Gossip Column: Rutger Hennens Journey From Poker Fame to Infamy

Gossip Column: Rutger Hennens Journey From Poker Fame to Infamy

Read more about Gossip Column: Rutger Hennen’s Journey From Poker Fame to Infamy on PokerGuru! GC Cover 23-5-24

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  • Indrakshi MukherjeeMay 24, 2024
  • 3 minutes Read

ShareTweetWhatsAppHold onto your poker chips, folks, because the tale of Rutger Hennen, aged 32, is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Once shining brightly in the limelight, ranked 30th in Quote magazine’s Top 100 Young Self-Made Millionaires, and basking in World Poker Tour glory, Hennen now finds himself in a far less glamorous setting—a jail cell in the Netherlands.

In 2017, Hennen was the king of the elderly market, renting vans and selling stand-up chairs along with custom recliners, raking in a jaw-dropping €6.4 Million over three years. His company, Meubelzorg, caught the eye of Vendis Capital, a European private equity giant, which snapped it up in June 2023, catapulting Hennen’s net worth to a staggering €50 Million.

Flush with cash, Hennen dove headfirst into the poker scene! His Hendon Mob profile shows a smattering of live tournament cashes from 2011 to 2019, but it was only after his financial windfall that he really started making waves. He snagged the 2024 WPT €1,100 Amsterdam Main Event, and landed a 31st-place finish in the €5,300 PokerStars EPT Monte-Carlo Main Event. However, that Monte Carlo jaunt would be his last for at least six months.

That Fateful Night in June 2019

Hennen’s Porsche Cayenne barreled through an intersection at high speed, striking and instantly killing a 15-year-old girl on her bicycle. Initially, Hennen received a five-month prison sentence and an 18-month driving ban. The Public Prosecution Service, however, appealed for a harsher sentence, alleging Hennen was on his phone at the time.

Hennen and his lawyers pleaded for community service, but the court’s final decision was a six-month jail term and a two-year driving ban. Despite an appeal to the Supreme Court, the judges remained firm, imposing the harsh sentence at the end of 2022. Earlier this month, Hennen was officially behind bars!

Hennen Pleads – His Businesses and Children Need Him

In a tearful courtroom scene, Hennen sobbed as he confessed to thinking about the tragic accident every day, expressing deep guilt. He pleaded with the judge to spare him from prison and a driving ban, arguing that his businesses couldn’t function without him and emphasizing his role as a father to three young children who need their dad at home.

But life has a way of turning the tables. Hennen’s businesses, including Meubelzorg and Bestair—a company specializing in air conditioning and heat pumps co-founded with his brother Maurits Hennen—have now been sold. An employee at Bestair confirmed the company was sold ‘just last week.’ Maurits also confirmed via email, providing an extract from the Chamber of Commerce as proof: ‘Bestair is no longer mine or Rutger’s.’

Other Poker Stars Caught Breaking the Law

Hennen isn’t the first poker star to trade the felt for a cell. Darren Woods, once a sponsored pro at 888poker, served 15 months in 2015 for defrauding online poker rooms and payment processors, with British authorities confiscating a hefty £911,217 from him.

Then there’s Christian Lusardi, who spent five years behind bars for counterfeiting tournament chips during the Borgata Winter Poker Open, although he was out on parole after just eight months. And let’s not forget the July 2021 Ibiza scandal, where a high-stakes poker player, rumored to be Salman Behbehani, was nabbed after their private jet was found loaded with over 1.5 kilos of narcotics and more than $10,000 (~₹8.32 Lakhs) in various currencies.

The poker world is never short of drama, and Rutger Hennen’s fall from grace is just the latest sensational chapter in this ongoing saga.

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  • KeywordsTags: Bestair, Maurits Hennen, Meubelzorg, Vendis Capital, Rutger Hennen, Gossip Coloumn, Salman Behbehani, Christian Lusardi, Darren Woods

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