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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

Dusty Schmidt: A Competitor at Heart - From the Golf Course to the Poker Biz - Part II

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Continued from Part I

PokerWorks: At that point, you made a conscious decision to dedicate more time and effort to poker. Is that correct?

Dusty:
I was a little lost, actually, at the end of the summer. I always intended to get back into golf and give it a second shot after having it taken away from me with the heart attack and without having the funding to do it right. I grinded real hard in poker in January, February, and March to try to make a bunch of money and get ahead of the game, and the focus led to playing really well and winning some amateur tournaments. But then the court case happened, and I had to spend weeks trying to become an attorney. I didn’t play any poker and just studied law night and day to try to win the case. The next thing I knew, summer had passed me by, and I decided to write a book! I spent most of my time playing poker and writing the book, only playing golf a little, and I got the book completed by the end of the fall. It came out about a month ago.

PokerWorks: Speaking of the book, what about your experiences with poker made you feel like enough of an authority on the subject to write about it?

Dusty:
I had quite a bit of success as a coach at StoxPoker.com when I was affiliated with them, and I developed quite a number of followers who watched my videos each week and said they thought I should write a book. I had some good credentials, including winning more than $3 million at the high stakes cash games. A lot of people would say that I may not have been the most talented guy, but I found a way to make money at the end of the day. A lot of it was that I wouldn’t go on tilt or get frustrated with a play or an opponent and shut down all of my twelve tables; All of the mistakes a poker player might make were things I avoided with the one goal in mind of making money. I ran my poker like a business, which is where I got the title and the concept. And the results are better than I could have hoped for.

PokerWorks: When exactly did you get involved with StoxPoker and then transition over to Drag the Bar?

Dusty:
I got involved with StoxPoker late in ’06 when things were starting to progress for me, and I started making videos for them in early ’07. By the end of that year, I received a portion of the company in exchange for making videos and coaching, but we ended up having some differences on some issues with StoxPoker and CardRunners. A month ago, I left the company and came to an agreement with Drag the Bar, which has been cool because Hunter Bick went on his own to start the company, and I always liked working with him. He’s a good guy, and we’re seeing what we can do now with Drag the Bar.

PokerWorks: What are your poker responsibilities at this point?

Dusty:
This year, I started with a lot of coaching related duties. I signed with CardPlayer Magazine to write a monthly column, and I have the deal with Drag the Bar to do videos, write blogs, and be an active member of the forums.

PokerWorks: What role does golf play in your life now?

Dusty:
It changes a lot for me. I think I’m finally coming to the realization that I don’t have the inspiration for it the way I would need to really do it right. I don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of playing decent golf. I want to win, which is what I’ve become accustomed to, and it wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun to play an amateur tournament for me these days. But if I really want to compete again, I have to put a lot of effort into it, and I don’t have the inspiration right now. I might just shut things down a little bit, golf-wise, and just go into recreation mode. I can see a time down the road where the inspiration will strike, but it needs to be there. I can’t force it to be there or half-ass it.

PokerWorks: How did your family and friends react to your transition from golf to poker? Did they have any concerns when your involvement in poker became significant?

Dusty:
Absolutely. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t give me crap for it! Attitudes and perceptions about poker have definitely changed from 2005 to 2010, at least for most people, but in 2005, it was not as popular or as understood as it is today. My family and friends really questioned what I was doing. I was supposed to be a golfer on the PGA tour someday, but then I was playing poker… It was tough, and there were definitely some people who disappointed me in the way they reacted to it. To this day, I don’t understand those negative reactions to things that don’t really affect them. For awhile, it was funny because people didn’t believe when I said I was doing well. They asked how I was doing, and though I didn’t want to tell people how much I was making, that is how you gauge your day in poker. Either you make $8,000 or you lose $10,000 or you’re up $32,000; that’s the way we talk. I’d tell that to people like my mom, but she never really believed it. People started to believe it was real when Sports Illustrated did a feature on me, and that made people realize that I wasn’t lying about the poker wins. But it’s not easy sometimes, but all in all, it’s cool.

PokerWorks: Your concentration is in online poker. Do you play live at all?

Dusty:
Not a whole lot. This year, I probably will because I’m starting to establish relationships with the poker industry and there are more reasons to go out and play tournaments. Being a little more involved in poker away from the tables makes it important to get out and play live. I’m certainly not going to start traveling full time, no matter what kind of money is out there. I have a young child, and I want to be at home with her as much as possible.

PokerWorks: Might we see you at the WSOP this summer?

Dusty:
I’m coming to the World Series this year. Drag the Bar wants me to play a few events, so I’m probably going to play an event or two.

PokerWorks: Can you tell me a little about your House of Cards Project?

Dusty:
Right now, there’s not a whole lot to talk about. I have to wait about a year or two to get the non-profit status and paperwork with the IRS, so there’s more time on that, but it should be done by the end of 2010. The intent of it is to provide housing to people who need it. I played poker for the homeless in December, and I’ll be doing more of that. I want to take more time to dedicate to causes, contribute to my own foundation, and allow it to disperse the money. It won’t be the traditional charity where we try to help as many people as possible, but instead we’ll be doing more fun things like putting three people in homes, finding them jobs, and doing everything we can to get them on their feet. It’s the concept of paying it forward.

PokerWorks: Is there something specific that inspired you to dedicate yourself to this cause?

Dusty:
A lot had to do with the birth of my daughter. I named my daughter Lennon, after John Lennon, who inspires me. Some of these things playing out with the homeless and being able to raise money for them seems like something John Lennon would have done if he was a poker player. It’s a goofy way to put it, but I’m inspired to give something back to the community and help people who need it.

PokerWorks: If people want to follow you online or compete against you, where can they find you?

Dusty:
It’s “leatherass9” and I play most of my poker on Full Tilt and PokerStars. I play as low as $5/$10 and as high as $50/$100 no-limit hold’em, wherever I feel like playing that day.

PokerWorks: And lastly, where did that nickname “Leatherass” come from?

Dusty:
It’s from the scene in the movie “Rounders” where Worm was talking about Knish, and he said, “You don’t think that’s work, what he does, grinding it out on his leather ass?” That’s my style, grinding it out. I’m not a reckless player; I pay my bills, keep a nice chunk in savings, and treat my poker like a business.

Part I

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