Monday, June 10, 2013

Tom Makes It Three

Was up late last night following various poker-related happenings, including that Event No. 15, the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event in which my friend Tom Schneider, a.k.a. the “Donkey Bomber,” was leading as the final table played out.

From a starting field of 862, they’d gotten all of the way down to three-handed with Schneider ahead of Owais Ahmed and Viatcheslav Ortynskiy when I finally hit the hay. Got up to discover Schneider had won, and thus began the day with a grin much like was the case about a week-and-a-half ago when I woke to see Chad Holloway had managed to outlast the final few players to take down that Casino Employees Event No. 1.

Schneider joins Mike Matusow atop the weekend headlines from the WSOP, as “The Mouth” also managed to claim another bracelet -- his fourth -- after winning Event No. 13, the $5,000 Stud Hi/Lo. Meanwhile the Canadians keep grabbing gold, with Mark Radoja picking up a fifth bracelet for Canada in Event No. 16, the $10,000 NLHE Heads-Up event. (The U.S. has won the other 11 bracelets thus far.)

Schneider has been cashing at the WSOP for quite some time, his first in-the-money finishes coming in 2002 and including a 36th-place in that year’s Main Event. He became better known in the poker world in 2006 after a third-place finish in the televised WPT World Poker Challenge (during which Mike Sexton first dubbed him the “Donkey Bomber”).

Anyone who missed that show finally got to know Tom the following summer when he won his first two bracelets at the 2007 WSOP on his way to winning that year’s WSOP Player of the Year. He’s continued to post frequent cashes and deep runs both at the WSOP and elsewhere during the years since, including a 52nd-place finish in the 2009 Main Event.

Long time readers of this blog might remember I first met Tom way back in 2007, just a few months prior to his breakthrough at the WSOP that summer. I’d become a fan of the podcast he, Karridy Askenasy, and Dan Michalski (of Pokerati) were doing at the time, called Beyond the Table. After having interacted with those guys several times previously online, I happened to be in LV on a trip that spring at a time when Schneider was there, and so we had a chance to meet up in person. I wrote about that meeting here in a post titled “Shamus, Get Your Ass in Here!

Kind of interesting to look back at that post, actually, written before I’d gotten involved in tourney reporting myself or really writing about poker anywhere except here at HBP. Later on I was thrilled to see Tom soon winning bracelets, then once I started in 2008 going out to the WSOP every summer, he and I would generally get together at least once each summer to catch up.

I have continued to report on those later meetings with Tom from time to time here. This morning I’m remembering in particular one post from 2010 titled “On the Schneid” in which I shared some of Tom’s comments to me over dinner regarding the emotionally-challenging grind the WSOP can be. I’m also recalling that deep run Tom made in the 2009 Main Event, as well as an unintentionally funny text message I sent to him then which I revealed here later that summer.

You can click above to read the whole story, but I’ll sum it up quickly here to say I’d accidentally sent Tom a memorable text message that I thought I was sending to Vera. It was a message in which I had referred to the recipient as “mama” and ended with “xxx.”

Waking up this morning to see Tom had claimed his third WSOP bracelet -- just a week after his wife, Julie, made her second career WSOP final table in Event No. 5, the $2,500 Omaha/Stud Hi/Lo event -- I couldn’t resist sending him a text in acknowledgement:

“Congratulations, mama!”

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