Robert's Rules: The Business of Winning Bracelets

Robert Cheung
Robert Cheung wins Event 38, No-Limit Hold'em at the 2007 WSOP

As the final nine headed into the webcast shroud for Event 38, all eyes were on crowd favorite Erica Schoenberg. Seven hours later, however, Robert Cheung emerged bearing the bracelet.

Robert is another hot-shot player from Vancouver, Canada. (As opposed to John Guth - from Vancouver, Washinton - who took the world championship in event 36.) When chatted with him after the event, he let us know beating out 2,778 players to earn $673,628 is business as usual.

We had to watch most of the action on a one-hour delay - can you take us through the end of the event from your point of view?

There were two key hands for me. The first was when I took a $1,000,000 pot off Erica on the river. She did not call - bringing my total from $1,200,000 to $2,200,000.

Right after that, I picked up pocket kings on the button. I min-raised and the small blind smooth-called. The big blind raised; and with the blinds so big - and he had pocket queens - he raised to $500,000. So my trap was set up right there, because I'd min-raised the pocket kings.

Erica Schoenberg
Robert's Rival.

Once he raised me $500,000, the rest was pretty easy. I was lucky to get set up with kings against queens. It could have been the other way, too - and the result would not have been the same. I believe that was a key hand.

Could you take us through the last hand?

Before the last hand I had about a seven-to-one chip lead. Obviously my opponent would move in with any cards; and I would call with just about anything. When I looked at them - A-K - there was no thinking. I knew my time had come - it was my lucky day.

Was it a lucky day? Were the cards good to you?

Robert Cheung
A Lucky Day.

I had $1,100,000 in chips yesterday just before dinner. After that I did not gain anything, basically. All I was able to do was maintain the chip stack - without losing, but without gaining. The same thing happened today.

For the majority of the hours - the first five or six levels - I had absolutely no cards. My opponents were around $2,000,000 to $1,500,000 in chips. I stayed around $1,000,000. I believe my patience eventually paid off when the cards came to me.

Which is when you started making moves?


Let's go back a little further. You've been playing for about two years - could you tell us about your experience?

Robert Cheung
Vancouver Boy Makes Good.

I'm from Vancouver, Canada; and I'm a businessman - so poker started off as a hobby. I went to the River Rock Casino, in Richmond. I have a friend who's really into poker - he's with me here - who brought me into tournaments. We started with smaller ones.

My personal character is that I take things very seriously; whether it's a job, a business or a hobby. I realized that I like the game a lot - because, to me, the poker game is like a business.

You've got to find out who you can trust, who you cannot trust, when you can invest and when you should not invest. I applied my business principles to the poker game. Winning an important hand is like hiring an employee or making a business decision. That's how I feel.

It made me very, very happy to win this tournament. This last year-and-a-half, my biggest accomplishment was a couple of first-place wins at the Friday and Saturday night tournaments at the Bellagio; and fourth place at the Lake Tahoe $10,000 buy-in, which is a WSOP Circuit event. This is my biggest win so far.

Robert Cheung
Meeting Goals.

You've had a WSOP bracelet as a goal for some time - how long exactly has it been?

Since last year. I realized that poker is not just a game of luck, that there's a lot of skill involved. I read a lot of poker magazines, I study how the professional players play the game - the different moves they make - and the patience they exhibit during the times when there's no cards.

I look at it from an analytical standpoint, because my background is also that of a mathematician. That's where I earned my degree in university. It becomes a combination of the arts and sciences, because of the reading skills. I think if a person has all these skills, then he or she will be very successful.

It seems to have worked out pretty well for you.

Well, luck is a major factor as well. I was lucky in this particular tournament. There were two hands in which I could have busted out. One hand was when I had K-Q versus pocket kings; and I got lucky.

event 38 shroud
Rock the Tent Like Robert.

The other hand was when I had 9-Q versus A-Q - I got lucky. Those two hands, when I was able to suck out, were what led me into today.

You played with a lot of luck and a lot of skill today - congratulations.

Thank you.


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There you have it - the business of poker, as broken down by the World Series of Poker's latest bracelet-winner. Apply these principles and you too may find yourself in a black tent with Erica Schoenberg for seven hours. It's worth a try.

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