Online Poker Millionaire Interview with Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt

If you think you can make yourself a millionaire online playing poker , You’re right. There are lots of people playing poker without any distractions. At America’s Cardroom there’s one top player of them all with over $4,000,000 in cash winnings. Here’s an interview with Dusty Leatherass Schmidt.
After winning nearly $4 million and playing over 9 million hands, Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt definitely knows his way around a poker table. This week I sat down the Americas Cardroom’s pro to catch up on what he’s been up to.

How have things been going on ACR since you became a pro last year?

I took a lot of time off this year, mostly for health related reasons, but I’m really getting back into playing now. The player base at ACR is great, the regulars are solid but there is still a constant stream of recreational players coming in that provide good action.

Just to catch everyone up, you recently publicly announced that after seeing a brain specialist you felt that poker was negatively impacting your health, can you elaborate on that?

I went to see a brain specialist after I noticed that my attention span was lacking in my everyday life and I was experiencing bouts of anxiety. My best friend referred me to Dr. Daniel Amen who is a world renowned psychiatrist. He specializes in cases of people with unique brains such as fortune 500 CEOs, professional athletes etc. He basically said that the massive volume I’d been playing was overtaxing my brain and I needed to slow it down or it could adversely affect my health.

What adjustments have you made since you got the diagnosis?

Basically I just had to learn to find a good balance for poker and my everyday life. I’m in a better routine now. Instead of sitting in front of a table for 8 to 12 hours straight I play a couple short sessions with fewer tables. On my down time I try to get exercise or go to the park with my kids. It was also good to take some time off.

What did you do in the time off you had this year?

I golfed a ton. For those who don’t know, before I got into poker I had ambitions of being a professional golfer. I had a heart attack at the age of 23 which was pretty much a career ender but I’ve began to take it very seriously again and hope to advance my game to a professional level.

I had a pretty exciting year. On May 6th there was a local US Open qualifier and I won it by shooting a 69. That win got me to the sectional qualifier in which they the top 5 golfers. I shot a 77 at the sectional which wasn’t enough to get me to the US Open but it was still really great experience.

I turned on ESPN a few days later and saw that they did a 3 minute segment on me and about my career as a professional poker player. It was pretty cool. Guys I’d been watching play golf all my life were debating on my chances of making it to the US Open, definitely a feather in my cap.

How has your success rate been since you came back to poker?

Well the first 9 or 10 days my return was far from spectacular. It wasn’t terrible but I was winning at roughly 3 or 4 big blinds per 100 hands and felt I needed to re-focus. Since then, I’ve been reviewing a lot of videos, even some of my own content from last year when I was really putting a lot of time into poker. I’m a coach at Bluefirepoker.com and PokerStrategy.com so there was lots of material for me to review from my peers in order to get my game back up to where I want it to be.

There’s lots of talk these days about online poker being too tough to beat to make a living at professionally, what are your thoughts on this?

Well games are definitely tougher and I’ve learned to lower my expectations. I remember one month a few years back I was up 196k. In this day and age that’s not likely to happen but there is still a lot of opportunity. I look at it now like I have a cool flexible job with no boss and still earn in the top 5 percent income bracket. There’s nothing wrong with that. There is still plenty of money to be made if you have the discipline.

What are your future goals in terms of poker?

In the short term I just want to continue to improve each day. I know if I continue to improve everything else will take care of itself. It’s easy to get complacent and look at your win rate and say that’s good enough. The game is always evolving so you have to keep up with it. As far as long term goals go I’d like to take a step back from poker a bit and pursue golf.

What would you suggest to players who are trying to improve their game?

Watching videos was always my number one biggest thing. Also keeping good notes is essential. I’m very analytic of the hands that I’m playing and review tough spots. If I’m in a situation where I can’t stand up in front of my peers and explain why I played a hand a certain way I make sure to find out why. I work with a program called ‘Flopzilla’ and spend a lot of time sitting and thinking about hands. If you have 100 problems with your game and are able to solve 2 a week, by the end of the year you should be in pretty good shape.

I like to have a logical reason for making the decisions that I make at the poker table. There is a definitive reason for what I do and it needs to be well founded by math and understanding my opponent’s ranges.

Your famous for your cash game accomplishments, do you ever throw any tournaments in the mix?

I’ve played a ton of tournaments in my day but have never really run well in them. I’m attempting to play the 50k GTD every week on ACR. The thing about tournaments is that I’m scheduled pretty thin. In a cash game you can just logout and pick up where you left off the next time, in a tournament you just don’t have that luxury.
How about live poker?

In 2010 I went to the WSOP and played about 100 hours of cash games. I did very well and love the deep stack poker aspect which is where I feel I really excel. Actually when I look at my database of hands, when I have stacks of over 200 big blinds my win rate is twice as high. I enjoy it, but its very time consuming and still prefer the flexibility of playing online.

Do you incorporate poker tracking software into your game?

I don’t keep a HUD up while I play but I do create profiles on players. Note taking is essential, and the more you keep track of your opponents tendencies the more likely you’ll know how to play them the next time around.
Do you have professional player who you enjoy watching or try to learn from?
As far as televised poker goes I love watching Phil Ivey. In terms of improving my game I get a lot of great stuff from watching Phil Galfond and ‘Doctor Jiggy’ videos. Every once in a while I take a half of a day off and watch a couple of these videos, it’s helped my game to get back in shape.

Finally, what brought you to the decision to become an ACR pro?

I’m a firm believer in endorsing products I believe in. With the legality of online poker being debated in the states there are very few credible US facing credible sites left. ACR’s payouts are amazing and it’s good to back a site I know has integrity. I’ve had a longstanding good relationship with management from other business dealings so when they approached me it seemed like a great fit.

As you see , great things happen at America’s Cardroom . Will you be the next success story. Take a look at America’s Cardroom and be the next big winner.
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