Thursday, November 13, 2008


Actually, I have.Several times! He's usually sitting in a bar stool near me at Angry Wades in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I remember about a year ago having a conversation with the guy. I asked him what he did. He looked me straight in the eye and told me he was a professional poker player. I asked him....can you really make money doing that.

Well, flash ahead to earlier this week, when while sitting in that same bar stool, I looked up at one of the pubs many TVs and spotted him on ESPN. He was sitting at a table in Las Vegas playing poker. You could barely see his face, because there were so many chips stacked up in front of him.

Indeed that guy who often pops into Angry Wades for a beer was Ylon Schwartz, the 38 year old Poker whiz who just won $3,774,974 in the 39th annual World Series of Poker. He came in 4th place. The winner, a 22-year-old Danish kid, took home $9,000,000. I remember him once telling me he was a chess hustler, meaning he'd travel around to city parks and take in a few pick up games with the hustling regulars. He made some money doing that. Ylon even traveled the world to compete, but he was convinced he could do better at poker. Alas, he has.

I'm not sure if Ylon will ever return to his neighborhood pub. He admitted in an interview that many of his friends and acquaintances from the past have come out of the woodwork asking for money. For the time being, Ylong told ESPN he plans to take his cash and run. He'll visit some tropical island and smoke pot. He said so much in the interview. Ylon says it's not enough money to retire, but he's going to put down the cards for a while.

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