The fate of German poker pro Johannes Strassmann was sadly clarified this weekend, as a positively-identified-via-DNA-sampling body turned up in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, floating in theÂ Ljubljanica River. Â Local authorities announced a positive DNA match of the 29-year-old Strassman, but many details, as well as how and why he ended up in the river, remain a mystery, at least to the public at large.
Police claim they do not suspect foul play, and are as yet waiting for toxicology reports to be finalized.
To backtrack on this story, Strassman had gone to Ljubljana back on June 21, reportedly to meet up with friends; he was also supposed to coach some poker players he had arranged to meet while there. It seems that at about 10 pm that night, he for some reason left his group and was not heard from again.
By Tuesday, authorities put a Europe-wide missing persons alert in place for the poker pro, which ultimately led to his body being discovered in the river on Friday; it appeared by its decomposed state to have been in the water several days already, and the DNA tests were necessary to even make a definitive positive identification that it was, indeed, him.
“After a short stop [in Slovenia], they had planned to head all together to the Croatian coast,” Ljubljana Police Public Relation Officer Vinko Stojnsek told PokerNews before his body was discovered in the river. The site also reported that a â‚¬10,000 ($13,600) reward had been offered for information that could have helped to find Strassman, though it was unclear who had established that reward, or if anyone will now receive it.
Strassmann was identified by police as a 180 cm (5’11”) blonde male wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans at the time of his disappearance.
While Strassmann may not be a household name in America, the German poker pro had had a successful career nonetheless. He’d earned over $1.5 million in tournament play, including seven World Series of Poker cashes and multiple final tables on the European Poker Tour.
Strassmann was a former Team PokerStars pro known for playing in both tournaments and high-stakes cash games. Some of his greatest tournament successes had included a 6th place finish at the 2008 EPT German Open, 3rd at the 2010 EPT Snowfest, and a 5th place finish at the 2013 EPT London Super High Roller event. Primarily an online player, he also ran a poker school to teach the game to aspiring pros.
In a 2013 interview with PokerListings.com, Strassmann had said that he enjoyed traveling, though he preferred to do so for fun now rather than for the tournament circuit.
“Your whole lifestyle, and your whole thoughts will just surround around tournament poker,” Strassmann said, “and that’s just not for me. I’m really looking into a lot of other things in my life: sports, my friends, my family, and spending a lot of quality time at home working on my self-development.”
On Wednesday, before his body was discovered, several players noticed that Strassmann’s name was showing up on some lists of reported chip counts during a $5,000 buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker, but this was quickly determined to be a hoax.
We will continue to follow this story and keep you apprised of more information as it emerges.