Monday June 11, 2012 : ASPIRANT ARMY CHOPPER PILOT IN SURPRISE WORLD SERIES OF POKER WIN (Update)
 
Brandon Schaefer entered the WSOP on a whim, and took home a bracelet and $311,174.
 
Former poker pro turned aspirant Army helicopter pilot Brandon Schaefer (31) was in Las Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival last week when, on a whim, he decided to pony up the $1,500 buy-in to compete in event 14 of the World Series of Poker, a NLHE Shootout competition that pulled in 1,138 players, many of them international stars.
 
It turned out to be a profitable decision; Schaefer  bested them all to claim the main prize of $311,174 and his first World Series of Poker bracelet.
 
Schaefer survived a final table of Jonathan Cohen, Adam Kagin, Layne Flack, David Chase, Michael Corson, Jeff Madsen, Brandon Steven and Justin Schwartz to finish in the heads up against 24-year-old Cohen, with both players evenly matched on chip counts and performance.
 
Schaefer quickly established control and by the dinner break was holding a 2 to 1 chip advantage over his plucky but unlucky opponent. The dinner interval did little to change the situation as Schaefer continued to advance and build on his lead until he vanquished Cohen, sending him home with the runner up prize of $192,559.
 
The former Seattle-based internet poker pro said he had abandoned the life of a professional gambler to follow his brother's example as a helicopter pilot in the US Army, because it gave his life purpose, challenge and fulfilment.
 
After completing officer and survival courses he is now headed for flight school as part of his six-year enlistment contract.