Let’s admit it. We’ve all gone off on an opponent in the chat box at one time or another. Snippets of vitriol like “Nice catch donkey,” “How can you call with that &*#%,” or even “Die in a fire,” are dealt with the frequency of junk hands from the safety of one’s keyboard. Most of us wouldn’t dare utter such turns of phrase aloud and in person either out of simple decorum or fear of getting a beat-down in the casino parking lot. But Luke “_FullFlush1_” Schwartz isn’t most people. He relishes his role as poker's newest villain.
“It’s a boring game sometimes. You’ve got to mix it up,” he told our own Gloria Balding at this year’s European Poker Tour Grand Final.
In his short career on the felt, Schwartz has beaten some of the best players in the world for millions online, done remarkably well on several televised poker shows, and been banned from U.K. casinos on two occasions ― once for not agreeing to remove his hat and another time for refusing to pay for a sandwich. He has nicknamed Phil Galfond “OMGweNerds” and called Tom Dwan “gay” in an on-camera interview. Love him or hate him, Schwartz is not afraid to speak his mind, and the brash young Brit is sure to add some spark (and maybe even a little controversy) to the Rio this summer when he makes his World Series of Poker debut.
As a 16-year-old in London, Schwartz acquired his initial bankroll by winning £1,000 on a World Cup bet. A friend of his was making money by playing fruit machines at the local pubs and taught Schwartz his secrets. Soon he was making a few hundred quid a day on the machines and hustling pool on the side. Online poker caught his eye in 2005 while he was at university studying mathematics. Beginning with no-limit hold’em cash games, Schwartz worked his way up to $5/$10 NL and was making enough money to quit his studies and concentrate on playing full time.
Iffy bankroll management, however, saw him go busto the following year. He got back into the cash games thanks to a few tournament scores, including a win in the PokerStars Sunday Million. He continued moving up in limits, crushing the games on Betfair and the iPoker network before deciding to take a shot at the nosebleed stakes on Full Tilt Poker. Playing $200/$400 NLHE and above, he made close to $750,000 playing against the likes of Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, Patrik Antonius, Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro and Dwan. Schwartz’s spicy trash talk got his chat banned, however, and for most of this year he has been playing on European sites.
Televised poker events have also been kind to Schwartz. He made the Party Poker World Open V final table in October 2009 and the Full Tilt Poker Million VIII final table where he finished fourth, taking home $150,000. Schwartz also competed in the Party Poker Premier League IV earlier this year, finishing runner-up to David Benyamine for a $200,000 score.
The 26-year-old Londoner will be heading for Las Vegas later this month where he is expected to take a seat alongside many of the players he’s berated online at the WSOP. Schwartz, however, claims to have mellowed and matured a bit over the last year. At least that’s what he told Gloria Balding in their most recent interview at the EPT €25,000 High-Roller event in Monte Carlo, where he finished in ninth place. Check it out below.
Look for Luke Schwartz to make a splash in some of the bigger buy-in no-limit hold’em events this summer. If he lands on a final table, it should make for some stellar television.