FORMER WALL STREET TRADER HITS IT BIG AT WORLD SERIES OF POKER

June 19, 2011 - 06:23:13 PM EST  | 

FORMER WALL STREET TRADER HITS IT BIG AT WORLD SERIES OF POKER

TOURNAMENT HEADLINES:

A New York State of Mind

Andy Frankenberger Wins $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Championship

Former Wall Street Trader Hits it Big on the Las Vegas Strip

New York Poker Pro Collects First WSOP Gold Bracelet and $599,153

Full House at the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Still Up Double Digits Over Last Year

28 Gold Bracelets Won – 30 More Still to Go

OVERVIEW

Some people are simply born to succeed at whatever they do.  Andy Frankenberger is such a man.

Frankenberger is the latest World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner.  He won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship, overcoming a massive field size, totaling 2,500 entrants.  Frankenberger collected the hefty sum of $599,153 in prize money.  However, more than a half-million dollars awaiting him in the cashier cage seemed almost an afterthought, as Frankenberger beamed for television cameras and photographers, proudly displaying the luminous treasure from his first-ever WSOP-related victory.

No doubt, the 38-year-old professional poker player from New York City is one of this year’s most fascinating new poker champions.  A native New Yorker, Frankenberger actually grew up in Massachusetts and later lived in Siberia (Russia) for one year, as an exchange student.  He learned to speak Russian and remains fluent in the language.  Frankenberger attended and graduated from Duke University, earning his degree in economics.

Following graduation, Frankenberger took his ambition and energy to Wall Street and succeeded as an equity derivatives trader.  He made a lot of money.  He loved his job.  Then, during the absolute pinnacle of his success as a trader, Frankenberger did the unthinkable.

He quit.

Frankenberger decision to leave a highly-successful and lucrative career on Wall Street reveals a lot about the man he is, and what he most values in life.  Frankenberger explained his decision this way:  He could have hung around for another year or two and continued to make a lot of money.  But he felt he was not growing as a person.  He sought new challenges.

After taking some time off, Frankenberger began playing tournament poker.  He played in several mid-grade tournaments around the country.  Much to his surprise and delight, he quickly discovered an affinity for the game.  Indeed, the lessons he had learned from his previous life -- of risk management, maintaining emotional control, and complex problem solving – served him well at the poker table.

Last year, Frankenberger started playing full-time on the tournament circuit.  He traveled around to major tournaments.  He won two major events in 2010, in the process earning an honor as the tour player of the year.  But as impressive as Frankenberger’s rapid ascent seemed, he had yet to prove himself on poker’s grandest stage.

That all changed on the night of June 19th, 2011 when at 1:45 am Frankenberger defeated the runner-up Joshua Evans, giving the New Yorker his first WSOP title.

If there’s such a thing as validation for a poker player, the WSOP gold bracelet brings all that to its recipient -- and more.  But for Andy Frankenberger, his victory in poker’s most prestigious tournament series reveals that life’s winners can and will succeed in any endeavor they so chose.

Now, Frankenberger’s opponents in the future can only hope he has another rare moment of epiphany – and eventually moves on to something new.  Wishful thinking, indeed.    

For a comprehensive recap of Event #28, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.

EVENT #27 – ANDY FRANKENBERGER

The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Andy Frankenberger, from New York, NY.

Frankenberger is a 38-year-old professional poker player.

Frankenberger was born in New York City. However, he spent much of his childhood living in Massachusetts.

Frankenberger was an exchange student for one year. He lived in Siberia, Russia. During that time, Frankenberger became fluent in Russian. He decided to pursue language studies when he attended college.

Frankenberger attended and graduated from Duke University. He earned degrees in economics and Russian.

Frankenberger worked on Wall Street as an equity derivatives trader. He was very successful financially, and also enjoyed his work immensely.

Frankenberger made what many would consider to be an unthinkable decision to leave his career. He took some time off and gradually became interested in poker.

Frankenberger’s first recorded live tournament cash took place in January 2010 at the Borgata Winter Open. Since that time, he has won more than $1.2 million in live tournaments – not including this victory.

