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Tom Schneider: Oops! I Made Another Final Table
Disclaimer: Tom Schneider is an excellent poker player. That said, he's also on a hot streak - or at least it seems that way when considering his recent tournament results.
Prior to this year's World Series of Poker, his resume included one WSOP and one World Poker Tour final table apiece. Now it boasts an additional WSOP final table, two gold bracelets, the series' 2007 Player of the Year standings and, after tonight, a final table appearance at the WPT Legends of Poker championship at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
It's been a fruitful couple of months for Schneider, a businessman who moonlights as a poker player and as author of the business and poker book, Oops! I Won Too Much Money. At 5 p.m. tomorrow, Schneider will come to the final table with $3,495,000 in chips and a comfortable distance between him and his nearest competitor, Dan Harrington, who has a $2,223,000 stack.
Schneider spoke with PokerListings.com at the end of Day 4.
What a day. How are you feeling?
I feel great. It's been a good day.
So you're chip leader going into tomorrow's final table. What's the plan of attack?
I'm going to just keep playing like I have been; I'm not going to do anything crazy. If I have a decent hand or good position I'll play it and if not I'm not going to feel like I'm obligated to bust people out - I'll let other people do that. You know, just keep trying to accumulate chips like I've been accumulating them.
How do you feel about your play today?
I thought I played great except for one hand. It was marginal. It wasn't a horrible call; it was a marginal call and I could have just let it go but it turned out great so I can't argue.
Did you have any key hands that propelled you forward today?
I had a couple of good hands against the Dragon. I had two pretty big hands against him and that was good. He's a very aggressive player so you can get a little bit more money out of him sometimes. Obviously when I busted Joe Sebok out - I had ace-jack of spades and he had two queens and I got lucky but he didn't have enough chips to get me out. So he was a favorite but not a huge favorite so I got lucky against him.
As the field narrows, do you have players you're worried about or keeping an eye on?
The Dragon is tough when he has a lot of chips but he has a short stack tomorrow, so he's not going to be as tough. But when he accumulates chips, he's constantly going to be raising and constantly playing pots. So he's probably the guy I fear the most because he's very active. But I don't think he's going to be too much of a threat - at least early tomorrow.
This is your second WPT final table. Does this make you feel more prepared or give you an advantage?
I think it does having done it before here and also having won two events at the World Series this year. I feel very comfortable going to the final table. It's just another poker game and I think a couple of these guys - one or two - I think it's their first final table anywhere so it's going to kind of strange. They're going to have microphones and lights and it's going to be a little bit different for them so I hope that plays in my favor.
Does it help coming off your success at the World Series? Does that help your game?
I think it helps my game and I also think it helps other people's view of me and it makes it a little easier to play against them. They might have a little bit more fear of me than they would somebody else because they just don't want to play pots with me as much as they might other people. But actually our final table is pretty strong so they gotta play with somebody and they just might be playing with me.
Are you enjoying some of the notoriety now that your name's out there?
Yeah, I have some notoriety within the poker community, which is nice and that's all that really matters to me. I don't really care about the other stuff and, quite honestly, since the tournaments that I won weren't TV tables I really don't have a lot of TV time at the World Series. So I don't have that much notoriety outside of poker. It's just that when someone wins two bracelets everyone knows who that is now. So that's kind of fun.
Are you nervous for tomorrow? You seemed pretty relaxed tonight.
I'm not nervous anymore. Whatever happens, happens. My goal in poker is to play each hand as best I can. I don't have a goal to win it. Honestly. My goal is to play every hand as well as I can and if I do that I'm more likely to win it.
On a side note, I heard that your nickname is Donkey Bomber. Care to elaborate?
When I was in Reno I was playing in a tournament with Arnold Spee. And Arnold Spee had won the tournament the previous year and I had played a hand against him and beat him and he called me a donkey and an idiot for an hour. He just made fun of me and called me names, to the point where someone else at the table said, "You gotta tell this guy to knock it off."
So when I filled out the WPT form that says your nickname, I said 'Well, according to Arnold Spee, it's Donkey.' And so when I got on TV I was wearing a hood because I'm bald and my head gets cold. And so Vince (Van Patten) said, 'He's a Unabomber wannabe' - which isn't true; my head gets cold. So he says, 'His nickname's Donkey.' And then they came up with Donkey Bomber. Anyway, I got it on the WPT and I'm just glad they didn't come up with Unadonkey. It worked out well.
Tune in to PokerListings.com tomorrow at 5 p.m. to follow Schneider's progress at the final table.