TOURNAMENT HEADLINES

Alexander the Great

Alexander Anter Wins $1,500 Buy-In No-Limit Hold’em Contest

Anter Becomes First Scandinavian Champion at 2011 WSOP

Anter Wins Final Hand with Royal Flush

Lucky Sevens:  New Champion Rakes-In Monster $777,928 Pot

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Currently on an All-Time Record Pace

56 Gold Bracelets Won – Only Two More Events Still to Go

OVERVIEW

It took 42 days.  It took 56 events.  It took over a million poker hands.  But it finally happened.

A Scandinavian poker player finally won a gold bracelet at the 2011 World Series of Poker.

Alexander Anter, a 22-year-old professional poker player from Uppsala, Sweden, won the most recent competition at the 2011 World Series of Poker.  Anter’s first major tournament victory came in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship, officially classified as Event #56 on this year’s WSOP schedule.

Anter overcame a monster-sized field totaling 3,389 players en route to a thrilling victory.  Played from start to finish, the tournament took five days.

The mystery surrounding Anter’s victory is not that he managed to win his first gold bracelet and a staggering amount of prize money -- $777,928 to be exact.  The real surprise was that it took so long for a Scandinavian poker champion to finally emerge at this year’s WSOP. 

Scandinavian poker players – identified as those from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – have baked themselves into the upper crust of the poker world.  Per capita, players from Northern Europe have, in general, outperformed players from every other region of the world.  Several Scandinavians have won WSOP gold bracelets previously – most notably 2008 world champion Peter Eastgate, from Denmark.  But an odd thing happened this year.  The Scandinavians seemed to disappear.

To be clear, a few players from Anter’s region did come close to victory.  But there’s little doubt 2011 has been a down year for Scandinavians – at least until July 8th, when Anter ultimately prevailed, reminding everyone once again of the seismic skill set of so many great players from Northern Europe.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #56, please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.

EVENT #56 CHAMPION – ALEXANDER ANTER

The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Alexander Anter, from Uppsala, Sweden.

Anter is also known as Hasan Anter, or Hasan Alexander Anter.

Anter is a 22-year-old semi-professional poker player.  He plays many hours and says he may turn pro after this win.  But at the time of his victory, he was also a full-time college student.

Anter was born in the same town where he now lives – Uppsala, Sweden.  It’s the fourth-largest city in Sweden and is located about 50 miles north of Stockholm, the nation’s capital.

Anter is also a college student.  He is studying website development.

Anter started playing poker when he was 16-years-old.

Anter plays a lot of online poker.  He also plays in live games in several local clubs.  While Sweden does not have full-fledged casinos, there are a number of small private cardrooms with poker games.

This was the first year Anter has attended the WSOP.

This was the second tournament Anter has entered at the WSOP.  It was also his first time to cash.

Anter came to Las Vegas expecting to play in the WSOP Main Event Championship.  However, he decided to enter a few of the lesser buy-in tournaments.  He busted out of the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, leaving this event as his last and only shot at a victory prior to playing the Main Event.

Anter acknowledged later that his goal in this tournament was simply to cash.  He did far more than that.

For his victory, Anter collected $777,928 for first place. 

According to official records, Anter now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance and 1 in-the-money finish at the WSOP. 

Anter currently has $777,928 in career WSOP winnings.

Anter is to be classified as a semi-professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats).

WINNER INTERVIEW:

On how he got started in poker:

“Some friends started to play at home games and they showed me the game.  I learned it and I was hooked right away.  I was a total fish back then and I went back to the game and played with them every week and gave them my money.  Then I started to read some books and I started to win after that.  I read more books and I read more books and I started to play online and at some clubs in Sweden.  I played more and more and more.  I learned the game when I was around 16-years-old, six years ago, but played seriously and was living on it since four years ago.”

On if he really expected to win at his first-ever World Series of poker:

“No, I didn’t expect to win.  I was happy to make the money.  My goal was to make the money in the Main Event.  I came for the Main Event.  I didn’t even plan to play this, so this is a big surprise.”

On his thoughts when he lost the chip lead playing heads-up:

“Keep playing like I would always do and not break down.  Just trying to play good poker and make good decisions.  I was all in with bluffs a couple of times and I was lucky he didn’t call it.”

On what it means to win a gold bracelet:

“It’s a big honor.  Now, I can finally show my parents that I’m a poker player and maybe they won’t yell at me to be studying.”

On what he plans to do with the $777,928 in prize money:

“It’s my bankroll.  I’m going to play more poker so you guys get a chance to win it back.”

THE FINAL TABLE

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

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

Four different nations were represented at the final table – including Australia (1 player), France (1 player), Sweden (1 player) and the United States (6 players).

The runner up was Nemer Haddad, from Farmington Hills, MI.  He received a consolation prize amounting to $479,521.

Final table play began on a Thursday afternoon at 8:00 pm.  Played concluded about 9 hours later (playing time wise) at 5 pm on the following day.  The players were given a break due to the so-called hard-stop rule, which allows a maximum of about 12 playing hours each day/night. 

The Amazon Room hosted the start of the Main Event Championship, Day 1-A (and Day 1-B) which coincided on the same day.  The final table stage was the press box feature table. 

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

The top 342 finishers collected prize money.

Aside from those who made it to the final table, among those who cashed in this tournament were former gold bracelet winners – Gavin Smith (12th), Jordan Smith (71st), Dan Kelly (117th), Ken Aldridge (209th), Brett Jungblut (266th), Tom McEvoy (302nd), David “the Dragon” Pham (309th) and Lisa Hamilton (325th).

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 tournament attracted 3,389 entries. 

There were 149 female entrants, which represented 4.4 percent of the field.

The average age of all entrants was 35.9 years.

This is the 947th 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 p.m.  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.

Anter’s gold bracelet ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 10th.

2011 WSOP STATISTICS

Through the conclusion of Event #56 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 68,455 combined total entries.  $125,813,610 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 (35)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Sweden (1)

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

United States (31)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Sweden (1)

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

California (7)

New York (6)

Nevada (5)

Texas (3)

Florida (2)

Illinois (2)

Connecticut (2)

New Jersey (1)

Tennessee (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

North Dakota (1)

Washington (1)

Ohio (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 (43):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast (2 wins), John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak, Maxim Lykov

Semi-Pros (6):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis,  Alexander Anter

Amateurs (7):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko

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 – with 49 out of 56 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 12 of the 56 winners (22 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.  Brian Rast’s victory in two tournaments – Events #15 and #55 -- means the multi-gold bracelet streak will continue for at least another year.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 212 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Poker 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 finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).  Kim Nguyen 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 after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.

Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory.  Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001.  Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields.  But there’s also great pressure on the champions to do well.  What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:

Johnny Moss (1975)

Doyle Brunson (1977)

Bobby Baldwin (1979)

Stu Ungar (1981)

Johnny Chan (1988)

Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years.  Consider that last year, three former Main Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott Montgomery.  This year, Matt Jarvis won his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010.

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 6,332 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

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)

Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

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 (84) and final table appearances (43).

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew added to his record as the player with the longest consecutive streak of WSOP appearances (entering at least one event), currently at 38 years and counting (1974 to present).

First player in history with three second-place finishes in a single year – Phil Hellmuth

RAISING AWARENESS:  BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP

Bad Beat on Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1 percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship, contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize.  By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits when they win.  As the official charity of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.  A tax receipt is generated and sent to their mailing address.  Several high profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka, Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others.  Since 2003, the initiative has raised over $3,500,000 for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs.  Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1% by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite the Amazon Room in the concourse.  The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.

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