"WSOP November Nine member Kevin Schaffel"
October 23, 2009
Kevin Schaffel is the feel good story of the 2009 Main Event. Since the breakdown of his marriage, the self-described “struggling” printing and direct mail business owner Schaffel, has lived in the spare bedroom of a friend’s house. That is, until his run at this year’s World Series.
“I think I’ll be able to afford a place of my own now,” says the Florida resident.
At 51, Schaffel is the senior citizen of the final table, the oldest player by four years. He lists poker as a hobby that he takes seriously, among a number of others including golf. He has been playing the game for a number of years, but has stepped up his involvement in the last five years, and prior to the Main Event had two World Series cashes to his name for US$168,000 in tournament earnings and a deepest Main Event finish of 42nd in 1994.
He describes himself as a cash game player, and admitted that this was the first year in his memory when he hasn’t been profitable. He has been lucky enough to hit a hot streak in tournaments to sustain his bankroll
during his dry run on the cash tables.
Schaffel credits a tighter style, in contrast to the loose and aggressive nature of the younger players around him, as the reason he booked his place in the November Nine
“I was watching Wimbledon and they asked Serena Williams what helped her perform well under pressure,” said Schaffel in an interview soon after the hiatus of play. “She used two words: ‘calm’ and ‘patient’, I wrote them down and it stayed with me the entire tournament.”
If the final table doesn’t work out for him as he would have hoped, he could always take Phil Ivey double or nothing for his winnings on the golf course. Schaffel is club champion at the local course TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Florida. The poise and concentration required to make it successfully as a golfer, will almost certainly aid him on the felt when the final table gets underway.
Of course, a little luck never goes astray either. The deep run almost didn’t happen for Schaffel after he found all of his chips in the middle early on day one of the Main Event. Schaffel had ran his set of tens into a straight on the flop
. Luckily for him a repeat
hit the river to keep him alive.
"In the past, I'd stand up at the table and reach for my bag if I were behind like that," he said of the hand. "But this time, I just knew. I can't describe it."
From that point on Schaffel got his money in good as he made his run to the final table.
“There are lots of decisions to be made,” he says. “But then, I don’t want to over-think things.”
Through his association with PokerStars
, Schaffel has met and chatted with tournament pro and 2008 November Nine member Dennis Phillips, who was happy to provide some tips to Schaffel.
When asked of his aims for the final table Schaffel was fairly laid back.
"I'm delirious right now," he said. "I'll come back in November and do what I can. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. It's been a great ride whatever happens. My son is on cloud nine. I can't wait to come back."
Kevin Schaffel will start the final table looking to double from his 12,390,000 chips which sees him sitting sixth out of the final nine on the chip count leaderboard.