Chess Master Schwartz Wins First WSOP Bracelet

Ylon Schwartz
Ylon Schwartz

Ylon Schwartz has been a chess master for years but on Saturday he officially joined poker’s elite by winning his first World Series of Poker bracelet.

Schwartz outlasted 889 players to take top position in Event 27, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E, for a first-place prize of $267,081.

The Brooklyn, New York, resident was nearly speechless after beating David Chiu heads-up to claim the bracelet.

“I’ve been a professional poker player for a long time and this means a lot,” he said.

“You’re doing something forever and you want that feather in your cap. To reach the pinnacle of whatever you’re doing - for poker players this is it.”

Ylon Schwartz
Ylon Schwartz in the 2008 WSOP Main Event

The former professional chess player, who we profiled before this year's series in a feature on chess players, won his bracelet in style as the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. final table proved to be a difficult one with pros Stephen Chidwick and David Chiu in the final three.

“It was a real see-saw tournament for everybody,” said Schwartz. “The stacks were just going up and down all day. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years playing cards.”

Before today Schwartz was most well known for being a member of the original WSOP “November Nine,” which he accomplished by making the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table.

Schwartz busted in fourth place that year after trying an ill-timed bluff on eventual winner Peter Eastgate. He picked up $3.7 million for his efforts in the massive tournament.

Despite the massive difference in payout, Schwartz said making the Main Event final and winning his first bracelet weren’t all that different.

“The Main Event was probably more intense because of the break, the original November Nine and the hassles.”

Schwartz also said that it was difficult because of how many friends asked to borrow money.

“This one they can’t really hit me up for that much,” he laughed.

For all the action from the WSOP in Las Vegas click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section, brought to you by

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