Schaefer wins shootout at WSOP

Leaving poker behind and heading to Army training June 15

Updated: June 12, 2012, 3:24 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

In 2005, poker was everything to Brandon Schaefer. Joining the game with the Moneymaker boom, he lived up the life as an online professional poker player, turning online victories into entries in events around the world. He captured the 2005 EPT Deauville title and followed that up a month later with a runner-up finish at the EPT Grand Final. He pocketed more than half a million in six weeks and was a rising star in the game. As he continued to play, he realized there was one thing holding him back. He loved the game, but he felt there was always something more out there for him.

Last September, Schaefer walked away from poker and enlisted in the Army. He went through basic training and, on June 15, he's scheduled to report to an Army base to train and become a helicopter pilot. The 2012 WSOP was an afterthought and Schaefer wasn't planning on making the trip. His plans changed after his friends brought the schedule to his attention and there was one event he said he'd play: Event 14, the $1,500 no-limit hold 'em shootout.

Schaefer, 31, said he didn't want to grind in Vegas this year. He liked the fact, that by the end of the first day in this event, if you win your first table, you're in the money. Schaefer made the money, then a lot more. After winning his first two tables, he was one of 12 to make the final day and, once at the final table, he navigated through tough competition -- including Layne Flack and Jeff Madsen -- to win his first bracelet and $311,174.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Schaefer
WSOP.com Brandon Schaefer earned $311,174 from his Event 14 victory

"One tournament. One win. I like it that way," Schafer said to Bluff.

After the eliminations of Zachary Korik, Jarred Solomon and Dylan Horton, Schaefer entered the nine-handed final table second in chips behind six-time bracelet winner Flack. They both maintained their positions until the action was four-handed, when both players began to implode. Schaefer won a big race against Flack, holding 9-9 to Flack's A-Q, but then passed off most of his chips to Jonathan Cohen. Flack also gave most of his stack to Cohen and would ultimately be eliminated in fourth by Adam Kagin, who was the short stack for most of the shorthanded action.

Kagin lost a race with 8-8 to Schaefer's A-10 and was eliminated in third, leaving Schaefer and Cohen to battle for the title with basically even stacks. A few hands into heads-up play, Schaefer vaulted to a 3:1 chip lead thanks to an all-in turn bet which prompted a fold by Cohen on an 8c-10d-2c-5d board.

The players headed to the dinner break with Schafer up 2:1 in chips. When they returned, it would take two more hours of Schaefer controlling the table before he finished off Cohen in dramatic fashion, hitting a straight on the river (against Cohen's top pair) after all the chips went in on the turn.

The bracelet is quite a parting gift from the poker world. /

"I walked into the Rio a few days ago and the first thing I saw was a hundred people on their cell phones telling a bad beat story," said Schaefer. "My God, was I really a part of this for seven years? This is miserable. I took out my headphones on and sat down at the table. My head was clear. … I was calm and thinking through hands clearly. It's weird how calm I was. When I was playing poker -- the gold bracelet is like the 'Holy Grail.' It felt really good to win."

For seven years, Schaefer dedicated his life to a game. For the next six years, he'll dedicate his life to a greater responsibility and is ready for whatever challenges that may come his way.

"It's something I wanted to pay back because I felt gratitude," he said. "It is a sacrifice. It is putting yourself in harm's way. Something I felt deep down that I wanted to do at some point.

Thank you, Brandon, and good luck.

Attendance remains a concern at the 2012 WSOP and this year's event attracted a field of 1,138 players, down from 1,440 a year ago.

Below are the complete results of Event 14 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:

Event 14: No-limit hold 'em shootout
Buy-in: $1,500
Entries: 1,138
Prize pool: $1,536,300
Players in the money: 120

