Erica Schoenberg is widely regarded as one of the top female players in the world, with over $600,000 in career tournament earnings. Erica took 3rd in a 2007 WSOP no-limit event, has a win in a WPT prelim event at Mandalay Bay in ’07, and recently final tabled the “$750k Guaranteed” on Full Tilt Poker, beating out over four thousand players. Oh yeah, and she’s engaged to WSOP bracelet winner David Benyamine.

Justin Shronk: You recently final tabled the $750k Guarantee on Full Tilt. Do you always play most of the big online tournaments? How much live versus online do you plan on playing the rest of the year?
Erica Schoenberg: I only recently started playing some of the big online tournaments. I, unlike David, can’t usually stand to spend an entire day playing online! That being said, I have had a little success with that lately, so I do plan to play more of the big buy in online tourneys.

JS: I interviewed David just before the WSOP and asked him what were some of the things that he had learned from you. He said: “I guess the most important thing she has taught me is patience in tournaments. She has gone deeper in tournaments than me because high-stakes cash game players typically gamble more in tournaments. Erica is all about surviving in tournaments. I can’t really talk about the other things she has taught me because I want to use them as a weapons against other players.”

What are some of the “other things” that David was talking about. Also, how are some of the ways he’s helped your game?

ES: I have no idea what he’s talking about half the time. David has helped my game in many different ways, but the biggest/most important thing he’s taught me has been controlling the size of the pot.

JS: I saw a TV clip of you on a morning news show talking about some of the biggest do’s and don’t’s of poker player fashion. For people who missed the clip, give me some of the biggest do’s and don’t’s.
ES: My newest pet peeve at the table is guys with their pink or purple IZOD collar popped (upturned) and an excessive amount of hair gel. These are also the guys that can be found with their hats tilted approximately ten degrees to the left. WTF?

JS: As with you and David, a lot of times poker players end up with other poker players for whatever reason. Whenever there’s a female at a table that I’m at, without fail all of the guys at the table immediately start to try to impress her and hit on her…POSSIBLY including myself.

How do I get myself out of the “random idiots hitting on me” category and actually get these girls’ attention? Also, what’s the cheesiest way a guy has tried to impress you or hit on you at the table?

ES: I think by being the one guy at the table not acting like a D-Bag and hitting on her is a way to stand out. As for my own experiences, there was a guy clearly from the Jersey area (he was in a telltale wife beater with a giant blinged-out cross around his neck) that told me he would be folding aces to me in hopes that I wouldn’t get knocked out.

JS: You had a less successful WSOP this year than last year, but David ended up winning his first bracelet. If someone said before the WSOP to you – “You can choose to either have an equally successful year to ’07 and David will go braceletless, OR you can struggle and David can have his first bracelet,” which would you have chosen?
ES: Um, what was that question?

JS: A little birdy told me you’re going to be featured in an article in Men’s Health magazine coming up. I subscribe to Men’s Health (which would be obvious if you could see me), but I don’t want to wait for it to come out. Tell me a little about the article.
ES: Well, since poker is a sport in which physical fitness doesn’t matter much, I talk a little bit about how to combat the sedentary nature of the game.

JS: What are you ultimate goals in poker? Some just want to have poker be a profitable life career, some want specific accolades, etc – what are some things that you want to accomplish?
ES: Honestly, I don’t think about that at all. I just love to play poker and the money, rims, jewels, Cristal and bracelets are just a bonus! My life is a rap video.

JS: Assuming you and David have kids one day, would you encourage them to go into poker? And since you know what being a female in the poker world is all about, is this answer any different whether you have a boy or a girl?
ES: No. Boy or girl, I won’t encourage them to get into anything specific. I want my kids to find their own path and if it leads them to poker, well, they would have two pretty decent teachers.

JS: Most guys get angry at their significant others when they go out and spend hundreds of dollars on clothes or shoes or whatever that stuff is that chick’s put on their lips. Do you have more leeway to do these kinds of things since you always have “You just lost ____- thousand dollars in one hand!” as a rebuttal?
ES: Absolutely. David can’t say @#$%!

JS: You/David, Chad/Vanessa , Phil Laak/Antonio – rank these poker couples from best to worst.
ES: We all suck.

JS: Who is the best no-limit hold’em tournament player in the world right now?
ES: Gotta give it to Phil Hellmuth.

JS: Who do you respect most in the poker world?
ES: Erik Seidel

JS: Name someone that you HATE to play against.
ES: My brothers. We always end up fighting.

JS: If you had to quit poker, but you could back five people for the next 10 years, who would you choose (tournaments and/or cash games)?
ES: Vanessa Selbst, Anna Wroblewski, Karina Jett, Kristy Gazes, and Evelyn Ng

JS: I asked David this one, and he took the politically correct route, but I suspect you will be a little more loose-aggressive – Chad Brown and Vanessa Rousso just got engaged in December and it’s been right around a year for you guys – do I smell a “who can stay engaged the longest” prop bet ??
ES: No prop bets. David knows that until I don’t have to get his tux at Casual Male XL, we are not getting married…just kidding.