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Brandon Schaefer Wins World Series of Poker $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout

Schaefer Scoops $311K and First Bracelet


Brandon Schaefer On Friday evening, former poker pro Brandon Schaefer won the $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout at the 2012 World Series of Poker. Schaefer took $311,174 after beating out a field of 1,138.

The 31-year-old member of the U.S. Army outlasted established pros Justin Schwartz, Jeff Madsen, Brandon Steven and Layne Flack near the end of the event. Schaefer beat 24-year-old poker pro Jon Cohen heads-up.

Schaefer was one of the original European Poker Tour champions, having won the main event in Deauville back in 2005. Later that year, he finished runner up at the EPT Grand Final, signifying an incredible start to his career.

Schaefer spent the next several years on the tournament circuit, but ultimately felt a void and new a change was necessary. In 2011, encouraged by his older brother, he walked into an Army recruitment office and enlisted. After basic training, he was accepted into a program for helicopter pilot training, which he will begin before the end of the summer.

“I would say that for three years I was absolutely obsessed with poker,” Schaefer said in a WSOP press release. “I played as much as I could online. But, it was not fulfilling. I wanted something more. I don’t know — sitting around clicking a mouse doesn’t do much for me. I explored around and looked at different avenues. First, I thought about opening a bar in Seattle. Then, I thought about opening a poker player travel agency. Every step I took down those roads seemed like a path that I did not want to take. It was way more involved than I thought it would be. So, I started talking to my brother. My brother is a pilot. He has been in the Army for eight years. He’s a captain. ‘Man, you know flying is the greatest thing in the world’ — he told me. Every friend I meet of his is obsessed with aviation. It is not just the job satisfaction. I actually thought that might be fun to look at and try. I went to a recruiter and found out it was an eight-month process of applying. Well, I was accepted and now I am property of the U.S. Army for the next six years.”

Before beginning flight school, Schaefer decided to give poker one more shot.

“I walked into the Rio a few days ago and the first thing I saw was a hundred people on their cell phones telling a bad beat story,” Schaefer said. “My God — was I really a part of this for seven years? This is miserable. I got my headphones on and sat down at the table. My head was clear. I slowed down a bit and noticed that my heart rate was low and I was calm and thinking through hands clearly. It’s weird how calm I was. When I was playing poker – the gold bracelet is like the Holy Grail. I felt really good to win, but I never really thought about that.”

Flack, who was gunning for his seventh career bracelet, ultimately came up just short with a fourth-place finish, good for $87,446. Each player in this event won two, ten-handed tables before advancing to the final day, which featured 12 players.

Here’s a look at the final results:

Finish Player Name Prize POY Points
1 Brandon Schaefer $311,174 960
2 Jonathan Cohen $192,559 800
3 Adam Kagin $120,329 640
4 Layne Flack $87,446 480
5 David Chase $64,555 400
6 Michael Corson $48,393 320
7 Jeff Madsen $36,809 240
8 Brandon Steven $28,375 160
9 Justin Schwartz $22,168 80

For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, check out our WSOP landing page.