This month, listeners of the PocketFives Podcast, powered by ClubWPT, are in for a treat, as 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Pius MastaP89Heinz (pictured) joins the show. Heinz, who banked $8.7 million for taking down poker’s most prestigious tournament last year, spoke with us from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which just wrapped up in the Bahamas. Heinz is a sponsored pro of PokerStars.
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“My confidence level was pretty high going in,” Heinz told PocketFives Podcast listeners as he rehashed his mindset heading to last year’s Main Event final table. “I didn’t try to be too stressed out and just tried to focus on my game and focus on playing well. For the first 30 minutes, I was actually quite nervous. I was shaking when I put the chips in, which you could see on the broadcast. Thankfully, we had a break pretty early, so I went outside and tried to regain focus.”
The result was a heads-up victory against the Czech Republic’s Martin Staszko and an $8.7 million bankroll injection.
We asked Heinz to rattle off his toughest opponents at the WSOP Main Event final table. Of the eight players he had to choose from, Heinz responded, “I don’t think one guy in particular stands out except for maybe Ben BenbaLamb (pictured). He was on my immediate left as well, so he was a big threat to me. The final table in general was tough. We had Phil USCphildoCollins (an accomplished online tournament reg), Matt Giannetti(who used to play high-stakes cash online), and Eoghan O’Dea (who I have a history with online). Everyone at the table was really good and deserved to be there.”
Heinz’ rail at the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio was quite boisterous and busted into song every time their hero took down a pot. On the contingent, which hailed from the United States, Europe, and beyond, Heinz told Podcast listeners, “Having so many people there to support me was awesome. This was probably the biggest experience of my life so far and being able to share that with my friends and family was just great. That support meant a lot to me.”
As we said in the opening paragraph, Heinz is a sponsored pro of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room. PokerStars helped arrange our interview and Heinz justified signing with the site: “I definitely looked into a lot of options. From the get-go, Stars was my favorite by far. They’re by far the best and biggest company in the industry and also the most reliable one. Being at the final table, you want to work for the best, and I think PokerStars is by far the best company in the industry. For me, it was a no-brainer to work with them.”
Heinz took fifth in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Eight-Max event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $45,000. He described how others at the table treat him now that he’s laid claim to the title of World Champion: “I don’t get a lot of respect. People always think I’m bluffing, which I kind of am. That’s always difficult to deal with, so you have to play tighter and have good hands more often than not. My image is pretty bad.”
If you’re a regular visitor to PocketFives, then you know that former WSOP Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel (pictured) was the victim of an assault and home invasion just before Christmas. Heinz described how he’s treating his own security following the incident: “It’s one of the negative aspects that come with the fame. So far, I’ve been really lucky, [but] that’s something you have to be worried about.”