Serious Game: Alan Schein Talks About Life in Poker and Business

Nov 26, 2018

By Sean Chaffin

Alan Schein

The early-2000s saw an explosion in poker. Combined with televised poker, the game boomed and players logged in to battle it out at the virtual tables. That drove even more players to live tournaments and the “poker boom” was on.

As a businessman, Alan Schein (pictured) saw an opportunity.

Originally from Philadelphia and now living in Boca Raton, FL, he’s a regular on the South Florida poker scene. As more players look to play some cards online, Schein decided it might be a good idea to get in on the action.

“I wanted to start a poker site when partypoker was one of the only poker sites,” he says. “I wanted to get all the top players in on it and give them a piece of it. I arranged to get a license. I arranged to get the software from Canada, but then my lawyers couldn’t get me comfortable with the legality of it.”

As he worked through the process, Schein began playing tournaments and finding some success. In 2005, he won two WSOP Circuit rings. He won the $5,200 Borgata Poker Open in 2007 for $440,200, and a $1,570 event at Caesars Palace the same year for $120,867.

But the poker run soon came to a stop. At the time, Schein owned a call center business with about 6,000 employees and his attorneys were concerned authorities might come after his entire business due to any legal entanglements with a possible online poker operation.

With the poker site a no-go, Schein took a break from poker that lasted almost a decade. He played occasionally but focused mostly on his work and businesses.

In Philadelphia, Schein had been a pioneer in the 401(k) investment industry and worked for years in the financial planning sector. He owned a securities firm and mortgage business, but eventually sold those companies and moved to Florida at age 40. Schein quickly grew bored and decided it was too young to retire. That’s when he entered the call center business. His company worked with companies all over the country and at one time had more than 10,000 employees.

A few years ago, however, Schein sold all his businesses and picked up where he left off at the poker tables He has several nice scores in recent years, and now has almost $1.4 million in live tournament winnings. He’s adding to that total with a deep run here in the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

“It’s been going okay,” he says of his return to the game. “It was going better in the early-2000s when I used to play. With these rebuys, I had to change my game. When I played before there weren’t rebuys, and the rebuy really changes how people play. They’ll call you with anything because they can rebuy again. I’m starting to get used to it now.”

Beyond poker and business, Schein is the author of the recently released political book, Red Wave Imperative, as well as another book, Creating Your Own Wealth. He’s married and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

Even at age 73 and after owning numerous businesses, Schein shows no signs of slowing down. He now owns a South Florida cleaning business and continues to play plenty of poker with hopes of a final table appearance here at the Hard Rock.

“I can’t stop,” he says of his need to work. “People say, ‘Are you retired?’ I say, ‘Yeah, I was tired yesterday and I’m re-tired today.’ I’ve always got something going on.”

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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