Known as DaEvils on Full Tilt Poker, but better known as FoxwoodsFiend on 2+2, Ariel Schneller is one of the last people you'd like to see sitting across from you on the e-felt.
One, because he'll probably stack you for most of your bankroll. Two, because he may then T.J. Cloutier: Poster boy for the make money in poker/lose it in the pits busto cycle.
I crushed those games the summer after my junior year, the summer of '05, and started making a ton of money. The games were mad soft back then but I still crippled my roll often enough doing degen stuff like playing blackjack that I wasn't rolled to play $10/$20.
So after my crushing of Stars I would go through these cycles of making a good amount of money, losing it in the pit, and then grinding sit-and-gos to get back to having enough money, only to lose it in the pits again. It was a vicious cycle.
DS: What was your poison?
FWF: My degen game of choice was blackjack. I started off with roulette but eventually it was only blackjack. It all stopped when I graduated and now it wasn't just gambling and seeing if I could make a lot of money; it was my livelihood and I needed to take it more seriously.
DS: And you were able to quit hitting the pits completely, cold turkey?
FWF: Well I still played some but only small. I would go to the pit with only $2k on me so I couldn't lose more than that but yeah, once I graduated I became a bankroll nit (100 buy-ins minimum for a given level), I stayed out of the pit, and have been very cautious with my money since.
When your parents are paying for college and rent and you're not expected to be doing anything with yourself other than studying it's fine to lose tons of your net worth and gamble a lot.
But once you enter the real world and you're now forgoing the opportunity to go to law school or get a job, you have to show some sort of results and justification for taking such an unconventional route.
So wasting my time gambling it up and blowing my poker winnings and becoming "lol when are you going to learn" kind of thing would have just been pathetic.
DS: Was it around that time you met Krantz and Whitelime?
FWF: I met Whitelime in late 2005 when I was driving down to Atlantic City to play in a WPT. I posted in HSNL to see if anybody needed a ride and he wanted one so on my way down from New Haven I picked him up in NYC and we hung out in A.C.
I didn't meet Krantz until after I'd graduated. I was in A.C. with some friends, fslexcduck (who played with me in our home game at Yale) was down there with Krantz independently so we bumped into each other at the $10/$25 game.
DS: The three of you (Krantz (pr1nnyraid), Whitelime, DaEvils) are all considered to be among the best in the world. Do you think that is a coincidence? Or is it because you guys so often put your minds together to think and discuss poker?
FWF: I don't think it's coincidence. I think that at every level poker players network with people at their stakes, mainly through 2+2.
But also in my case I was lucky to be friends with Alex Jacob and Vanessa Selbst (recent WSOP PLO bracelet winner), both of whom became friends with very good poker players and introduced me to them.
What I think this means is it's not a coincidence that a few very good poker players became friends but we wouldn't have been as good as we are now if we didn't pick each other's brains so often.
Living together in Vegas with flawless_victory and just talking so much poker and sweating each other play was an invaluable resource. We definitely would still have been very good but there is no way we would be as good as we are now had we not found each other.
We're such good friends and spend so much time together that we really push each other to be better all the time.
DS: You met Alex Jacob at the Yale home games?
FWF: Yeah, I did. I learned a lot from him, we had a pretty sick game between him, me, fslexcduck (Selbst), actualgod (2+2er who made a good amount in sit-and-gos in college), pete_fabrizio (2+2er who taught me how to play poker) and a few other solid players who could have been pros but decided to pursue other careers.
I like to think that was the toughest college game in history.
DS: It sounds like it. So besides Krantz and Whitelime, are there any other players whose games you really respect online?
FWF: Yeah there are a ton of players whose game I respect - sauce123/PrtectYaNeck, Isaac "luvtheWNBA" Haxton, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, David "raptor" Benefield, mastr, jimmie23, mrdoodles, Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, Brian "Stinger" Hastings, Cole "Muckemsayuhhh/cts" South ... I'm sure I'm missing a lot of people - there are a lot of very good poker players out there - but those are the ones I like having at my table the least.
In general I think that most $25/$50 regs (with very few exceptions) are very, very good players and I could keep listing but I have tons of respect for almost all of my opponents. stevesbets is another example.
DS: I find that last one difficult to believe.
FWF: Yeah stevesbets was just to see how up to speed you are on the scene; he's awful.
DS: Lol fair enough.
Check in for Part 2 with Ariel Schneller tomorrow.
More PL.com interviews: