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WSOP November Nine Q and A -- Kevin Schaffel

Schaffel Talks About His Thought Process Heading into November


Kevin Schaffel at the WPT Legends Final TableAnyone who follows poker knows that Kevin Schaffel will sit down at the 2009 World Series of Poker main event final table Nov. 7-10. He will enter that final table in sixth chip position with 12,390,000. Schaffel has decided to enter a few tournaments in the meantime, and his first endeavor was wildy successful.

Schaffel finished runner-up to Prahlad Friedman at the recent World Poker Tour Legends of Poker $10,000 no-limit hold’em championship and took home $471,670 in prize money (WPT Legends of Poker final-table recap). Schaffel just missed winning his first tournament title in L.A., but the confidence and final-table experience he gained will be invaluable as he prepares for November.

Card Player caught up with Schaffel at the Bicycle Casino, and he talked about his thought process heading into the main-event final table.

Ryan Lucchesi: How much have you been playing since making the main-event final table?

Kevin Schaffel: I’m playing more online. I live in Florida, so there is not a whole lot of play available down there. This is my first trip since the main event. It’s good to get back into action. I didn’t think I was going to play for a while, but it took me five days before I figured out I was going to start playing again. I’m playing cash games, and this is my first tournament here.

RL: You have played in more than a dozen live tournaments in your career now. Does that give you an advantage over the stark tournament rookies in the November Nine?

KS: I have to think I have a little bit of an edge over some people, but if they have three times or five times the amount of chips that I do, then it diminishes my edge.

RL: How long were you playing poker professionally before the 2009 main event?

KS: I wouldn’t call it professionally. I started playing a lot more in February of 2008. I wouldn’t call it professional though, more of a semi-professional…I was playing mostly $10-$20 no-limit hold’em, and that hasn’t changed.

RL: What will you do if you win?

KS: By the time you get done with taxes and buy a little house somewhere, there’s not a whole lot left over. Well see if I finish first or second, then it is a different story.

RL: What are you doing to prepare yourself for the final table?

KS: I’m reading a little bit more. I’m playing some more sit-and-gos. Six-handed games mainly, because I have a pretty fair amount of experience playing at full tables … Short-handed tables are as close as you can get to tournament play when you get down deep into an event and the blinds are going up. There’s no way to recreate the final-table experience; it’s impossible to do. I’ve been talking about it with people, and there is just no way to do it. Somebody has 58 million, and someone else has 7 million, and you can’t recreate that no matter what game you’re playing. I’m just going to keep playing the way I’ve been playing and adjust to how everybody is playing at the final table, and hopefully I’ll get some good cards and some good things will happen.

RL: What are your tournament poker plans for the fall? Are you going to play a lot of live tournaments to warm up for the final table?

KS: I’m going to London Oct. 1-8, and I don’t have any other trips planned. I have another poker trip planned to come back out here and play some more golf. That’s what I plan to do. I’m playing a lot of golf and mixing in a little poker here and there. I don’t want to get into too many bad habits by playing in too many tournaments. I don’t want to burn myself out, certainly. These are two good tournaments to play. This one has come about a month after my last one, and in another month I’ll be ready for London. I’m looking forward to going over there and playing, because I’ve never played over there. I may squeeze one more in during October, depending on how I do here and in London. But it’s a little awkward, because I would have to be out in Vegas in late October, then fly home and fly back, and I don’t know if I want to do that.



over 11 years ago

take it down Kevin - we'll be rooting for u