WSOP 2012: Shane Schleger's last words
Editor's note: This is...bad timing. Just as we were preparing to publish this interview with Shane "Shaniac" Schleger, he busted out of the WSOP Main Event. His queens got cracked by ace-three and he never recovered. Nevertheless, this interview is pretty enlightening. So, as Shane tries to figure out where he goes from here, have a look at a day in the life at the WSOP with Shaniac
We caught up with Shane Schleger the other day while he was on dinner break in Event $59: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em. We wanted to get a little bit about what his days at the World Series of Poker have been like, including his morning rituals, favorite places to eat, and how he relaxes between tournaments. We were able to ask him a few of these questions, and he gave us some good feed back on what it's like to be at the Rio for the 2012 World Series of Poker.
Start with the beginning of your day for us. What are some of the first things that you do when you wake up in the morning?
Get a cup of coffee.
Any place that you go to get coffee in particular? Do you make your own coffee?
Generally I like to make my own coffee. I'll bring a couple pounds of coffee out from California. You know, figuring out a good routine at the beginning of the day is really challenging when I'm here. So I usually like to just do whatever I can do to ease into the day.
What kind of things does that usually consist of?
I try to get something to eat. I try to figure out what I need to bring with me to the Rio. It's really simple stuff, but it can be somewhat energy consuming when I'm out here in a place that's not my home. I'm half living out of my car, half living in an apartment I rented and now I've moved into a hotel for the home stretch. It's somewhat scattered for me, so I just try to wake up, gain my composure, find some breakfast, and show up on time.
Do you have a workout routine or anything like that?
I don't. It's really bad news. In Vegas, I've only worked out and played tennis about twice since I've been here. And in general, health and fitness is not my strong suit. And I do feel like it hurts my game, especially my live poker game. It's challenging.
What about food? Is there any specific kind of meal that you like to eat in the morning that helps you warm up for tournaments?
I like a big old eggs and bacon breakfast. But then, sometimes I don't eat anything. It just kind of depends.
Have you already planned out all the tournaments you want to play for the series this year, or is that something you decide on day to day?
That's a good question actually. In previous years I've had a schedule of 20 - 25 tournaments that I will just play and grind them out straight through. This year I've taken a more casual approach that I've assessed week by week and just looked at which tournaments I would like to play. I've also tried to get back to California a little bit this year and get down to Mexico so I can put in some online hours which has been my only profitable poker for the month.
So since you don't have a planned schedule, how do you decide what events you want to play? Is a feel decision, or is it something where you decide what you want to play based on your skill at certain games?
There are certain events that I'm very keen to play because of the format. Especially short-handed events, I'm very attracted too. Anything like the $2,500 four-max, the six-maxes, the shootouts. Those are fun events for me. Those are events I want to play because they are short handed, a little more dynamic. It's not this rope of 10 handed poker. But that being said, I still want to play all the $1,000s and $1,500s. And yeah, I wanted to play a little more of the $1,500 mixed game events but I didn't really have the bankroll for it to take shots this year, or necessarily the confidence in my skills, but that's something to work into my schedules for the future, all the $1,500 mixed game events.
When you're here, and you're in your tournaments, what's going through your head besides poker? Or is it all poker all the time?
No. I guess... Sometimes I close my eyes and try to think about... Well, I don't close my eyes, but I think about where I want to wind up from poker, if that makes any sense. I'm thinking about kite surfing, or like a nice relaxing walk on the beach. Just a sort of way of balancing all the poker thinking that has to go on. I'm really trying to stay relaxed out there and it's another challenge.
So the first break comes along in a tournament. What do you usually do during a break?
I usually come outside, try to relax and not overheat in the 100-degree weather. I like to just have a smoke and not talk about poker hands. Hang out with friends. Usually I'll try to get a meal in as well.
Going from there, on dinner break what do you like to do? Any specific restaurants you like?
I like the restaurants at the Cosmopolitan a lot. I like Jaleo and the China Poblano. I also like the pizza place, so that's really convenient. Or if my friends are going somewhere else like Ichiza, or Jerusalem Grill, I'll join them. It just sort of depends on what the group likes to do.
Now, coming down from the end of the day, you're heading home. What do you do to let off all the steam at the end of the day? How do you relax?
That really just depends. The schedule out here is really inconsistent. I might bust at three in the afternoon, I might bust at six or seven. If I bust earlier in the day, I usually try to play some satellites. It's difficult to unwind at the end of the day. I just like to go back to my room watch T.V. Have some drinks with some friends sometimes - very rarely.
Let's say that you've made it to a day two. How do you prepare for a day two?
No particular ritual. I like to examine my table draw. I just like to try to come in with the kind of equanimity that I'm going for.
How has your success been this series?
It's been a total blank. No success, but I've only played about 10 to 12 events if I had to guess -- about half of what I normally play. No success to speak of, except if you count the four days when I went to Mexico to play online. That was actually really good for my psyche. I can't even say it's been a brutal series, because that would be if you played 10 or 20 events and you brick them all, or only cash in one or two. I guess for better or worse, I haven't emotionally invested myself as much as I have in the past.
How much time do you usually get to spend playing online during the series?
Prior to 2011, I would at least try to play every Sunday and a couple of other sessions during the week. But not much. The answer is not much. But now in the post Black Friday era, it's created a kind of schism where is almost makes sense to completely skip the entire World Series. I mean, if I had discipline, I would completely skip this. I come out in part for the glory, to chase a bracelet and to have a big score. And I also really enjoy the community. That's a big part of it too. From an hourly rate, I should really just be in Mexico grinding online, but there's some intangible stuff I come out here for. I really don't want to be isolated the entire year.