2011 WSOP Champ Pius Heinz Says Poker Now Just A HobbyMay 9, 2014 1:11 pm
With the World Series of Poker due to kick-off at the end of this month, attention has naturally been turning to the prestigious tournament poker series and, of course, its showcase event the $10,000 Main Event.
There has never been a poker tournament quite like it, capable of thrusting a relatively unknown player into the limelight and making him or her an overnight star. There is also a question of the $8 million plus first place prize on offer, complete with a flood of sponsorship offers that are all part of the spoils of victory.
Pius Heinz, for instance, won the 2011 WSOP Main Event for $8,715,638, and over the next year spent his time traveling and competing at various tournaments around the globe as a PokerStars sponsored pro. After winning a total of $8,830,087 in 2011, the German pro then added a further $141,022 to his earnings in 2012, but, just like the majority of past winners, his subsequent results have been less spectacular having won just $5,371 in 2013, and this year a mere $3,368.
Still, money is no objects for the 25 year-old who says he now sees poker as a recreational activity and not as a career. As Heinz told pokernews recently:
“Poker has basically turned back to a hobby for me I guess. I was kind of a professional before I won the Main, and I was a professional for a year and a half after I won the Main. Now I just play whenever I feel like it..I know I’m not the best friend of the media, but I’m alright with that.”
In his last comment, Pius Heinz was alluding to the unwritten expectation by poker marketeers that WSOP Main Event winners do all they can to promote the game worldwide and bring much-needed fresh blood into the business. This demand has become all the more vocal since the poker industry hit a slump post Black-Friday, and at the beginning of this year 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem started pointing fingers at several of his fellow winners for “destroying the legacy of the world champ.”
As Hachem explained at the time: “I said for years that poker never really grew because the vast majority of past World Champions – just never gave back or promoted the game. They took the money and preferred to stay quiet – which was their right – but it didn’t help promote the game.”
While accepting his point, Pius Heinz also insists he has never been a person who enjoys the spotlight or “being asked for an interview at every single break.” As to whether he will be competing again at the upcoming WSOP in Las Vegas, Heinz replied:
“The problem about Vegas, for me honestly, is that it’s just about the worst place I’ve been to. I just totally hate the city, I think a lot of people understand, some people may not understand at all. I think it’s hit or miss for people, and for me it’s definitely a miss. I might play the Main, but not sure. I’m going back and forth.”