at the King’s Resort is full of friendly faces from the German poker community, including Felix Schneiders.

“It’s great that our community of friends can travel together to play poker,” says Schäven. “It’s a special thing. Poker events aren’t just special to us because of the poker but because we get to meet up with one another.”

EUREKA Rozvadov 2023: A big meet-up game for the German poker community


Ask Thomas Schäven the details of a random poker hand he played last week and he could probably recite it in great detail. But ask him when he first started playing poker and his memory isn’t quite so vivid.

“When was my first time playing poker?” he replies. “Oh my goodness.”

Racking his brains, Schäven estimates he first discovered the game around 19 years ago in home games with friends. He then moved to play online poker but found that live poker was more his speed. He has since climbed from €200 buy-in events up to €1K buy-ins.

“I love it. I play live poker much better than online poker,” he says. “Online, I love to play Home Games with the community. But I love live poker because you can find tells in your opponents. You can exploit players when you have reads.

“Bankroll management is very important,” he stresses. “I try my best to pick the best tournaments that I can play.”

Outside of life as a live poker pro, Thomas Schäven has an even more important job.

“I’m a daddy,” he tells us. “So I can only play when I have time. I have my daughter every other week, so one week I spend all my time with her, then the other week I go to play poker.”

It’s Schäven’s dream to win a PokerStars trophy, and with the German poker community around him, he’s in with a great shot here at EUREKA Rozvadov.

“When you have your friends around you, you’re in the best mindset to play poker,” he says.

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