Poker Instructor Puts on a Clinic

Mark Schmid Wins $1K No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Schmid’s $1,000 Investment Yields $488,283

Michigan Poker Pro Collects First WSOP Gold Bracelet

Full House at the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Remains up over Last Year

34 Gold Bracelets Won – 24 More Still to Go


Mark Schmid won the latest World Series of Poker competition held in Las Vegas.  The 31-year-old professional poker player from Grand Rapids, MI, overcame a monster-sized field of 3,144 entrants, en route to his first WSOP victory.

Schmid collected $488,283 in prize money for his win – not bad for a mere $1,000 investment, which was the grand sum of his entry fee.  He won the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament, classified as Event #34.

Schmid’s victory was certainly due in part to his efforts and association as an online pro and instructor for a poker training website called  Schmid has posted about 60 training videos to the site.  However, his talent clearly extends beyond just poker as an academic exercise.

Schmid has cashed in nearly half of the WSOP tournaments he's entered over the last two years.  This marked his sixth career in-the money finish.  Schmid also has four cashes on the WSOP Circuit during the previous year.

Schmid endured a roller coaster final table.  He had the chip lead during much of play; however, Schmid lost the chip advantage late in the tournament to a tough Australian player named Justin Cohen.  Schmid played a tenacious game, never tilting or giving up despite enduring a number of emotional and financial swings.

"It all comes down to making the right decisions," Schmid said just moments after his victory.  "There are wild swings in tournament poker.  All you can do is make the best possible EV (expected value) decision and hope for the best.  It all worked out for me tonight."

The tournament was played over three consecutive days, which actually ran into a fourth day given the late ending time – Wednesday at 2:40 a.m.  

For a comprehensive recap of Event #34, please visit the tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Mark Schmid, from Grand Rapids, MI.

Schmid is a 31-year-old professional poker player and online instructor.

Schmid was born in Grand Rapids, MI.

Schmid is a graduate of Grand Valley State.  He earned his degree in finance.

Schmid is affiliated with an online poker training website called  Over the past two years, he has created about 60 training videos that are posted to the site.  His focus is on high-stakes Sit-N-Go.  His “Sit-N-Go” guide series covers all aspects of strategy.

This marks only the second year Schmid has attended the WSOP.

Schmid had entered seven tournaments at this year’s WSOP and has cashed in three of them.

For his victory, Schmid collected $488,283. 

According to official records, Schmid now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 6 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.  He also cashed 4 times on the WSOP Circuit last season.  All of Schmid’s WSOP-related cashes have taken place within the past year and 5 days.  His first recorded cash was at the 2010 WSOP, which was Event #30. 

Schmid currently has $511,054 in career WSOP winnings.

Schmid is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been a full-time player for the past six years, and also works in the industry.


On his expectations coming into this year’s WSOP:

“There is so much variance in tournaments.  You can’t really expect to win a bracelet.  There are good players who go a decade without winning one.  It’s just such a high variance.  So, I did not really expect to do it.  I just try to make the best EV decision on every hand, and it led to the bracelet.”

On winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:

“It’s huge for me.  This is one of my life goals.  I remember on my blog last year, I posted my goal was to win a WSOP bracelet.  To come through with this a win is huge.”

On the impact of “Black Friday” on his livelihood as a poker player:

“I have been an online pro for six years.  Once I could not play online anymore, I came here to Las Vegas and started playing in cash games.  I was really looking forward to the WSOP starting.  Now, this win is a huge boost to my bankroll.”

On his affiliation with Sharkscope and role as a trainer/instructor:

“It’s kind of expensive compared to the other sites.  But I have gotten back a lot of e-mails that say they are making a lot more money.  So, it works out for them.”


The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.  This was the eighth (of 34) final tables with no previous winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

Three nations were represented at the final table – Australia (1 player), Gibraltar (1 player) and the United States (7 players). 

When heads-up play began, Justin Cohen was ahead of Mark Schmid by about 3-to-1 in chips.  The duel lasted about 45 minutes.

The runner up was Justin Cohen, from Sydney, Australia.  Cohen made his second final table appearance at this year’s WSOP, following his ninth-place showing in Event #25.  He is an accountant who was playing at the WSOP for the first time.

The third-place finisher was Andrew Rudnik, from Johnstown, PA.  He is a 24-year-old student at Georgetown University, studying biology.  Rudnik started his poker bankroll a few years ago with a $20 deposit online.  He has run that up to a considerable sum.  Third place paid $213,747.

