How do you celebrate an important win? Sip a cocktail and watch “Breaking Bad.” Such is the life of Mexico’s NateSD222, aka Richard Schenz-Davis (pictured), who is just a couple thousand dollars shy of hitting $500,000 in online MTTs and won the PokerStars Sunday $109 Rebuyas well as a WCOOP Second Chance event last year.
He briefly dabbled in Spin and Gos, but ultimately found his way back to MTTs this year, telling us, “After experiencing both formats, MTTs are just a lot more fun, so I think I’m sticking with MTTs for now.”
As he said, last year was a breakthrough year for Davis, who recorded his three largest scores ever during the stanza. He said, “The highlight of 2014 would have to be winning the Sunday Rebuy based on the amount won, but the first moment where I thought I really improved my game a lot was coming in third in the Sunday Second Chance in 2013. That tournament gave me a lot of confidence for most of the year.”
And yes, to celebrate, he grabbed his favorite drink and turned on the tele: “I think I just grabbed a Bohemia and watched some Netflix, ‘Breaking Bad’ at the time, with my girlfriend.”
Prior to finishing third in the Sunday Second Chance, Davis mainly played 50nl heads-up cash games. “I never really got into MTTs as far as high volume,” he admitted. “I didn’t really know what I was doing range-wise, so I took a few days and really did some research on how to improve my MTT play. I found some articles, applied it, and started doing well.”
He found poker in high school. He had just moved to San Diego from Oklahoma and was looking for somebody to play Magic: The Gathering with at his new school. He saw a table of guys with cards in the cafeteria and asked if they played Magic. He explained, “They said, ‘Nope. We play poker.’ I said, ‘Oh, like Chris Moneymaker’ and they all laughed at me. So, I sat down and asked how to play.”
When he was 17, his friends and he built up enough nerves to head to Barona Casino. They managed to get in and just watched the action. Davis told us, “The next time I went, I sat and played $1/$2 and knew from that moment that I loved poker.”
Along with poker, he had an aptitude for golfand would up receiving an 85% scholarship to Liberty Universityto play. However, he said, “I dropped out my senior year because I didn’t attend class enough even though I maintained a good enough GPA to be eligible and they made me ineligible for golf. When I knew I’d be ineligible for golf, I dropped out and tried to pursue golf professionally.”
He played on the Golden State Tour in California and his dad let him stay at his house while he was trying to make it as a pro golfer. He remarked, “My stepmom said I had to have a part-time job while living there trying to make it as a pro golfer, which is very difficult considering I was competing with guys who were fully sponsored and did nothing but golf. I practiced about six hours a day, but just couldn’t compete while also having a 30-hour per week job at Ralph’s Grocery Store.”
That ended his pursuit of golf, which in turn ignited his poker career. “I told my dad, ‘I’d like to pursue a professional poker career,'” Davis explained. “His exact words were, ‘That’s fine, but you can’t stay here.’ Three days later, I moved out in my 1998 Toyota Corolla and lived in my car for three months grinding $1/$2 at Barona (pictured), getting comped rooms when I could until I met the person who convinced me to switch to online poker.”
Enter Nathan Schmidt, whom Davis would talk strategy with. When Black Friday hit, Schmidt and Davis happened to be playing at the same table. Later on, Schmidt asked Davis if he wanted to move to Mexico with him and the rest is history.
Side note: At one point in our conversation, Davis commented, “My stepmom was not happy about my newfound interest in poker, so my dad said that he was taking me somewhere one day and we wound up in a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.”
Despite all of that, his parents now understand that he makes money playing poker, so it all worked out for the most part in the end. Davis summarized, “My dad has a semi-descent understanding of it. My mom doesn’t understand it, but knows I’ve supported myself for the last four years doing it, so she is accepting of it.”
And so ends our whirlwind tale.