GAMBLING

Poker Champ Claims He Was Kidnapped by Gang in Extortion Plot

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Posted on: December 24, 2023, 11:50h. 

Last updated on: December 24, 2023, 11:50h.

The FBI is reportedly investigating claims made by the family of mid-stakes poker champ George Janssen that he was kidnapped and held captive for more than a month.

George Janssen wins the Mid-States Poker Tour $1,600 Main Event at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Sept. 10, 2023, two months before his reported disappearance. (Image: msptpoker.com)

According to WJRT-TV/Flint, the 41-year-old Michigan father was discovered zip-tied and bloodied at the side of a rural road in Bad Axe, Mich. on Dec. 16. He told the passer-by he flagged down that he managed to escape his captors.

Police released this photo of Janssen’s abandoned car, inside of which they found two $50 bills on the floor. (Image: Monroe County Sheriff’s Department)

A member of Janssen’s family, which reported him missing on Nov. 13, told WJRT that he was abducted and driven by two or three people to the Toledo area, where he was tied up for 35 days in the basement of a home.

On Dec. 16, the news station reported, Janssen appears to have been driven back to Michigan.

“From what we gathered, he was being brought up here to recover some money that was hidden to give to these two assailants,” Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson told WJRT.

Janssen, the former owner of a Michigan car dealership, has four championship rings from the World Series of Poker Circuit, a series of casino poker tournaments held annually since 2005 as a build-up to the World Series of Poker.

Janssen’s family said that he had complained about repeated extortion attempts for at least two years. That’s when his cash wins, which date back to 2015, really started ramping up. Online and in person, his winnings now total just north of $200K — including his two career-best cashes, $83K and $80K, from Mid-States Poker Tour wins within 90 days of his disappearance.

Hanson told the news station: “We can’t substantiate whether it did happen or it didn’t happen, but there are a lot of things that need to be looked into.”

All reports from the Huron County Sheriff’s Department, Bad Axe Police, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department have been turned over to the FBI, according to WJRT.

 

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