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Dan Heimiller: “Poker Hasn’t Changed, The Emotions Are the Same”
It’s easy to categorize poker players.
You’ve got online kids, cowboys, old-school gamblers, athletes and pseudo celebrities.
Dan Heimiller fits into exactly none of those categories.
The gregarious 52 year old has been playing poker for 30 years now and marches to the beat of his own drum.
Heimiller has nearly $5 million in lifetime tournament earnings but he’s never been sponsored by a major online site like PokerStars or Full Tilt.
It doesn’t seem to bother him. Heimiller just continues to win. He has $637,867 in profit in this year’s WSOP, thanks in large part to winning the Seniors Event (his second WSOP bracelet). He also made the $1.5k 8-Game Mix Final Table with Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu (still being played at the time this article as published).
“This doesn’t really surprise me,” said Heimiller. “I’ve been playing this game for 30 years. I better have success!”
Heimiller Nominated for Spirit of Poker Award
Earlier this year Heimiller was nominated as a Living Legend in the PokerListings’ Spirit of Poker awards.
When asked if getting recognition meant something to him, Heimiller had no problem being honest.
“Yes it does mean something,” he said.
“I don’t want to recognize myself. Other people have to do it. Honestly there’s a group of players that I’d like to catch up to so I’d like to do it even better.”
Heimiller does’t mind sharing the wealth. This summer he’s running a contest for anyone who Retweets certain promotion Tweets he writes.
“If you Retweet me then you have a shot at getting 2% of my Main Event action,” he explained. “It’s a random draw.”
If Heimiller did the unthinkable and actually won the Main Event that would mean $200,000 going to some lucky person with a Twitter account.
Heimiller's rational for offering the freeroll is straightforward.
“I waste too much time on Twitter so if I’m going to put a Tweet out there than I want someone to read it.”
It can be easy to be cynical when you’ve been suffering through the ups and downs of poker for 30 years but Heimiller doesn’t see it that way.
“I still enjoy poker,” he said. “That’s why I play tournaments. I get a little bored of playing the same people in cash games every day.
“I like tournaments where everything is changing all the time and you can go broke at any moment.”
"Poker Was Huge 30 Years Ago and It's Huge Now"
Unlike a lot of people Heimiller doesn’t even think that poker has changed all that much since the early days, before the online boom.
“People have been telling me that pokers changed but it really hasn’t,” he said. “The emotions are the same.”
“I remember watching poker on TV on CBS’ Wild World of Sports. It was huge then and it’s huge now.”
According to Heimiller the only thing that changed was the volume of players.
“The Internet is what changed,” he said. “Some people think it’s Moneymaker. That’s silly. It was just the Internet.”
Thanks to the sheer amount of money on the table the game attracts people from all cross-sections of life including lawyers and doctors.
“You come across a lot of very intelligent people at the tables these days,” he said.
If you really want to understand Hemiller you should just visit his personal website. It’s confusing, hilarious, outdated and utterly unique. It includes stats, poker tips and subjective ranking systems.
Heimiller put it up years ago and says that it’s a reflection of his sense of humor
“I haven’t touched it since 2007,” he said. “If I update it, it’s gotta be good. Hopefully I’ll have some time to update it. Every now and then I’ll write something down that I want to add to it.”
The poker world is waiting.