Back in the late 2000’s, long before solvers were a thing, a group of math-focused individuals changed the face of poker. Players like Matt Hawrilenko, Bill Chen, and Jerrod Ankenman introduced a more math-based approach to poker; in fact, Chen and Ankenman even wrote a book titled The Mathematics of Poker.
Between 2006-09, the triumvirate won five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets between them and seemingly set the wheels in motion for the game to evolve into today’s “solver era.” Like many others before them, all three moved away from the game over the next decade, with Hawrilenko temporarily coming out of “retirement” back in the 2015 WSOP.
Similarly, Ankenman made a rare appearance at the Rio when he was spotted in Event #44: $3,000 6-Handed Limit Hold’em. The 2009 WSOP Event #42: $2,500 8-Game Mix bracelet winner has an impressive limit hold’em résumé that includes a pair of runner-up finishes in WSOP event. Back in 2006, he took second to Ian Johns in Event #23: $3,000 Limit Hold’em for $150,586 and two years later finished runner-up to Rob Hollink in Event #30: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.