FBI believed to be investigating Michigan abduction of four-time Online Circuit ring winner

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Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: December 23, 2023 06:42 PST

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is believed to be continuing an investigation into the reported kidnapping of a Michigan poker player best known for winning four WSOP Michigan Online Circuit rings since early 2022.

George Janssen, 41, of Bad Axe, Michigan, was discovered by passersby on a roadside in Meade Township, near Bad Axe in Michigan's "Thumb" region, at about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 16. Janssen's hands were zip-tied, and he claimed that he had just escaped his abductors. Several police officers arrived on the scene and gathered more information from Janssen as he was treated for minor injuries and transported to a nearby medical center for evaluation.

Janssen had been reported missing by family members nearly five weeks earlier, south of Detroit near the Michigan-Ohio border. His car (photo sbove) was found on a rural Monroe County road by a friend of the family in mid-November.

Janssen told police that he had been held in the basement of a Toledo, Ohio house for 35 days, and he escaped his kidnappers after they had brought him back to his home town to retrieve hidden money to give to them. He also claimed that he had been targeted for extortion for two years.

More than $440,000 in known tourney earnings for Janssen

Janssen's known tournament cashes exceed $440,000 , with no information regarding his cash-game play. Detroit's ABC12 News credited him with just over $200,000 in winnings based on a Mid-States Poker Tour profile page , but he has cashed on numerous other tours as well.

His WSOP profile , for example, shows him with nearly $163,000 in 64 cashes, both live and online, including his four WSOP Michigan Online Circuit wins. Janssen has also logged significant scores on the now-defunct Heartland Poker Tour, at the Wynn Summer Classic in Las Vegas, and at numerous other venues, mostly in Michigan and Nevada.

Janssen's two largest career scores, of $82,823 and $79,861 - both in MSPT events - came in just the past three months. If he was being targeted for extortion for two years as claimed, the kidnappers likely would have been aware of his recent success at the felt.

Featured image source: Monroe County (MI) Sheriff's Department