World Series of Poker Europe

Brandon Scheafer his best month ever

Brandon Scheafer his best month ever 0001

You may remember the story of Brandon Schaefer. Brandon is the guy who decided to join his buddy Carl Olsen at the last minute for the EPT France, and wound up winning the tournament, after winning the very last super satellite online to win his trip there. It was a fascinating story. The fascination continued, as Brandon won a seat to the EPT Grand Final, and took second place in that tournament. Ladies, and gentlemen, I present to you the feel good poker story of the month, Brandon Schaefer.

PN: Give me a little bit of background on yourself, and your play before the French EPT event.

Brandon: I'm 24 years old. Sad to say, but I started playing in 2002 after watching "Rounders". It was my self, Carl (Olsen, Brandon's friend who finished second at the French Open), and a few other friends who didn't take it as seriously as Carl or myself. We would play ten cent twenty-five cent No Limit games with a $10 buy in. Then Carl & I started going to the Casino, and playing $4/$8, and we got hooked. But it really wasn't until March of last year, where we got turned on to two plus two, and that is when we really started studying the game. I went to Vegas shortly after that, and met some other people who post on 2+2. One guy we became good friends with is a pro, and he added Carl & I to this e-mail list where a bunch of people would discuss hands, and that was kind of the birth of me taking poker more seriously.

I started playing online, but I was still in school, and working full time. I quit my job in December, sort of because I was going to be doing a lot of traveling, and I had enough money saved up to live for about six months. I was moving to San Diego to go back to school, and I figured if I lost my whole poker bankroll, I still had six months to figure out what to do. I had my little six-month experiment, so far it has gone pretty well (laughs).

PN - So, were you successful enough online in that time to warrant taking this leap?

Brandon – I had made some money, just enough to give this poker thing a shot. I keep poker money, and life money separate, so I knew I could survive even if I blew the poker bankroll. But also, I was now going to be able to devote twenty-five hours a week or more to poker, something I had never been able to do prior to that time.

PN - Prior to your win in the French Open, what was your biggest win?

Brandon – The French Open was only my fifth live tournament ever. I actually won the first live tournament I ever entered. It was a $100 buy in tournament, and I won five thousand dollars, it was pretty sweet.

PN – I have detailed the story with you & Carl, and your path to get over to France. But prior to that event, had you two discussed things like "Hey, wouldn't it be great if one of us made it to the final table?" or something like that {Brandon & Carl wound up finishing 1st and 2nd}?

Brandon – We had definitely been joking around. Things like "OK, 31% for first place, 17% for second, that leaves 52% for everyone else" (laughs). Won't it be great when we get down to heads up.,etc. We didn't know what to expect. We are confident players, but we know a lot of tournament poker is luck, and we really didn't know what to expect. It was by far the largest tournament either of us had ever been in.

PN – So, were you nervous when the French Open started?

Brandon - Yes, I was definitely nervous. It was probably fortunate, but I didn't get any hands to play early. I think that really helped me, because I was nervous, but I never had any tough decisions early, it was just fold, fold, fold. I'm a pretty aggressive player, but I talked to some people in Monaco who were at my first table, and thought I was the ultimate rock, because I probably played one hand in the first four hours, which probably worked to my advantage also.

PN – OK, fast forward to Monaco, a win under your belt, were you nervous at the start of that event?

Brandon - I was nervous, because it was a lot bigger. I had seen a number of the players that were going to be in the field, and it looked so much tougher. I was nervous, but at the same time I was excited about the experience. As soon as I won the trip, I started looking at the big names registered, and I was just excited at the prospect of playing with these great players, and learning how they play. Having a win under my belt, I felt calm, and felt I could enjoy the experience.

PN - Who was at your opening table, any cause for more nerves?

Brandon - Juha Helpi, and Isabelle Mercier, but I was only there for about an hour. Then I got moved to a ridiculously tough table with not too many people you have seen on TV, but really great players. Noah Boeken, Ross Boatman, Jacques Durand, and Tony Bloom were all at that table. That table was ridiculous. It was tough to get chips from that those players, and I spent the rest of day one there.

PN – Let's switch gears if we might. I noticed you brought your Mom. What does your Mom think of the poker thing?

Brandon - It's actually been really great. It was hard to explain to the family that poker is something worthwhile. I tried to explain the change in the world of poker over the last couple years. My Mom still had the image of seedy back rooms with unsavory characters, but taking her to this thing, she saw all the young people who had come out, and everyone was very cheerful, and having a good time. Its not the stereotypical gamblers, and it was really nice to be able to show her that. Plus, the whole trip was awesome, and I got to show her "look, this whole trip was paid for by poker". It was good.

PN - So, have you been hawked by agents or managers yet?

Brandon - I haven't. I spoke a lot to Greg Raymer there, and he told me that it didn't even happen to him right away. He actually didn't sign one contract for a couple months after his win. He said over the next month, people will begin to call, and I look forward to those calls.

PN - So, what from here? Are you still going to Grad School?

Brandon - I plan on it. If I get a sponsor, or something like that, then I feel I would have a hard choice. The thing is, I can go back to grad school, but it would be tough to go to school for two years, and come back in two years, and say "Hey, remember the run I had in Europe in 2005?" I'm not sure anyone would care.

PN – How much more do you think you will play on the circuit?

Brandon – I will be at the WSOP, and probably play a couple of the smaller buy in events there. I can't see myself plunking down $10k for the main event, but maybe I will get in on a satellite, or get a sponsor or something. We'll see.

PN – What a great month for you…thanks for the time, Brandon.

Brandon – Thanks, see you later.

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