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September 17, 2014

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November Nine:

Schaffel plans to remain calm and patient

Tennis pro inspired Schaffel before the Main Event

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Kevin Schaffel laughs with Steven Begleiter after the two made the final table at the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 15, 2009.

Final Table Chip Count

Kevin Schaffel can partially thank tennis pro Serena Williams for making it this far in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Before the tournament began, Schaffel watched the Wimbledon final between Serena and Venus Williams. After Serena beat her sister, she said the key was staying calm and patient.

Calm and patient. Those two words stuck with Schaffel.

“I wrote them down and kept them in my pocket the whole tournament,” Schaffel said. “I just tried to remember that during the down times.”

Not that there were many down times for 51-year old from Miami. He said after surviving one precarious all-in situation on the first day of the tournament, it all went fairly smooth.

Every round he increased his chip stack and never had a losing day.

“It was just such a strange tournament,” Schaffel said. “I never had a bad run once. You like to think you can play like that once or twice a year. I picked a good time.”

Schaffel turned professional after closing his printing company and has played in all but one of the World Series of Poker Main Events in the last six years.

He cashed in 2004 and 2008, but this is his first final table.

“I’ve reached the best, but at the same time, there is so much more to go,” Schaffel said. “I still think I have a whole lot more to learn.”

Schaffel enters the final table slightly short-stacked and sixth in chips.

But don’t think that is worrying him. He says he has no reason to break from his calm and patient mantra now.

“It’s what works for me,” Schaffel said. “There are certain players who need to be in action and play five out of eight hands. Others, that doesn’t work. That’s me.”

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