The fourth-place finisher was Jonathan Clancy, from Portland, OR.

The fifth-place finisher was Trevor Vanderveen, from Bellingham, WA.  He is a graduate of Washington State University.

The sixth-place finisher was Ben Volpe, from Chicago, IL.  He is a graduate of Emory University who now works as an accountant.  Volpe took one week off from work in order to play in the WSOP and earned $83,925 on his “vacation.”

The seventh-place finisher was Robbie Verspui, from the nation of Gibraltar.  This was his second final table appearance at this year’s WSOP, after finishing second in the No-Limit Shootout nearly two weeks ago.

The eighth-place finisher was Michael Souza, from San Diego, CA.  He had to be somewhat disappointed, since he came into the third day of play with the chip lead.  Souza is a three-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner.  He’s also a graduate of San Diego State University.

The ninth-place finisher was Jeremy Kottler, from Los Angeles, CA.  He cashed twice in the WSOP Main Event Championship.  He is a graduate of Ohio State University.

Final table play began at 8:15 pm Tuesday.  Play concluded about 6.5 hours later, at 2:45 am, Wednesday. 

When final table play began, Mark Schmid enjoyed nearly a 2-to-1 chip lead over his closest rival.

The final table was played on ESPN’s main stage.  The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance.  No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular.  Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in July.

Action was streamed live over  Viewers can tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables.  Although hole cards are not shown, viewers can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table.  The floor announcer provides an official account of the action. 


The top 324 finishers collected prize money.

Among former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament -- aside from the players who made the final table – were:  Tomer Berda (61), Mike “Little Man” Sica (76), Simon Watt (101) and Barry Shulman (258).

A WSOP rarity:  Matthew Affleck (Mill Creek, WA) cashed in two events on the same day.

Event 32 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em – 225th place

Event 34 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em – 223rd place

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at HERE.  Phil Hellmuth currently leads the “Player of the Year” point race.


This tournament attracted 3,144 entries. 

For the second day in a row, the tournament was won by a player who serves as an instructor at an online training website.  The previous winner, (Event #33) Eric Rodawig, works with Cardrunners.

This is the 926th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history.  This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010).  Moreover for the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament.  The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to the public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.

Schmid’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Wednesday, June 22nd.  The national anthem of the USA will be played in honor of his victory.


The tournament was scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which ran into a fourth day due to the late finish.

Day One began with 3,144 entries and ended with 323 survivors. 

Day Two began with 323 players and ended with 27 survivors.

Day Three began with 27 players, which played down to the winner.

The tournament officially began on Sunday, June 19th at noon.  The tournament officially ended early Wednesday morning, June 22nd, at 2:45 a.m.


In general, younger people are outperforming older people at this year’s WSOP.  Case in point:

Average age of all entrants:  36.2 years

Average age of all players who cashed:  34.9 years

Average age of all final table players:  33.9 years

Average age of all winners:  28.8 years

The WSOP continued to attract players from all over the world:

Number of countries represented (to date):  74

Number of countries which have had at least one player to cash:  62

Number of U.S. states represented:  50

Number of Canadian provinces represented:  10

The overall percentage of females who have entered gold bracelet events is 3.2 percent.


Through the conclusion of Event #34, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 44,598 combined total entries.  $66,968,160 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (23)

Canada (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (2)

Russia (1)

Ukraine (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (18)

Canada (4)

Great Britain (3)

France (2)

Ukraine (2)

Israel (1)

Russia (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

California (5)

Nevada (3)

New York (3)

Texas (2)

Illinois (2)

New Jersey (1)

Florida (1)

Tennessee (1)

Connecticut (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:

Professional Players (26):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris

Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein and Mark Schmid

Semi-Pros (4):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig

Amateurs (4):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 30 out of 34 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of eight of the 34 winners (24 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year).  The last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.  So far, no player has yet won two gold bracelets (this year).

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 193 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.  The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.

The highest finishes by a female (open events) at this year’s WSOP were by two players -- Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em), and Kim Nguyen, who also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who finished in sixth place after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30 & Event #32 (broke Event #18 and Event #20 record from earlier in WSOP)

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

Phil Hellmuth has added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (81) and final table appearances (42).


Bad Beat on Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1 percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship, contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize.  By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits when they win.  As the official charity of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.  A tax receipt is generated and sent to their mailing address.  Several high profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka, Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others.  Since 2003, the initiative has raised over $3.500,000 for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs.  Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1% by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite the Amazon Room in the concourse.  The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.