Jay Heimowitz is the most accomplished and revered amateur poker players in WSOP history. Many would be quick to point at a Tennessee accountant as the most successful amateur, but with six WSOP bracelets dating back to 1975 Heimowitz has the better record. The Bethel, New York native started playing poker at the tender age of nine for baseball cards.
Heimowitz won his first bracelet in No Limit Hold’em 5k event in 1975. His next bracelet came more than a decade later in 1986 when he won a Limit Hold’em event. Then in 1991 he won a $5k Pot Limit Omaha bracelet followed by another Pot Limit event, this time Hold’em, in 1994. He picked up his fifth in 2000 in a Limit Hold’em event and then won his sixth in the 2001 Senior’s Event.
Though Heimowitz has never won a Main Event bracelet he has an astounding seven finishes in the top fifteen. He has made the Final Table twice finishing in 3rd in 1980 and 6th in 1981. The Main Event was particularly nice to him for a decade span; he finished 11th in 1987, 15th in 1988, 14th in 1989, 11th in 1991, and 13th in 1997.
Heimowitz served in the U.S. Army and left the service at age 21 after winning $10,000 playing against fellow servicemen. He used his new found wealth and bought a small beer brewery and worked night and day for eighteen months. He then sold it to Budweiser becoming the youngest distributor in America.
When his focus shifted to poker he became one of the early members at New York’s Mayfair Club. Heimowitz mastered his game by playing with some of the best at the time, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, and Mickey Appleman.
Heimowitz has been married for 40 years, has four sons and eight grandchildren. With over $1.5 million in WSOP earnings he still finds time to play “recreationally.”