2008 World Series: The Washington Globetrotter
You never quite know when you're going to bump into Brandon Schaefer. You could be in any poker room (or any pub) in any city (or airport) in the world, and you could suddenly be forcefully shaking the hand of a giant, ebullient poker player who will let go only so that he can fill your hand with a glass of beer.
In the past few years, this has happened to the various members of the PokerStars blog team in Deauville, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Dortmund, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; San Remo, Italy; London, England; and Las Vegas, Nevada, each time emerging like Waldo from a huge crowd with a beaming grin and a shot glass. Off the top of his head, when I spoke to Schaefer in the blue section of the Amazon Room a few moments ago, he reeled off Melbourne, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; "Oktoberfest three times", and his native Seattle, Washington as stopping points since last year's World Series.
He paused and furrowed his brow and it seemed as though there were certainly more stamps on his passport than he could recall right there and then.
While it's usually a toss up as to whether Schaefer's hands are carrying booze, riffling chips, or dragging luggage, he applies himself to all pursuits with equal commitment, and has earned the right to do so. On the first season of the European Poker Tour, he won the Deauville event as a PokerStars qualifier, good for $186,582 and a ticket to the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. There, he spun his free pass all the way up to second place and $465,853.
"I got so lucky in those first couple of EPTs that I have the money just to hang out," he explained, when asked about his globetrotting. "I play online just to get a plane ticket."
As a result, Schaefer lives the kind of life that is surely the envy of countless youngsters across the world. He has achieved a manageable level of fame without any of the hassles -- he once got asked for his autograph by a Canadian fan who had seen the EPT broadcasts, but no more. He has a formidable reputation online at PokerStars, and qualifies regularly for the major tournaments, such as this World Series main event. But he is by no means chained to his laptop and has seen more of the world than all but the most experienced travel writers or airline pilots, never staying in his hotel room longer than absolutely necessary.
His talents have also earned him a couple of backers who will contribute buy-ins for tournaments, meaning his lifestyle is comfortably funded and leaving him time to continue the explorations. Of course, the odd result, like 11th place in the pot-limit hold 'em event at the WSOP last month, don't go amiss. But Schaefer is arguably the perfect role model for the modern player -- and the most popular man in the boardrooms of Guinness, Smirnoff and American Airlines.
At the dinner brea, Schaefer had 140,000 chips.
As we head into the dinner break, Team PokerStars Pro and the PokerStars sponsored players are still going strong. Among those still in the hunt are:
Victor Ramdin -- 240,000
Kara Scott -- 115,000
Hevad Khan -- 100,000
Chris Moneymaker -- 100,000
Joe Hachem -- 55,000
ElkY -- 30,000
(chip counts are approximate)
PokerStars qualifier Chris Miranda might already consider his work in Vegas is done. He qualified for the main event on PokerStars for $300 but has already recouped far more in a $5,000 side event. He explains all to our video blog team.
Watch WSOP 08: Chris Miranda Qualifier on PokerStars.tv