In his first crack at the WSOP Circuit, Anton Wigg won the High Roller at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, stealing a gold ring and the top prize of $111,719.
There were a fair few surprising faces in the field for the week’s richest event, but perhaps none was as surprising as the eventual winner’s.
Wigg, 30, is a professional poker player from Stockholm. Sweden. He’s been playing the game professionally for about 10 years, during which he’s amassed more than $2 million in live tournament earnings. The bulk of that came courtesy of a victory at EPT6 Copenhagen, and this result is now the second-largest on his stat sheet.
At the tail end of an extended poker tour on this side of the pond, Wigg found himself in South Florida with a few days to play. He and his fellow Swede Emil Ekvardt arrived together, and Ekvardt posed a small cash in the $1k event earlier in the week.
Wigg made a more significant mark with his win, though, collecting the third-biggest payout of the 12-event series.
One of the most significant pots of Wigg’s tournament was one that he lost, and it happened during the late stages of Day 1. “I made a dubious call,” he laughed. “My poker wife [Ekvardt] told me I was splurging with my funds.”
Wigg and two others played a 200-big-blind pot at the 400/800 level, with the hero going to war with a straight-flush draw. He filled his flush on the river, but one of the opponents made a full house to drag the huge pot. Wigg was forced to rebuild.
He did so primarily at the expense of bracelet winner Barry Hutter. On the last hand of Day 1, Wigg doubled up in a flip with ace-king against Hutter’s pocket jacks, spiking a king on the river to stay in contention. Early the next day, more of the same. “Get into Day 2, bad beat Barry again,” Wigg said.
The champ also recalled situations in which he was put into some tough spots by opponents taking unusual lines. Perhaps the South Florida style is a bit unfamiliar to the Swede.
“Poker is such a special sport that way,” he said. “You focus, you focus, you focus, and then all the sudden, the glasses come off. ‘What did you just do? Are you as crazy as I think you are?’”
Wigg has traveled the world playing poker, but Florida is a long way away from home. “People have a lot of ex-wives, they have a lot of companies, and they have a lot of money,” Wigg said, only half-joking.
It’s his first trip to South Florida, but it sounds like the foreigner is fitting in just fine with the scene down here. “People come here to play, and they come here to bluff, and they come here to talk shit about each other. And I like that. I want to make it fun for people. I want to shoot the shit. Then you get down to business at the final table.”
Wigg gets down to business away from the felt, too. For the last few years, he's been eying up some more philanthropic pursuits.
“I feel like poker has an expiration date,” he said. “It’s not been developing in the best way for the past few years. So I’ve been looking into what I want to do after.”
Right now, that involves significant efforts to reform education in his home country.
“I want to provide people with an opportunity, to find a way where it’s intriguing and fun for them,” he said. “Maybe ‘trick’ is the wrong word, but I want to trick people into learning for themselves. You have to have them make the decision themselves.”
Wigg credits his girlfriend, Alyssa, and his “poker wife” Ekvardt for helping to keep him focused both on the felt and away from it.