2008 World Series: Math, money and then back to school
For a lot of players in the Amazon room right now this is all about the big win, the big pay off that will catapult them into the big time and life on the poker circuit. For others meanwhile this is just a great way to spend the summer and prove to themselves that they belong here and can compete with the best. So it goes for PokerStars players Brian Schaedlich and Shen Jing.
Brian started the day as chip leader, finishing last night with a colossal 800,000. But in the first levels of day three the 22-year-old hit some bad hands and the road this far has been an unstable one.
“Most people probably know I started off with about 800,000. I got it up to 900,000 and had aces run into queens on the flop, and lost another big pot. I’ve been taking big hits today but I still have 400,000.”
Coming in to the day so far ahead presents certain pressure on a player, but is also an enviable position to be in.
“I was nervous, definitely. My friend called me and told me the table I was at and it was great, no one had above 150,000 and I took two people out in the first few hands. Then I got moved to a pretty powerful table and I hit that bad run of cards. I’m still feeling the pressure, a little more now than at the beginning of the day.”
But whilst to a lot of people the World Series is their main focus in life for Brian it’s merely a way to pass the time before he returns to the job he loves as an elementary school teacher in West Virginia, and one he intends to return to whether he wins the main event or not.
“Kids mean so much to me. I can’t leave them to play poker for the rest of my life. I grew up wanting to be a teacher and I finally made it to that point. I can’t let anyone tournament change my life completely. But if I won I’d still go back to work.”
Keeping it real in a world that can sometimes get a little crazy.
“I love teaching kids things and seeing them grow and knowing I was a part of changing their lives for the better. That’s a great feeling. It’s much better than any feeling you get at a poker table.”
In contrast to Brian is Shen Jing, a computer engineers from California who plays up to five live tournaments a week, excelling at the mathematics of the game. He currently has 100,000 and is a regular of the LA poker scene.
“I learned by reading a lot of books about the mathematics of poker and it improved my game. I played a lot
on PokerStars, starting about three years ago playing the $5 and $10 re-buy tournaments.”
The leapt from $5 to $10,000 is certainly a big one but not something that has phased the Californian.
“I’m not really nervous. If I have thirty big blinds I feel comfortable, and if I have seventy big blinds I play differently. So I feel quite comfortable.
“Actually I think I’m an aggressive player. I do play a lot of online tournaments and basically I’ve found a lot of online skills. I understand live players but I also understand how the online players play. My style is loose and aggressive but I play my hands strong.”
“I think for me it’s just another tournament but bating the field of 6800 people is a real achievement in poker and I would be proud of myself.”
PokerStars player Alex Outhred talked to the video blog team earlier today about his progress in the main event...
Watch WSOP 08: Alex Outhred Qualifier on PokerStars.tv