A champion we’d appreciate: Kevin Schaffel

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As the World Series of Poker Main Event rolls around every summer, pundits often reflect on the year gone by and debate whether the reigning world champion was a good ambassador for poker.

The discussion usually centers on the player’s qualities vs. his qualifications. It’s similar to the argument pro sports have: Should the MVP be the best player in the league, or the player who was most valuable to his successful team? In poker, however, our MVP isn’t selected; it’s earned.

Some believe the world champ should be the face of poker, attending many events and being available to the public for autographs and charity work. Others argue the world champ should be a great player, perhaps a pro who has paid his dues, not someone who got lucky for a week and a half winning coin-flips on his way to the title.

Can’t we have a good player and a good ambassador? In Kevin Schaffel we can.

After spending some time talking with the Coral Springs player, Ante Up believes Schaffel to be an ideal candidate for the job. Qualifications? He has plenty. Schaffel has cashed in the biggest buy-in tournaments around the country, and he’s done it at a clip that makes most records pale by comparison, finishing in the money an astonishing 50 percent of the time. Plus he’s been playing semi-professionally for a few years, flying to the West Coast every month to log some serious hours at the cash tables in California and Nevada. Yeah, he’s paid his dues.

As far as being someone to admire, someone to take good care of the crown, Schaffel is our man. A few years ago he had to close the family business, but he had 22 employees. Not wanting them to lose their jobs, Schaffel found someone who could hire all but one of his employees, and the day Schaffel had to tell them he was shutting down, no one cried more than him. Integrity? Check! We know Schaffel would do great things with an $8.5 million payday and a world title.

He’ll be in sixth place as the November Nine reconvenes Nov. 7 to play for the WSOP title. We’ll be rooting for him, and we hope you will, too.

Also in this issue we pay our respects to veterans with a Road Trip that honors their sacrifices, and we celebrate our one-year milestone with a party and tournament at One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room in Sarasota.

Finally, Floridians continued to make their presence known around the country as they took down several titles at the Beau Rivage’s Gulf Coast Poker Championship in Biloxi and Atlantic City’s Borgata Poker Open. Congrats, fellas.

We’ll see you at the tables.

Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long