Crossover players are not all that rare in the
world of poker. Many of the greatest players started out playing other card
based games and were quite successful while doing so. However, having a chess
master in the mix is not something that is seen everyday.
Ylon Schwartz is just such a person and has taken a place among the best in the
poker ranks. Schwartz started out playing chess at an early age in New York and
has been hooked ever since. He has managed to become a chess master and ranks
very high among the players of the world. This is where he held his true passion
for many years.
Something else that makes Schwartz stand out among his peers is his intense love
of gambling. Oddly enough this is what entered him into the world of chess as
well. While walking down the street one day in Manhattan Schwartz
a sidewalk game in progress and joined in. He won and was awarded $2 for his
Schwartz was hooked and began hustling chess games from passersby for $100 a
game. During this time he started playing professional chess at the same time
and began to make waves in the world. Being an aggressive player and known for
his abilities in memory, Schwartz quickly climbed the ranks without overstudying
poker books or
online poker blogs.
A stroke of fate brought him to poker. A friend, known as Fat Nick, invited
Schwartz to play in poker tournaments he was holding in his nightclubs. Schwartz
accepted the offer and won both tournaments netting himself $12,000. In stead
of playing other games,
he stuck to poker, and........
From there it is history...
Despite spending most of his free time caring for his mother who had cancer
Schwartz managed to perfect his style of poker which is ruthless. He is the
ultimate gambler, many times going all in when holding nothing and being
rewarded with the highest rakes.
Check out the hand below, where he folds the
K-high flush against Ivan Demidov. Lex
Veldhuis and Kenny Hallaert
later said this was one of the most impressive laydowns of the tournament.
Schwartz entered the 2008 World Series of Poker main event final table. He was
battling the veteran players well and using all of his chess tricks to counter
the higher skills of the other players. However, he was eliminated when he went
all in versus Peter Eastgate.
He ended up finishing 4th for the day and netted over $4 million for his play.
He continued to play in World Series of Poker events and has finished in the
money 14 times as of 2009.
While he was playing in the tournaments Schwartz’s father, Neil, attempted
several times to contact him. Neil had left Schwartz and his family when
Schwartz was only 2 and despite repeated attempts to make contact the two have
never reconciled. The final attempt came when Schwartz made the final table at
the 2008 Main Event. Schwartz refused to acknowledge his father.