1. Brandon Schaefer ($311,174)
2. Jonathan Cohen ($192,559)
3. Adam Kagin ($120,329)
4. Layne Flack ($87,446)
5. David Chase ($64,555)
6. Michael Corson ($46,393)
7. Jeff Madsen ($36,308)
8. Brandon Steven ($28,375)
9. Justin Schwartz ($22,168)
10. Dylan Horton ($17,544)
11. Jarred Solomon ($17,544)
12. Zachary Korik ($17,544)
13. Thomas Fuller ($5,295)
14. James Vanalstyne ($5,295)
15. Dariush Imani ($5,295)
16. Todd Boghosian ($5,295)
17. Orjan Skommo ($5,295)
18. Matthew Ezrol ($5,295)
19. Kimi Heiskanen ($5,295)
20. Carlos Mortensen ($5,295)
21. Vanessa Peng ($5,295)
22. Adrian Flores ($5,295)
23. Jason Koon ($5,295)
24. Ari Engel ($5,295)
25. Casey Jarzabek ($5,295)
26. Davidi Kitai ($5,295)
27. Melanie Weisner ($5,295)
28. Peter Alson ($5,295)
29. Anthony Spinella ($5,295)
30. John Kim ($5,295)
31. T.K. Miles ($5,295)
32. Will Jaffe ($5,295)
33. Mustafa Khan ($5,295)
34. Motoyuki Mabuchi ($5,295)
35. Scot Tolbert ($5,295)
36. Matthew Inelli ($5,295)
37. Cho Muhyun ($5,295)
38. David Randall ($5,295)
39. Aaron Ruppert ($5,295)
40. Kevin Iacofano ($5,295)
41. Nick Gibson ($5,295)
42. Seth Fischer ($5,295)
43. John Eames ($5,295)
44. Ryan Austin ($5,295)
45. Matt Keikoan ($5,295)
46. David Sands ($5,295)
47. Andrew Rosskamm ($5,295)
48. Nelson Resendiz ($5,295)
49. Mark Seif ($5,295)
50. Sean Pramuk ($5,295)
51. Martino Bakri ($5,295)
52. Nick Brancato ($5,295)
53. Matthew Curci ($5,295)
54. Kevin Boudreau ($5,295)
55. Nathaniel Armstrong ($5,295)
56. Konstantin Puchkov ($5,295)
57. Valentyn Shabelnyk ($5,295)
58. Scott Clements ($5,295)
59. James Hoeland ($5,295)
60. Joe Cada ($5,295)
61. Aleksandr Mozhnyakov ($5,295)
62. Lauren Kling ($5,295)
63. Danny Estes ($5,295)
64. Andrew Rennhack ($5,295)
65. Jordan Cristos ($5,295)
66. Jesse Cohen ($5,295)
67. Filipp Khavin ($5,295)
68. Joshua Merrin ($5,295)
69. Padraig Perkinson ($5,295)
70. Michael Wolf ($5,295)
71. Titan Leard ($5,295)
72. Benjamin Jenkins ($5,295)
73. Adrien Favrefelix ($5,295)
74. Keanu Tabali ($5,295)
75. Jared Rubin ($5,295)
76. Alex Bolotin ($5,295)
77. Robert Deppe ($5,295)
78. Ryan Hughes ($5,295)
79. Keith Hawkins ($5,295)
80. Ludovic Lacay ($5,295)
81. Joshua Pollack ($5,295)
82. Michael Palma ($5,295)
83. Brian Yoon ($5,295)
84. Mitchell Foss ($5,295)
85. Jose Serratos ($5,295)
86. Joseph Urgo ($5,295)
87. Gavin Smith ($5,295)
88. Ryan Rinker ($5,295)
89. Neil McFayden ($5,295)
90. Jeff Joseph ($5,295)
91. Barry Woods ($5,295)
92. Noah Sandler ($5,295)
93. Senvio Ramirez III ($5,295)
94. Matt Wilkins ($5,295)
95. Erik Seidel ($5,295)
96. Konstantin Beylin ($5,295)
97. Andy Philachack ($5,295)
98. Kyle Bowker ($5,295)
99. Terrence Chan ($5,295)
100. Kory Kilpatrick ($5,295)
101. Todd Wright ($5,295)
102. Blair Hinkle ($5,295)
103. Ray Qartomy ($5,295)
104. Derrick Yamada ($5,295)
105. Dorian Rios ($5,295)
106. Andrew Speas ($5,295)
107. Laurel Whitworth ($5,295)
108. John Reading ($5,295)
109. Erik Cajelais ($5,295)
110. Stephen Nussrallah ($5,295)
111. Mario Piccini ($5,295)
112. Nam Le ($5,295)
113. Daniel Colman ($5,295)
114. Steven Silverman ($5,295)
115. Philipp Salewski ($5,295)
116. Randal Flowers ($5,295)
117. Tyler Smith ($5,295)
118. Phil Ivey ($5,295)
119. Priyan de Mel ($5,295)
120. Tom Schneider ($5,295)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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