The former chess master and poker pro Ylon Schwartz won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet last Saturday! He topped a field of nearly 900 players in the $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament and received $267,081 in prize money!
Schwartz has now earned over $4,4 million (23 cashes) in the past six years at the World Series of Poker. Most of his WSOP earnings come from when he finished 4th in the 2008 Main Event and received mind-blowing $3,774,974 in prize money.
Want to know more about Ylon Schwartz? Check out the interview (from WSOP's website) below!
Question: So, how does it feel to finally win?
Schwartz: I'm super happy to get this bracelet. I've been banging away, knocking at the door a bunch of times. Forever I was finishing at the second (to last table). They would call me "the teenager" -- I was finishing 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th. Then finally I got the fourth, and then third and now I finally broke through. It's an amazing feeling.
Question: Does your extensive chess background help you with a game like H.O.R.S.E.?
Schwartz: Just sitting on my duff all day in the park was good just to learn patience. It's not easy to sit there forever. Playing many different games definitely helps adjusting to the stages of the tournament and this is really about management. I think positional play might be more relevant than tactical play (in H.O.R.S.E.). You might not play a hand perfectly, but managing the spots and understanding what people think of you can give you some benefit in a leg where you've been passive and you know they're memorizing your tendencies. It's more about tournament management from my point of view. I know a lot of these young kids like to extract every last bit of value from a hand and I think that's really hard to do in a three-day tournament. You're better off not losing an extra bet. Holding onto your chips is more important.
Question: Talk about playing David Chiu heads-up.
Schwartz: I thought I was going to go heads-up with Chiu. Actually, when the final table started that's what I envisioned. The limits were super high, and it really doesn't matter who your opponent is at that point. You just start auto-betting. When I had a chip lead I just sent it. That's, I think, the right thing to do.
Question: The November Nine fourth-place finish was a lot more money, but you didn't win. This was much less, but you won. Which is better?
Schwartz: I feel about the same. The (Main Event) was obviously a more wild, rollercoaster experience. Going through all those days to get to that place and having all that money for people close to you to try to borrow....When I made that score, it was all of the sudden, ‘I want to do this, I want to do that.' People calling me I hadn't heard from in 10 or 20 years. I don't think this will be as intense.
Question: How's life in Austin (Texas)? How different is it and how much are you enjoying it?
Schwartz: I love Austin. New York City to Austin -- I mean, you can breathe in Austin. It's a beautiful place. It's mellow. There are no casinos there, which is good. That's where I go to decompress. Every summer, I'm always happy when people come and bring all the money to the building and I have a shot to try to relax for the rest of the year.