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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Barry Shulman

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

It’s a proven fact that poker is one of the few games (including sports) where people who make their living either writing about poker or running a website about poker can actually participate in the top poker events around the world.  I used to run a boxing website, where I was able to interview many of the top fighters in the sport.  But just because I did that it didn’t give me the right to step into the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world and try to take his title from him – not that I want to.  But the same goes in any sport, no baseball, basketball or football writer is going to make a team in any of those sports, unless it’s a publicity stunt.  What Barry Schulman has accomplished as an owner, editor, and writer of a magazine in the world of poker is far from a publicity stunt.  Schulman has had plenty of solid showings in top poker tournaments, but it’s his most recent performance that ranks him alongside the best tournament players in the world.  Not bad for a guy who took a 25 year break from poker after initially discovering it to pursue another career before coming back to the game.

Barry Schulman was born in Seattle, Washington on May 8, 1946.  Schulman enjoyed poker as a teenager and throughout his college years.  He took the game quite seriously, even considering going professional after graduating in 1968, but decided to go a different direction altogether.  For 25 years Schulman worked as a successful real estate agent in the Seattle, Washington area.  He has said in interviews that a goal he set for himself early on in his real estate career was to retire a little earlier than usual and to play golf for the rest of his life.  Schulman was successful enough to have completed his goal if he wanted to, but after working hard for 25 years Schulman found it hard to have so much free time, and could only play so much golf.
On a trip to Vegas he had flashbacks of his college days playing poker, and remembering he had some success at the game, decided to try it out again.  It was now 1993, and the game of poker had changed quite a bit, but Schulman adapted fairly quickly and had some modest profits on the tournament circuit over the next few years.  Between 1993 and 1999, Schulman made the final table of all three WSOP events he cashed in, including a 4th place finish in the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event, earning him $42,000.  He also won the $500 Limit Hold’em event at the Carnivale of Poker, winning him $44,895, his largest cash in that time frame.

In 1987 a magazine called Card Player Magazine was first published with the contents focusing on advanced players.  Playing in Vegas on a regular basis made Schulman aware of the magazine.  In 1999 the magazine went up for sale, and Schulman thought the publication could hold a lot more value if it focused on all poker players, not just on advanced players.  Schulman thought he was getting out of the world of business when he retired from real estate, but what almost seemed like a calling to buy the magazine was too much for him to overcome.  Schulman instead took the retirement money he originally intended for travel and playing golf and bought Card Player Magazine, becoming the CEO and Publisher.

Under his guidance, Card Player Magazine has become the number one magazine in the industry.  A magazine that started as little more than a few pages for advanced players now caters to players of all levels and tops at 126 pages two times a month.  Card Player Magazine and its sister magazine, Card Player Europe, combine for a circulation of 300,000 monthly, with a new edition coming out every two weeks.  The Card Player website is also popular, generating on average 300,000 hits a month.  The popularity of the Card Player brand has caused the award they give for “Player of The Year,” to be one of the most sought after honors in poker.

Running a magazine has predictably kept Schulman busy, but when he is able to play in tournaments he has proven he is one of the top players around.  Two years after taking over the magazine Schulman took down the WSOP 2001 $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better event, winning $123,820 in the process.  Also in 2001, Schulman won the $5,000 buy-in championship event at the Four Queens Classic, winning $145,500.  Up until about a week ago, Schulman’s top prize came at the 2003 Bellagio Five-Diamond World Poker Classic, where he outlasted the field in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, and took home $234,798. The World Poker Tour has also been kind to Schulman, having finished in the money eight times, including a final table, finishing 4th at the Ultimate Bet Aruba Poker Classic II, winning $112,780.

As mentioned, the biggest win of Schulman’s career came just a week ago at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.  The final table has been described as one of the better final tables in recent history and included the likes of Jason Mercier, Praz Bansi, and Daniel Negreanu.  In fact, the action came down to Schulman and Negreanu, with Negreanu holding a 2 to 1 chip advantage to start the heads-up action.  The action went back and forth for over three hours, with each player holding a significant advantage multiple times.  The deciding hand had all the drama you could expect from an epic heads up battle between two great players.  The full account of that hand, and a summary of the entire final table, can be read here.

The win netted Schulman $1,321,534, over one million dollars more than his previous high.  Schulman took the win in stride, instead sending a challenge to his professional poker playing son and president of Card Player Magazine, Jeff Shulman.  Jeff is one of the members of the “November Nine.”  In an interview immediately following his win, dad told son that “Now it’s up to him.”  He also pointed out that if Jeff wins they would make history, being the only father-son combination to win both versions of the WSOP main event.  Jeff is guaranteed at least $1,263,602 even if he finishes ninth.

In addition to Jeff, Schulman has three other children.  Two children are from his first marriage, and two of them are step children from his second marriage. 

*Read Billy Monroe's Blog*

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