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When I Was A Donk with Jake Schwartz

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Dec 19, 2018

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Jake SchwartzIn this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

Jake Schwartz broke out in 2013, narrowly missing out on a World Series of Poker bracelet by taking second in a $1,500 shootout event for $202,035. The New York-native then took fourth in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Classic for $412,187, the biggest score of his career.

Most recently, the Indiana University graduate finished runner-up in the World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble main event for $228,590. He now has just under $2 million in career live tournament earnings.

Here, Schwartz talks about the time he lost his cool on national television.

“I had a situation come up where I berated someone. I still don’t necessarily think I was wrong to react, but I definitely overreacted. A few years ago, at the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic main event, I went off on an older guy for pulling an angle. I guess I was the angle police back then because I just couldn’t let stuff like that happen, but in this particular spot, I could have handled it a lot better.”

“We were four-handed at the final table, and he raised. He was stacking his chips in a weird way and they weren’t easy to count, so I asked him how much he had behind. He answered, and I decided to shove with A-J. He snapped me off with A-K, and it turns out, he had a lot more chips than he originally said. His hand held, and he doubled up, and I was left as the short stack. Obviously, I was angry that he misrepresented his stack size, and it boiled over right there.”

“To add on to that story, I was dead broke before that final table. I had made a few bad bankroll mistakes, so the stress was at an all-time high. I’m usually a very friendly guy at the table, and I don’t like confrontation when I can avoid it, but in that spot, I was upset and it came out. It was a great score, but all I could think about was the hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity that this guy had robbed me of. The whole thing was shown on TV and I got some grief over it for a little while, some unpleasant messages from strangers online, but I’m past it now.”

“If the same thing happened today, I would just shake my head and move on. I still think it wasn’t right for him to shoot an angle, but I also recognize that I made a mistake by not asking for the accurate count. Then I made things worse because I let that mistake take over my emotions and throw me off my game.” ♠