It was an exciting time in Los Angeles this week as poker greats settled on the felt to battle it out at the World Poker Tour’s 2010 Legends of Poker. While a great time was surely had by all, the big winner on the day was Andy Frankenberger who walked away with the first place win after a grueling five days.
Andy Frankenberger has, until now, been relatively unknown in the poker world. However, as we all know relative unknowns can come out and surprise us with greatness, so he’s certainly not to be discounted on that alone. Slightly over a year and a half ago Frankenberger left his job as a stock broker and made the decision to live life without goals for a while. He took up poker and has been playing avidly ever since, although this was only his second ever World Poker Tour event. Stock brokers and poker players have a history of doing well in each others’ fields, with famous poker star Phil Laak having worked as a stock broker and Wall Street recently showing an interest in players of our favorite pastime.
Frankenberger went some way to proving this stereotype correct with an excellent performance over the five days at this $5,000 buyin Main Event. Closing the second day as the chip leader, he must have been happy, but this happiness surely turned to elation when he ended the third and fourth days still as chip leader, and then won the whole event as the fifth day came to a close. He said afterward that he wasn’t afraid of getting his chips into the middle, but he definitely waited for spots where he felt he had a significant edge, commenting, “I wonder if there was ever a WPT final table where the winner won as few hands as I did.”
He came into the six-handed final table with the chip lead, and while it was quickly lost he knuckled down and managed to reclaim it. As he got the chips in against third-place getter Tom Lee, things looked a little bit grim as Lee’s two pair was ahead of Frankenberger’s pair and flush draw. With two cards to come to hit his outs, the ex-stock broker only needed one, completing his flush on the turn and knocking Lee from the tournament.
As he entered heads up play he had a 4:1 chip lead over runner-up Kyle Wilson, which is a serious advantage, but one which has certainly been overcome in the past. This tournament was not going to be home to such a spectacle, however, as after just six hands the chips went in the middle preflop. Frankberger flipped Ace Nine suited which proved to be in great shape against Wilson’s Ace Three suited. Wilson flopped a flush draw which sent hearts pounding, but the turn and river bricked knocking him out of the tournament in second place. Frankenberger receives the Wild Bill Hickok Trophy, entry into the $25,000 WPT Championship and a staggering $750,000 in first place prize money, by far and away his biggest poker score yet.
It’s great to see a success story such as Frankenberger’s, and we can all hope that it inspires more young players to try their hand at poker. With a performance like this it’s certain that stocks are but a distant dream in his head, and that we’ll see more of him on the poker tables in the future. We will, of course, also see more of the World Poker Tour so stay tuned for our coverage as it heads across the pond to London in September.