Poker Instructor Schmid Scores WSOP Bracelet

Mark Schmid
Mark Schmid instructor Mark Schmid taught the field of Event 34 a lesson they won’t soon forget earlier this week.

The 31-year-old from Grand Rapids outlasted all 3,144 entrants in the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament to take down a first place prize of $488,283 along with a shiny new WSOP bracelet.

“This is by far the biggest accomplishment of my poker career,” he said. “I’ve been in poker for six years now, mostly online, so I’m just so excited. I can’t believe it finally happened.”

Schmid’s poker story should sound familiar to a number of players. He received his degree in finance from the Grand Valley State University in 2001.

The Grand Rapids-native began working for JP Morgan Chase but then saw Chris Moneymaker win the 2003 Main Event on ESPN and started playing poker.

“I was a losing player at first,” said Schmid. “ I started reading some books and got better. It just sort of progressed from there.”

It didn’t take long before Schmid realized he was making considerably more money playing online poker than working at his day job and decided to quit JP Morgan Chase.

A few years ago Schmid became an instructor for, which he thinks further improved his poker game.

“Any time you teach the game you become a better player yourself,” he said. “I’ve coached so many players, made a lot of videos, it’s really helped me get better.”

One of they many players affected by online poker’s Black Friday, Schmid was unsure what was in store for his future but decided to come to Las Vegas to play the WSOP.

“I used to just play online and obviously I can’t anymore,” he said. “I’ll probably play more live tournaments. I may move to another country to play online. I really haven’t decided. Now at least I can take some time off if I need to.”

Schmid plans on being in Las Vegas for the entire WSOP and will play the Main Event, where last year he busted 50 places short of the money on a bad beat.

"It was disappointing but I definitely want to give it another go this year," he said.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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