Schwartz wins HORSE bracelet

Ylon Schwartz emerged onto the poker scene during the 2008 WSOP main event. He became a member of the first November Nine and wasn't looking to become a star, but with the world championship bracelet within reach, Schwartz knew his life could change in an instant. Peter Eastgate eliminated Schwartz in fourth at that final table, winning a life-changing race with fives against Schwartz's A-10. Schwartz, keeping true to his passive persona, collected his massive paycheck of $3.7 million and immediately moved on.

In each of the next two years at the WSOP, he once again found himself at a WSOP final table, both times finishing third. The former chess master appeared to be unable to find the right moves at the key times, and two more close calls were added to his résumé. He cashed four times in 2011, with the final tables and bracelets again just out of his reach.

It is easily understood from any conversation with Ylon that his persistence drives him to excellence, and his run of close calls finally ended in Event 27, $1,500 HORSE, at the 2012 WSOP. Schwartz defeated the 889-player field to win his first title and find a great deal of satisfaction after so many heartbreaking moments.

"I'm super happy to get this bracelet," said Schwartz. "I've been banging away, knocking at the door a bunch of times. Forever I was finishing at the [second to last table]. They would call me 'the teenager;' I was finishing 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th. Then finally I got the fourth, and then third, and now I finally broke through. It's an amazing feeling."

Schwartz has 23 WSOP cashes over the past six years, good for $4.4 million in earnings. He won $267,801 from this event as he defeated four-time champion David Chiu heads-up for the title.

"The [main event] was obviously a more wild, rollercoaster experience," Schwartz said, comparing the two accomplishments. "Going through all those days to get to that place and having all that money for people close to you to try to borrow … When I made that score, it was all of a sudden, 'I want to do this, I want to do that.' People calling me I hadn't heard from in 10 or 20 years. I don't think this will be as intense."

Chiu, Schwartz and Stephen Chidwick returned for a fourth day of play after action was halted on Day 3 due to the WSOP's daily time limitations. Chiu held the chip lead to start the action, but Schwartz seized control immediately. He eliminated Chidwick in Omaha-8, turning a straight against Chidwick's overpair and missed straight draw. On the second hand of heads-up play, Schwartz took a big pot from Chiu with a flopped set, which turned into a rivered full house (against Chiu's rivered flush). Chiu battled and nearly evened the stacks, but one hand in stud ended the comeback as Schwartz hit quads to essentially place the bracelet on his wrist.

The HORSE tournament format features five games (limit hold 'em, Omaha high-low split eight-or-better, razz, seven-card stud and seven-card stud high-low) that rotate every eight hands. Schwartz enjoys the challenge of mixed games and believes he excels in them due to the patience that comes from his chess background.

"Playing many different games definitely helps adjusting to the stages of the tournament, and this is really about management," he said. "I think positional play might be more relevant than tactical play (in HORSE). You might not play a hand perfectly, but managing the spots and understanding what people think of you can give you some benefit in a leg where you've been passive and you know they're memorizing your tendencies.

"It's more about tournament management, from my point of view. I know a lot of these young kids like to extract every last bit of value from a hand, and I think that's really hard to do in a three-day tournament. You're better off not losing an extra bet. Holding onto your chips is more important."

Schwartz held his chips, and he now holds the bracelet he's waited for since entering the game nearly a decade ago.

Other notable finishers include Allen Cunningham (10th), Cliff Josephy (16th), Tom Schneider (21st) and David Williams (23rd).

Below are the complete results of Event 27 at the 2012 World Series of Poker:

Event 27: HORSE
Buy-in: $1,500
Entries: 889
Prize pool: $1,200,150
Players in the money: 96

1. Ylon Schwartz ($267,081)
2. David Chiu ($164,960)
3. Stephen Chidwick ($112,106)
4. Robby Rasmussen ($78,021)
5. Elior Sion ($55,422)
6. David Rogers ($40,169)
7. Jason Brown ($29,679)
8. Marlon Milne ($22,358)
9. Sanjay Pandya ($17,150)
10. Allen Cunningham ($17,150)
11. Brandon Guss ($13,405)
12. Zimnan Ziyard ($13,405)
13. Bryce Yockey ($10,669)
14. Rep Porter ($10,669)
15. Benjamin Lukas ($8,641)
16. Cliff Josephy ($8,641)
17. Charlie Ng ($7,116)
18. Michael Chow ($7,116)
19. Chip Jett ($7,116)
20. Nick Kost ($7,116)
21. Tom Schneider ($7,116)
22. Dan Madeiros ($7,116)
23. David Williams ($7,116)
24. Daniel Idema ($7,116)
25. Young Phan ($5,964)
26. Bradley Libson ($5,964)
27. Sam Grizzle ($5,964)
28. Yuval Bronshtein ($5,964)
29. James Brown ($5,964)
30. Maria Mayrinck ($5,964)
31. Brian Saltus ($5,964)
32. Matthew Ashton ($5,964)
33. Cary Katz ($5,088)
34. Greg Dyer ($5,088)
35. Mihails Morozovs ($5,088)
36. Scott Lake ($5,088)
37. Chris Bell ($5,088)
38. Lance Mesler ($5,088)
39. Jason Schwartz ($5,088)
40. Hernan Salazar ($5,088)
41. Randy Holland ($4,404)
42. Wendy Freedman ($4,404)
43. James Wheatley ($4,404)
44. Stacy Hansen ($4,404)
45. Anthony Costa ($4,404)
46. Marsha Shutt ($4,404)
47. Mitchell Huff ($4,404)
48. Thomas Weideman ($4,404)
49. John Bunch ($3,876)
50. Huck Seed ($3,876)
51. Tristan Wade ($3,876)
52. Gabriel Nassif ($3,876)
53. Steve Landfish ($3,876)
54. Richard Gleitsman ($3,876)
55. Anthony Dick ($3,876)
56. Aaron Duczak ($3,876)
57. Derek Boundy ($3,468)
58. Karle Wilson ($3,468)
59. David Grey ($3,468)
60. Ryan Gentry ($3,468)
61. Jeremy Ausmus ($3,468)
62. Andrew Barber ($3,468)
63. Eli Elezra ($3,468)
64. Michele Limongi ($3,468)
65. Brian Stonoff ($3,156)
66. Chris Ruby ($3,156)
67. Bruce Hoyt ($3,156)
68. Adam Rymer ($3,156)
69. Justin Young ($3,156)
70. Jamie Sill ($3,156)
71. Michael De Gilio ($3,156)
72. Guarv Kalro ($3,156)
73. John Cernuto ($2,904)
74. Michael Noori ($2,904)
75. Barry Hartheimer ($2,904)
76. Steven Hohn ($2,904)
77. Jason Potter ($2,904)
78. Jacobo Fernandez ($2,904)
79. Matthias Kurtz ($2,904)
80. Vassilious Lazarou ($2,904)
81. Yuebin Guo ($2,676)
82. Michael O'Donnell ($2,676)
83. Linda Allen ($2,676)
84. Carol Kline ($2,676)
85. Brent Wheeler ($2,676)
86. Peter Brownstein ($2,676)
87. Linda Johnson ($2,676)
88. Martin Staszko ($2,676)
89. Michael Rosenberg ($2,676)
90. Kenneth Morey ($2,676)
91. Eoghan O'Dea ($2,676)
92. Ky MacPherson ($2,676)
93. Travis Trail ($2,676)
94. John Monnette ($2,676)
95. Rizqallah Abusiam ($2,676)
96. Dan Heimiller ($2,676)