Nick Schulman walked into a ballroom Saturday afternoon at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and sat down to do what he’s best known for: playing poker.
Schulman’s a member of the WPT Champions Club, having won the 2005 World Poker Finals title at Foxwoods, and owns three career World Series of Poker bracelets.
In recent years, Schulman has expanded his repertoire to include commentary duties for a variety of different poker shows, including the WSOP and, most recently, the revived version of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO.
He seems to strike a strong balance between poker and commentary, and after some minor travel difficulties found his way into playing Day 1B of the 2023 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
“Such a great turnout,” Schulman said of the SHRPS main event, which cleared 2,050 entries by dinner break of Day 1B. “I like Miami. I have some friends here, and you know, I just felt like playing.”
It was a quick turnaround for Schulman who, on Thursday night, served as part of the commentary team for a special live edition of High Stakes Poker. The game, which featured Jennifer Tilly, Doug Polk, Matt Berkey, Rob Yong, Jean-Robert Bellande, ‘Nik Airball’ Arcot, Eric Persson and Lynne Ji, received a polarizing reaction from the poker community following the behavior and interactions between some of the players.
With big personalities and lots of history between the seven players at the table, there were fireworks, and there were moments some would consider embarrassing.
“What do you think about it?” Schulman asked. “I mean, I feel like if I was making character judgments on everybody out there, it’s just too much. I enjoyed it. I mean, there’s enough going around, I feel like, for everybody. I don’t think we over promoted it – it’s just one game, it is what it is. Going back to the old High Stakes days, I mean, I don’t know if I would want to do it again. But at least for right now, it was fun.”
For now, Schulman has his player’s hat back on. He had about 135,000, more than twice a starting stack, when he headed out to dinner break on Day 1B. And while he’ll return to the commentary booth again soon, he’s happy with the balance he’s struck between being at the table and being on the mic. With a busy summer ahead, it’s safe to say fans will still see plenty of tournament appearances from Schulman.
“I kind of have the same schedule I’ve had for a little while – it doesn’t cut into it too much,” Schulman said. “I do mostly stay in Vegas, but I still play a fair amount.”