With the 48-hour PartyPoker Big Game IV about to get started over in London in a few days, we sat down to chat with high-volume cash-game grinder and Team Pokerstars Online pro Dusty "Leatherass" Schmidt and Jesse May, who will be calling the shots in the commentary booth just as he did for all 36 hours of the previous Big Game. Both men are making an effort to stick it out for the entire 48 hours, which should certainly make things interesting on the felt — and in the booth.
Dusty, what is the longest poker session you have played?
Dusty Schmidt: 24 hours straight online, which was 20,000 hands. I ended up winning a pretty nice chunk of cash, as well.
Jesse, last year you did the full 36 hours. What made you to want to do the full 48 hours this time?
Jesse May: Because we survived last time. We want to keep pushing the envelope for these things. I am no Paul Zimbler (who broke the world record for continuous heads-up play last year), but I have tried to play in really long sessions in Vegas. Forty-one hours is my record so far. I don’t know if I can do it all; I might need a nap at some point. I know if I wake up at like 10 a.m. the morning before then I am finished. Ideally, I want to wake up a few hours before the show. The thought of doing the voice-over after the show is recorded is so anti what this is all about; the commentary is going to play a big part in the atmosphere of what is going on.
What is it about the length of the game that makes it so exciting?
JM: 48 hours makes anything possible. Everyone can play well for 12 hours, but nobody knows what will happen in the final 36. It could get out of control. Some people will be really stuck. Word will spread, and we will see people we didn’t expect coming out of the woodwork. It's guys like Neil Channing and Dusty "Leatherass" Schmidt, who are planning on playing all 48 hours who will make this show.
Dusty, we don’t really see much of you live or on TV. What made you want to come to the U.K. for this show?
DS: Well, Jesse May invited me on the air when I was on his show last month. I accepted the offer because I have been looking to branch out to mainstream poker after playing for over five years almost exclusively online. I have always had a lot of poker capabilities to do well and have often watched poker on TV knowing full well I could play as well or better than many of the guys you see on TV. So rather than just thinking that, I figured I may as well go out there and see what playing poker away from the Internet is all about.
Why on earth would you want to play a 48-hour session against tough opposition like this?
DS: I guess I just like stupid challenges. I took on the USGA by myself in court, issued a million-dollar golf/poker challenge, did Supernova Elite in 9 months playing exclusively high-stakes cash (which hadn't been done before at the time), etc. So I guess I just like to see what I can pull off in life. Life is boring without hard challenges.
You must be excited about seeing Isildur1 for the first time?
DS: If he doesn't show his face, I may go over and rip off his mask on TV!! The dynamic will definitely change with him because due to his extreme aggression it will widen everyone's ranges at the table and put people in a lot of more difficult spots. I haven't thought about how I will personally handle that, but I will definitely come up with something that makes sense to answer that with.
JM: Like most people, I won’t believe it until I see it even though I am about as close to this as is possible. Eddie Hearn and Tony G have really gone out on a limb to get him, and I think it will be great. I think he will wear a mask for the show, which might actually be really good for the game. I’m sure he will be playing a lot of hands and being very aggressive.
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