Arizona Poker Player, Businessman, and Country-Western Singer Collects $258K and H.O.R.S.E. Title“Comeback” isn't a word normally associated with a three-time gold bracelet winner. However, Event 15 on the 2013 World Series of Poker represented a comeback for sorts for Tom Schneider, one of poker's most well-rounded cash game and tournament professionals.The 2007 WSOP Player of the Year winner, who also won two gold bracelets that same year, waited seven years to get his third victory, which came in the $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Tournament, played at the Rio in Las Vegas.Schneider collected $258,960 for first place. The poker pro and businessman from Scottsdale, Arizona triumphed in a tournament long associated with his skill set – which combines the finesse of limit poker with multiple poker games.Schneider's comeback was just as much an emotional one as anything related to finances and WSOP glory. While winning the gold bracelet always carries the mark of distinction, Schneider's victory came at a time when this one meant a bit more than his other high points in poker.Like many players who are on the higher rather than lower side of a half century, Schneider has watched the game he loves change significantly from the WSOP which now seems like a distant memory. The players are younger. The games are tougher. And, with each tournament, every bust out, and each passing year, the creeping doubts had to linger just a little larger. Coming into this year's series, Schneider last WSOP final table was back in 2008. One had to wonder if Schneider still had what it took to return to the pinnacle of prestige in poker.Well, he does.Not only did Schneider win his third gold bracelet, he did so versus as stacked a final group of players as one can imagine. Consider the last two tables included Owais Ahmed, Rep Porter, Frankie O'Dell, Dan Heimiller, David Singer, David Bach, James Mackey, and Dan Kelly – not to mention several other talented past non-winners. This was Schneider's fourth cash at this series, so far.The first person to congratulate Schneider was wife Julie, herself quite a tournament player. In fact, Julie Schneider took eighth place in an event earlier at this series. They are one of the few husband-wife duos to make final tables the same year at the WSOP. That record is also shared by Max and Maria Stern and Harry and Jerri Thomas. Aside from poker, Schneider is an investor and chief Financial Officer for Loudmouth Golf, which is the maker of pants and shorts, mostly with shocking color schemes. In fact, Schneider was decked out in one of his favorite pair of shorts at the final table.Schneider is also an aspiring musician and songwriter. He's written several songs, a few of which have been recorded in studio. One – a tribute to the victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook is available online at Tom Schneider Music.
Owais Ahmed, from Anaheim, CA finished as runner-up. This was Ahmed's second final table appearance at this series. He took fourth place earlier in the $2,500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 event. He is the fifth player of the summer to make multiple final tables. Ahmed is a poker commentator and analyst for Live at the Bike, which is the poker simulcast from the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.MEET GOLD BRACELET WINNER – TOM SCHNEIDER
Name: Tom Schneider
Current Residence: Scottsdale, AZ (USA)
Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN (USA)
Marital Status: Married
Profession: Professional Poker Player / Businessman
Hobby: Country-Western Singer and Songwriter
WSOP Cashes (including this event): 29
First WSOP Cash (year): 2002
WSOP Final Table Appearances: 7
WSOP Wins (with this victory): 3
WSOP Earnings: $1,179,073
INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION
WSOP: How does it feel to win your third WSOP gold bracelet?
Schneider: I've been cashing a lot in events. Last year, I cashed in six events, but I seemed to be missing out on going deep and making a final table. It had been a while. It's nice to know I can still play. There are a lot of good players now. The events are tougher than they've ever been. It's just nice to get some validation that I can still play with these younger kids.
WSOP: Can you discuss HORSE and why you seem to do better in mixed games?
Schneider: The thing I like about HORSE is, there are five games. You have to play them all pretty well. If you can only play two or three of them pretty well, you're at a big disadvantage. There are just so many traps you can get into, if you don't play these games. A lot of Hold'em players like to learn the games, but it takes different skills to win.
WSOP: Can you talk about Limit versus No-Limit poker?
Schneider: Limit is a little different than No-Limit. The one thing I like about Limit poker is it's not about pounding your chest and saying 'let's go outside, or I'll place as high as you want.' It's usually about a lot of nice and decent people who like poker. We talk about things and actually enjoy each other's company, whereas I think in No-Limit it's not the same type of individual....I don't like to rub it in when I win a pot.
WSOP: Does this represent a comeback for you? It's been a long time since you made a final table, and even longer since your last win.
Schneider: It is a comeback, of sorts....I just needed a bit of a break from poker, especially when you are running bad. There's nothing worse than playing full time, and running bad. It can really get you down. In the business world, if you are dealing with good people, it can be a lot of fun. But poker is a lot tougher. Players are tougher. There's just not a lot of dead money anymore. That can get a bit disconcerting....With me, I made money with poker and lost it in business. With most people, it's the other way around. I lost my bankroll, pretty much – and had to start over.
WSOP: Have you played a lot of poker leading up to the WSOP?
Schneider: The thing is, the WSOP peaks my interest in poker. Other things don't. There's nothing like the WSOP. If you are a golfer, there's nothing like The Masters. And if you are a poker player, you have to play the World Series. It's the one event that I look forward to. I commit myself to this.
WSOP: Winning a third gold bracelet gives you a platform where you can be heard. You have some strong views on the game. What are some of those things you would like to share with those reading and listening?
Schneider: Treat every player with respect, especially the bad players. Treat every dealer with respect. They all have a job. They are trying. Some do not have that much experience and I get so tired of people being mean at the table or picking on people. It makes the game less fun and that's one of the reasons I was not playing as much because I did not enjoy the envirnoment when people are picking on others. My whole thing is treating people with respect.
WSOP: If you could do anything you want, where money was no object, what would it be?
Schneider: I like country music. I've written ten songs and had six of them published....if I could write music for a living, that's what I would do.
ODDS AND ENDSAmong the more notable players that cashed were Tom Schneider, Owais Ahmed, Rep Porter, Frankie O'Dell, Dan Heimiller, David Singer, David Bach, James Mackey, Dan Kelly, John Spadavecchia, Farzad Rouhani, Jonathan Aguiar, Randy Ohel, David Chiu, Alex Kravchenko, Matthew Waxman, and Andy Bloch.