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Pro Ankenman wins World Series of Poker gold bracelet

A pro poker player who co-wrote a book analyzing poker situations in complicated mathematical terms applied his own science to win his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet.

Jerrod Ankenman of Connecticut won the $2,500 buy-in mixed games event for a first prize of $241,654. The event, which drew 412 entries, features eight different poker games.

"You get to play all kinds of different games," the 32-year-old Ankenman said. " Most of the players are good at some games but are not that good at others. I really like the mixed games format because it really shows off your chops as a good all-around player, instead of just all these tournaments everywhere else where they playing nothing but hold’em.”

Ankenman, who co-authored "The Mathematics of Poker," with two-time gold bracelet winner Bill Chen, had finished second twice in series events, in 2006 and 2008.

He has nine series in-the-money finished for $769,128 career winnings.

Las Vegas resident and six-time gold bracelet winner Layne Flack finished seventh.


Official event report from the World Series of Poker
Total Net Prize Pool: $947,600
Number of Places Paid: 40
June 21-24, 2009

Tournament Highlights:

Mixed Games is a new event which debuted at last year’s WSOP. It was the first time in history that a major poker tournament included eight different poker games. These games include:

1. No-Limit Hold’em
2. Pot-Limit Omaha
3. Triple-Draw Lowball
4. Limit Hold’em
5. Omaha High-Low Split
6. Razz
7. Seven-Card Stud
8. Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better

Games are played on a rotation basis. Games change every eight hands.

Mixed Games is similar to a HORSE tournament, except there are eight different games played instead of five.

The Champion —

Ankenman actually flunked out of college during his first year at UC-Davis.

Ankenman is married. He and his wife recently had their first child.

Ankenman once worked for Washington Mutual (Bank). He started out as a database programmer.

Ankenman started playing poker seriously when he was in his early 20s. He started playing regularly in Los Angeles area cardrooms and gradually worked his way to the point he was a full-time professional.

Prior to writing “The Mathematics of Poker,” Ankenman exchanged many complex ideas with his co-author Bill Chen. The duo eventually put many of those ideas and theories into practice in live and online games, which provided the groundwork for their success as authors and poker players.

Ankenman is a popular member of the social poker group known as BARGE, which comes to Las Vegas every August. Other BARGE members include Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, Andy Bloch, Richard Brodie, Sabyl Cohen, Bill Chen, Rob Lauria, Gavin Smith, Alan Jaffray, J.P. Massar, Perry Friedman, Rafe Furst, Phil Gordon, and many others. Several of the BARGE group were on hand to cheer and support Ankenman.

Winner Quotes (Jerrod Ankenman) –

On his collaboration with Bill Chen on The Mathematics of Poker: “We wrote the book together.

On his latest projects: “Before the WSOP started, I was playing poker, doing some research, and even worked for an options-trading company for a time.” Note: The firm Ankenman is referring to is Susquehanna (SIG), one of the most respected privately-owned financial institutions in the world.

On his two previous second-place finishes: “Those second-place finishes were bittersweet. It’s really nice to get the prize…..In the first one, I had Ian Johns all-in (but lost). Then I lost like 30 hands in a row and finished second (laughing). In the second one, I was down about 3-1 in chips to Rob Hollink and he made a hand at the end and won.”

On playing heads-up versus Sergey Altbregin: “I felt pretty confident. I had played a lot of heads-up before….I am very confident in my ability to play heads-up, especially in flop games. It was a combination of being confident and then getting a nice rush of cards that helped me to win.”

On his preference for certain games in the Mixed Game format: ”I really wanted to get into the shorter-handed flop games. I have played hundreds of hours and thousands of hands. I did not want to get into coin-flip situations in the PLO or the other games, because I thought I had the advantage in Hold’em.”

On the WSOP and this tournament: “The WSOP is the last bastion of these kinds of games. Most of the other tournaments around Las Vegas and everywhere else it always is no-limit, no-limit, no-limit, no-limit – whatever. It’s nice to be able to come here and play a wider variety of games.”

On seeing some of his friends win gold bracelets, and now finally getting one himself: “Yeah, that is really nice. I was happy for Bill Chen when he won. That was the greatest WSOP ever (in 2006). I am very happy to finally get one for myself.”

The Final Table —

The final table included two former WSOP gold bracelet winners – Layne Flack (6 wins) and Dario Alioto (1 win).

There were players from three different nations represented at the final table – including Italy, Russia, and the United States.

The runner up was Sergey Altbregin, from St. Petersburg, Russia. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.

For the second consecutive event, a Russian player finished as the runner up. Both times, American players began heads-up play with a sizable disadvantage, but were able to overcome the odds and win.

The third-place finisher was Christopher Klodnicki, from Voorhees, NJ. This was his eighth time to cash, in just the past three years. Klodnicki has accumulated more than $800,000 in WSOP winnings at the age of 24.

The fourth-place finisher was Jeff Tims, from Houston, TX. He won a gold ring at the WSOP Circuit two years ago at Harrah’s New Orleans. He now has more nearly $400,000 in tournament earnings.

The fifth-place finisher was Jon Turner, from Winston-Salem, NC. He is better known as “Pearl Jammer” online. This was his second final table appearance this year, after finishing fifth in the Omaha High-Low Split event.

The sixth-place finisher was Eric Crain, from Murphysboro, IL. He won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at the Tunica Grand in 2006.

The seventh-place finisher was Layne Flack, from Las Vegas, NV. Flack is a six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, who his last title last year. His quest for win number seven fell way short in this event, as he was never a factor as the final table’s shortest stack.

The eighth-place finisher was Dario Alioto, from Palermo, Sicily (Italy). He was also severely short-stacked from the start and was never able to generate any momentum. Alioto won his gold bracelet playing Pot-Limit Omaha at WSOP-Europe in 2007.

The ninth-place finisher was James Fricke, from Las Vegas, NV. This was his second final table appearance and fifth time to cash at the WSOP.

In-the-Money Finishers —

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Dario Alioto, Layne Flack, Jens Voertmann, Thang Luu, Rami Boukai, Bob Slezak, and Blair Rodman.

There was no defending champion, since the only Mixed Event played in 2008 was a $5,000 buy-in. That event was won by Anthony Rivera.

The Event —

The $2,500 buy-in Mixed Games event attracted 412 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $947,600. The top 40 finishers collected prize money.

The tournament was played over three consecutive days.

Jerrod Ankenman came to the final table on Day Three ranked second in chips.

The heads-up match between Jerrod Ankenman and Sergey Altbregin began with the Russian player holding nearly a 2 to 1 chip advantage. But Ankenman won most of the key hands in the duel and ended up which his first WSOP victory.

The final table lasted about six hours.

The tournament officially began on Sunday, June 21st, at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended on Wednesday, June 24th, at 12:30 am.

WSOP Statistics –

Through the conclusion of Event #42, the 2009 WSOP has attracted 40,607 entries. $82,864,182 in total prize money has been awarded to winners.

Through Event #42 – the nationalities of WSOP gold bracelet winners reads as follows:

United States – 28
United Kingdom – 2
Canada – 2
Russian Federation – 1
Finland – 1
Australia – 1
Sweden – 1
Mexico – 1
Italy – 1
Holland – 1
Hungary – 1

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