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by Shawn Patrick Green |  Published: Apr 01, 2008


Noah Schwartz Chalks Up One for His Haters
By Shawn Patrick Green

Noah "fouruhaters" Schwartz kick-started his highly successful poker career by playing online poker. Schwartz, 24, admits that he got off to a rocky start by going into debt to make deposits and by losing whatever he did win right back. However, those false starts have helped him to become what he is today, and he has had a lot of incredible accomplishments.

The Miami Beach, Florida, resident's most recent accomplishment came when he finished in fourth place in the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Open. His finish landed him $332,000 and some face-time on national television when the episode airs. He has had a lot of success in live poker, but none of it would have been possible if not for his earlier successes online. His biggest online win - and, in fact, his biggest win to date before the Winter Open finish - was when he took down the $1,000 PokerStars Sunday Million on March, 25, 2007, for $291,000.

Schwartz started playing poker for the fun of it, rather than the skill of it, and he experienced a lot of people telling him that he couldn't do it. It was those naysayers who inspired his screen name fouruhaters, and it was partly because of them that he strove to get better.

Card Player got Schwartz on the phone shortly after his big finish in the Winter Open to talk about his drive for success, and, of course, about his recent big score:

Shawn Patrick Green:
What got you to that final table? Were you running hot or were you playing well, or some combination of the two?

Noah "fouruhaters" Schwartz: On day three … it was tough for me. I started with 500,000 in chips, and in the first level, I got involved in a hand in which I raised with K-6 from under the gun and John Hennigan called me. It was a 6-6-2 flop, and we ended up getting all in for about 440,000. He had 6-5 and rivered a 5, which sort of sent me spiraling downward. I told Card Player [tournament reporters] that I was on "life tilt." But I was able to regain my composure and stay focused, and I just played really, really solid poker throughout the rest of the tournament.

SPG: What did it take to help you regain your composure?

NS: This hand happened right before the break. At the break, I received several text messages from people who were following me online at They said, "Noah, you have the ability." I still had 180,000 in chips, which was well above average, but I was just down. It was a 420,000 pot. I talked to my fiancé, and she was like, "Look, I know you can do it." I've been in similar situations before, when I may not have persevered and not handled it in the right manner, but I said, "You know what? I'm going to get it done no matter what I have to do." I picked some good spots where I had a couple of all-in situations when I wasn't called and I was holding very marginal hands. But I had the reads on certain people, and the tendencies that they had, to get them off certain hands, and I had enough chips to get that done. So, I was able to chip back up, and once I got back to 300,000 or 400,000, I was fair game and was ready to go.

SPG: You've had very good results both online and live. Are the two that much different?

NS: The difference is that people online play a lot faster. They're a lot more aggressive, and I think it comes from the ability to buy into another tournament right afterward. You know, you can just click on the lobby and get into another tournament. But live, in these big events, people are a lot more cautious, and they're not opening pots with as many marginal hands as they do online. So, I think playing live is easier than playing online.

SPG: Just because you can exploit people's tightness?

NS: Right, because a lot of people are afraid to bust out in these big live events. Especially early, they're not willing to put it all in, so if you're really willing to put someone to the test early, a lot of people are going to fold. I always put a lot of pressure on people, and in my last three events, I've been able to accumulate a lot of chips because I'm always putting the pressure on.

SPG: What's the biggest mistake that people make when deep-stacked?

NS: A prime example is my buddy Justin Bonomo. He entered the final table of the tournament with 3 million in chips; he was second in chips at the table. His style is - and he doesn't change it - to open a lot of pots and be willing to play in any situation. And, unfortunately, in this particular situation, it hurt him a lot, because he got involved in a hand in which he called 125,000 preflop with 7-4 suited, or maybe it was off, and he flopped an open-end straight draw and ended up losing about 1.5 million in the hand. So, I think that what a lot of people do is open up their game too much; they start opening too many pots.

Gavin Griffin is another prime example of this. He started opening a lot of pots, but for him it was successful, because he exploited the people who just wanted to move up, who wanted to go from ninth to eighth to seventh. So, he was able to take advantage of that. And he picked up some good situations, like queens against the A-K of Bonomo; he won 2 million in chips in the hand. I think, ultimately, that you just need to stick to your game; a lot of people try to bully, they get a lot of chips and they start to bully, and it hurts them. It catches up with them at the end of the day.

Chatbox Cunning

Card Player Pro trainer Isaac "luvthewnba" Haxton (part of the PokerSavvy Plus stable of poker pros) gives us some insight into the games he specializes in.

Isaac "luvthewnba" Haxton

On how best to play against wildly aggressive opponents:

It depends on the situation, of course. But if somebody is just going to put his stack in every hand, you have to wait until you have a better hand than him to call it off. But that doesn't mean that you have to beat top pair, necessarily, but you certainly

must adjust your hand valuation against someone who is playing that aggressively. One thing you can do is tighten up your preflop and flop play so that you more often have a big hand when you get to the turn and river, so that you're not getting blown off in big pots with mediocre hands. That's something that a lot of people do wrong against overaggressive players, I think; they want to play as many hands against them as they can, because they think they're playing poorly, and they want to get their money in as soon as possible. But if somebody is playing overly aggressively, you're sort of playing into his strategy by putting yourself in lots of spots in which you have to make tough decisions with third pair against him.

On the hardest part of being a professional poker player:

The toughest thing is riding out really bad losing streaks. I went about seven months at a little worse than break-even the year before my



PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

] score, just before I switched from limit to no-limit [hold'em]. And it can be really hard to make yourself play every day when you just can't win. It was toward the end of that losing streak that I switched from limit to no-limit, and I guess, during a losing streak like that, switching up the games you're playing, learning a new game, can be a good way to keep poker fun and interesting.