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Poker Stories Podcast: Former Major League Baseball Player Turned Sports Betting CEO Michael Schwimer

Poker Stories Is An Audio Podcast Series That Features The Game's Best Players and Personalities


Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Michael Schwimer grew up as a standout athlete in Fairfax, Virginia, and in high school was a star on his baseball and basketball teams. The 6’8’’, 240-pound Schwimer led his basketball team to a championship and was even named MVP over future NBA center Roy Hibbert, but ultimately decided to turn down scholarship offers from Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Coach Rick Pitino at Louisville in order to pitch for his hometown University of Virginia baseball team.

Schwimer decided to finish his degree, and even interned at a hedge fund, before he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent three years in the minor leagues before making his major league debut, and finished his career with a 3-2 record. Schwimer says he made more money in the poker games on team road trips than he did as a player during his time in the league.

After retiring, Schwimer started Big League Advance, a company that invests in (or stakes) minor league baseball players in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings. His second company, Jambos, is now positioning itself in the rapidly-expanding sports betting market.

This December, Schwimer will be appearing on new episodes of High Stakes Poker, which has returned for an eighth season with original hosts Gabe Kaplan and A.J. Benza. Schwimer will be competing against a lineup that includes Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney, Rick Salomon, Nick Petrangelo, Jean-Robert Bellande, and Brandon Steven.

Highlights from this interview include being born two feet tall, an early appreciation for data, saying no to Rick Pitino and Mike Krzyzewski, the scorecard of hedge funds, being drafted by the Phillies, the truth about his signing bonus, how ‘Houdini’ got from the minors to the majors, short-stacking the team $100-$200 poker game, Jonathan Papelbon’s favorite hand, big buy-in games with Tom Dwan in London, using the element of surprise on High Stakes Poker, the staking business of baseball, sports betting expansion, singing to Bruce Springsteen, reffing sixth-grade basketball games, pizza socks and slaps in the face, and betting $780,000 on the Super Bowl.

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to your device to play on the go from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Bryn Kenney, Justin Bonomo, Antonio Esfandiari, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Dan Smith, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Sexton, Maria Ho, and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.