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Phillips, Schwartz join PokerStars team
The news has been kept pretty quiet so far. Ylon Schwartz and Dennis Phillips both have pictures up on the official Team PokerStars Pro page, but the only announcement of the additions to the team has been a PokerStars blog about it.
Phillips and Schwartz are both members of the 2008 November Nine, the nine players who made the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event final table. Phillips actually entered the final table with the chip lead but fell in third place, and Schwartz finished just before him in fourth place.
Their cashes put them in the multimillionaire pay bracket, but they had quite different paths that got each of them there.
Phillips is an accountant for a trucking company in Missouri. He'd been playing poker for several years before his trip to the WSOP, but mostly on a casual basis. Perhaps the turning point from casual player to potential poker superstar began in 2007 when he found some success at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop in Tunica, Miss.
He made the final table of two $500 No-Limit Hold'em side events. The combined $4,578 winnings wasn't much compared to his $4.5 million at the WSOP Main Event, but the live poker tournament experience may have given Phillips the boost he needed to try for even more.
He won a $200 buy-in event at Harrah's St. Louis Casino and Hotel to pick up a seat in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, and the rest is history.
Since his third-place finish at the WSOP Main Event, he's also cashed in the British Columbia Poker Championship, and the European Poker Tour PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Schwartz's path to poker glory reads a lot like the bios of some of poker's legendary players. He got his start gambling at the tender age of 13 when he learned to play chess and started hustling games.
He eventually moved into backgammon and finally to the poker tables where he found his calling. Schwartz now has a laundry list of poker tournament accomplishments stemming back to 2004, including several WSOP event cashes.
His fourth-place finish in the Main Event was his biggest cash so far, though, and he has since also picked up a few more bucks at the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Both he and Phillips will have plenty more opportunities to add to their poker resumes as representatives for PokerStars now as well.
Brad "Otis" Willis blogged at PokerStars about seeing both Schwartz and Phillips in Vina Del Mar, Chile in conjunction with a trip out there for the Latin American Poker Tour.
He later found out that his "see you soon" joke with Phillips in line at the airport turned out to be more than just a joke, since he was being added to the team.
At the end of the blog, he wrote, "... we welcome both Dennis and Ylon to the team. We look forward to seeing you again soon."
Poker fans may be able to see the two pros even soon if they want to hit the PokerStars tables. Phillips can be found under the layer name "D. Phillips," and Schwartz can be found playing as "YlonSchwartz."
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