Frankenberger has a stellar poker resume, considering that he has been active for less than three years. He won the 2010 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event. He also won the Venetian Deepstack Championship last year. Frankenberger was awarded the WPT’s “Player of the Year” honor for 2010.

For this victory, Frankenberger collected $599,152 for first place. 

According to official records, Frankenberger now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 2 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. He also has three WSOP Circuit cashes.   

Frankenberger currently has $619,998 in career WSOP winnings.

Frankenberger is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he has been playing full-time for about two years and now has more than $1.8 million in earnings during that span.

WINNER QUOTES (Note: The winner was interviewed at tableside moments after the victory)

On how it feels to win:

For me, it’s so important for me to get this win. When I won the Legends and I won the Venetian, poker was very new to me. I had not invested that much into it in terms of time or energy. At this point, I have been playing all year. I have been traveling all over the world. This is my first big win of 2011, so I can’t even begin to tell you how much this win means to me right now.

On his poker strategy:

In my head, I always know how deep I am willing to go on a hand. Whether I three-bet or four-bet, I always know how far I will go. This game is about confidence. There was a point tonight when I was starting to feel weak and they could sense it. I was getting beat up. I was calling with decent hands that were not catching. With a weak image you have to back off. I sat on the sideline and let the others battle it out. To my surprise, the next thing I knew – it was heads up. 

On working on Wall Street before playing poker professionally:

The kinds of things you do working on a trading desk are actually very similar to the things you do at the poker table. It’s all about risk management. When you are trading in the market, you are dealing with the uncertainty of what can happen with the market. You have your opinion about what will happen. And you have to weigh that and determine how strongly you want to place your investment. Similarly, at the poker table, you know what your two cards are. But you do not know what the other guy’s got. It’s all about risk management, not letting your ego get the best of you when you are wrong. Being beat up on Wall Street was great training. I did very well at it, but you’re never smarter than the market. You have to keep your ego in check. It does not matter if you are right. The same is true in poker. It’s a similar type of mindset and a similar type of thinking.

On what motivated him to leave trading and play poker instead:

I absolutely loved my job. I loved what I was doing. That’s what made it tough to leave. The thing that made it easier for me was that I loved what I was doing, but I did not think I was growing as a person, in other ways. I did not want to go on and do another year of the same thing. And that’s why I made the decision.

On being more successful as a trader versus as a poker player:

The funny thing is it all depends on what you mean by success on Wall Street? Does that mean you have a great job? Does that mean you make a lot of profit at the end of the year? I mean, there is a political component to working in a bank, or a hedge fund, or whatever. But in poker – your results speak for themselves. You can’t politic your way to a gold bracelet. You can’t smooth talk your way to winning a championship.  

THE FINAL TABLE

The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers.

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners. This was only the fourth tournament final table so far at the WSOP which guaranteed a first-time winner.

Three nations were represented at the final table – Canada (1 player), Great Britain (1 player) and the United States (7 players). 

The runner up was Joshua Evans, from Dallas, TX. He is a 26-year-old poker pro and investor. Evans picked $372,498 more to invest for a fine performance, but was disappointed with the outcome. He had a 3 to 1 chip lead at one point in heads-up player, but could never put his final opponent away for good. Evans attended Texas Tech University. This was the fifth year he has attended the WSOP. Evans now has two WSOP cashes. He finished third in the inaugural WSOP Circuit National Championship, held at Caesars Palace in May.      

The third-place finisher was Robert Shortway, from St. Petersburg, FL. He is a 26-year-old Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Remarkably, Shortway just returned three weeks ago from an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Ohio State University. This was Shortway’s second time to cash at the WSOP. He now has more than a quarter-million dollars in WSOP earnings.

The fourth-place finisher was Owen Crowe, from Halifax, NS (Canada). Crowe has a remarkable record in tournaments with gigantic fields. He’s final tabled mega-fielded tournaments four years in a row. He also finished 15th in the 2008 Main Event Championship, with 6,844 players.

