Where are they now? Jerrod Ankenman, poker author, mathematician and bracelet winner
In the late 2000s, long before solvers were a thing, a group of math-focused individuals changed the face of poker. Players love Matt Hawrilenko, Bill Chen, and Jerrod Ankenman introduced a more math-based approach to poker; in fact, Chen and Ankenman even wrote a book called The mathematics of poker.
Between 2006 and 2009, the triumvirate won five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets with each other and apparently set the wheels in motion for the game to evolve into today’s “age of solvers”. Like many before them, all three drifted away from the game over the next decade, with Hawrilenko temporarily coming out of “retirement” at the 2015 WSOP.
Likewise, Ankenman made a rare appearance at the Rio when he was spotted in Event #44: $3,000 Limit Hold’em 6-Handed. the 2009 WSOP Event #42: $2,500 8-Game Mix The bracelet winner has an impressive limit hold’em resume that includes a pair of finalists in the WSOP event. In 2006, he took second place Ian Johns in Event #23: $3,000 Limit Hold’em for $150,586 and two years later finished second in Rob Hollink in Event #30: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.
Where did he go ?
“I was pro until about 2012. At that time I went to work for Susquehanna, it’s like a financial company,” Ankenman said. PokerNews. “I did options trading, but now I work for their sports betting group. I’m like their head of sports research in the US. I’ve been doing this for several years.”
He continued, “Basically, I don’t play poker anymore. I was in Vegas visiting friends and doing stuff. I was here so I thought why not play. I can still play poker, so why not come and play this thing. Being a poker tourist now, it’s been nine years since my last World Series tournament, and the first hand I get, I get a multi-way pot with quads!
Ankenman brought a decent stack into Day 2 of the tournament, but found himself stuck on the inside after making top pair or better numerous times but still losing. Without luck, Ankenmann finds himself on the rail before the first break of the day.
“It was fun. I now find that the reasons I quit playing poker for a living are still good reasons,” he said. “I’m happy to show up, play the tournament and having fun. I thought there might be a big whiff of nostalgia, you know, I was playing 20-25 tournaments a year, but really, I had fun but I have no desire to come back [full time].
A new adventure
While Ankenman was a poker pro for nearly a decade, he eventually headed for greener pastures.
“I had been doing it for about nine years, and I just wanted to work on different things. Poker was getting much harder. I think we participated in its realization. I was a little fed up, it started to become a real chore. I knew I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life. I had the opportunity to go to graduate school and do my doctorate. at Yale. When you have other opportunities, sometimes you want to try other things.
He added: “I settled into this company, which was founded by poker players. Play is kind of at the heart of what we do. I have a very good role there. I have this doctorate in mathematics. but I also have the game aspect. It’s a lot of fun. I’m obviously not the first person to switch from poker to finance and sports betting.
Ankenman’s current position seems to be a perfect blend of all his passions. In fact, when people ask him what he does for a living, he replies, “I bet on sports, I bet on elections and I play poker, plus some money.” That’s pretty much living a lot of people’s dream, I think.
Although the former WSOP bracelet winner may not play the game as much as he used to, poker remains a big part of his life.
“We use poker in our education process at our company, and I wrote a book about poker, so it’s not like I’ve been cold, zero poker for nine years,” he said. he declared with a smile. “I actually talked and thought a lot more about poker than I actually played.”
For more from Ankenman, follow him on Twitter @hgfalling.