Taking home the gold

By Eva Kuhn, Reilly Pruitt

When we heard through the grapevine that the richest man on campus was no econ major but a football player, we decided we had to do a little gold digging and see if the rumors were in fact true. We asked around, and located Tyler Schwecke ’08 on Bigelow 2 where he frequently passes his time talking trash and flashing newly minted cash. After some probing questions that produced slightly slow answers, we learned that on April 5, 2006 Schwecke, a wide receiver on the Macalester football team, hauled in the ultimate score: $50,000.

For those who don’t know him, Schwecke is an unassuming and friendly Minnesota native from Buffalo Lake, where his parents own one of the biggest pig farms in the state. Interestingly enough, Schwecke himself is no friend of the hog: he’s actually allergic to pigs. After mulling over this ironic trait, we decided to get the full story on Schwecke’s big win.

Schwecke walked into the Canterbury Card Club and Horse Track in Shakopee, MN late last Tuesday night as a regular gambler with mediocre results. No stranger to Lady Luck, Schwecke has clocked in many hours at the poker table, perfecting his game off the field. Gambling since it was legally possible, Schwecke is listed in teammates’ cell phones as “Poker-Spaz” and is a self-proclaimed gambling addict. “I play a lot. I’ll play online or in the casinos,” Schwecke admitted. We were slightly shocked to find such risky business from a Macalester football player, but as teammate Nick Hanks ’08 confirmed, “he gambles all the damn time.”

His recent success could be viewed as a long time coming. He left the card club several hours later on April 5, $50,002 richer, and since then has become a small celebrity on the Macalester campus.

Uneducated in the world of poker, we asked Schwecke to explain exactly how a college sophomore, and a Macalester football player no less, could walk away with indeed more cheddar than a food inspector. After asking the football crew to break it down, we concluded that some people just get all the luck.

It’s called a “bad beat jackpot,” in which a sufficiently strong hand is shown down and loses to an even stronger hand held by another player. Luckily for Schwecke, who was dealt four jacks, the losing hand was required to be four-of-a-kind eights or better to qualify for the “bad beat jackpot.” This time the tendency to lose worked in a football player’s favor. What’s more, Schwecke’s type of win only occurs approximately one time in 9 million hands of poker. Basically, this will never happen to you.

Despite his newly acquired wealth, and status as a football player, Schwecke has seemed to maintain a humble lifestyle thus far. Teammates agree that his money hasn’t drastically changed him yet. “Schwecke is the exactly the same, he just has a lot more money,” explained Chris Lowery ’08, teammate and friend.

Although Schwecke is not giving up his day job as a “team leader” at Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America’s food court, he doesn’t plan on letting the cat out of the bag just yet. “If they found out, I’d probably be mugged by one of my co-workers,” he explained. He has had some opportunity to capitalize on his undeniably “baller” status, despite his wish to remain low profile. Schwecke has generously taken his friends out for delicious victory dinners at Perkins and paid off credit card bills, as well as purchased a case of beer and handle of Gray Goose and funded other “recreational activities.” But Schwecke does plan to throw down a few of his Benjamin’s at Macalester. “I’ll probably use the money to pay for tuition or something,” he said.

Poker talk aside, we curiously asked the football posse how they planned to spend the rest of their Sunday night. After hearing grumbles about papers and tests, Schwecke yawned and said, “I’ll probably go back to Canterbury.”

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