2008 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – 8th Place – 2,447 entrants

2009 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – 5th Place – 2,781 entrants

2010 - $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em – 2nd Place – 3,128 entrants

2011 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – 4th Place – 2,500 entrants

The fifth-place finisher was Tyler Kenney, from Long Beach, NY. He is a 22-year-old poker pro. This was Kenney’s second year to attend the WSOP. This was his fourth time to cash.

The sixth-place finisher was Steve Merrifield, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a 26-year-old poker pro. Merrifield previously had a runner up finish at the 2008 WSOP. He earned a finance degree from West Virginia University.

The seventh-place finisher was Thao Nguyen, from Birmingham, AL. He is a 42-year-old businessman. This marked his first time to cash at the WSOP.

The eighth-place finisher was Sidney Hasson, from London, UK. He is a 30-year-old financier. Hasson is a graduate of the prestigious London School of Economics, and has quite an interesting background. He grew up in the Congo (Africa). Hasson cashed in the largest live poker tournament in history, which was the 2006 WSOP Main Event Championship.

The ninth-place finisher was Bret Hruby, from Naperville, IL. He is a 21-year-old college student at the University of Iowa, and a top online poker player. 

Final table play began at 10:30 pm on a Saturday evening. Played concluded 3 hours and 15 minutes later, at 1:45 am. This was the shortest final table of the year, so far.  

The final table was played on ESPN’s main stage. The new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and appearance. No stage in the history of poker has ever looked as spectacular. Viewers will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in July.

Action was streamed live over WSOP.com. Viewers can tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables. Although hole cards are not shown, viewers can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table. The floor announcer provides an official account of the action. 

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 270 finishers collected prize money.

Given the large field-size, a sizable number of former gold bracelet winners would be expected to crack the money standings. However, few former winners made the cut. Among former gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament were the following players: Matt Graham (19) and David “Dragon” Pham (259).

Two-time gold bracelet winner Matt Graham (Houston, TX) finished 19th.

Two-time gold bracelet winner David “Dragon” Pham (El Cerrito, CA) had a min-cash, finished in 259th.

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the 920th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history. This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded. It also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010). Moreover for the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year. The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to the public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.

Frankenberger’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, June 19th. The national anthem of the USA will be played in honor of his victory.

TOURNAMENT PLAY

The tournament was played over three consecutive days – four days, if the overlap past midnight is considered.

Day One began with 2,500 entries and ended with 349 survivors.

Day Two began with 349 players and ended with 28 survivors.

Day Three began with 28 players, which played down to the winner.

The tournament officially began on Thursday, June 16th at noon. The tournament officially ended (early) Sunday morning, June 18th, at 1:45 am.

2011 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #28, the 2011 WSOP has attracted 33,590 combined total entries. $52,514,185 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (18)

Great Britain (3)

Canada (3)

France (2)

Russia (1)

Ukraine (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (14)

Great Britain (3)

Canada (3)

France (2)

Ukraine (2)

Israel (1)

Russia (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Through the conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

Nevada (3)

California (3)

New York (3)

Texas (2)

Illinois (2)

New Jersey (1)

Florida (1)

Tennessee (1)

Connecticut (1)

Indiana (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:

Professional Players (23): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Mark Radoja, Elie Payon, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger

Semi-Pros (3): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk

Amateurs (2): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 6 of the 28 winners (21 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year). The last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999. The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles. So far, no player has yet won two gold bracelets (this year).

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 189 consecutive events. Aside from the annual Ladies Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008. The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.

The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players -- Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em) and Kim Nguyen, who also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who finished in sixth place after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

·         Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

·         Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

·         Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

·         Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

·         Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

·         Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

·         Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,350 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

·         Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

·         Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

·         The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history. He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

·         Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (80) and final table appearances (41), with his second-place finish in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Championship (Event #16).

Note: Various categories and statistics will be updated with each gold bracelet event as they are completed.

Note: All results are now official and may be reprinted by media. If you are posting these results on a website, we would appreciate providing a link back to: WSOP.com


 
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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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