Scandinavian players have not enjoyed the best World Series of Poker (WSOP) this summer in Las Vegas, but Sweden’s Alexander Anter finally registered a first win for that area of Europe with success in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event last night.
With the Scandinavians struggling to make a meaningful mark on this series, 22-year-old Anter’s success is even more surprising as he “didn’t expect to win” and would have been “happy to make the money” – mainly because his “goal was to make the money in the main event”.
In fact, Anter only really arrived at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino looking to play the main event and “didn’t even plan to play this, so this is a big surprise”.
It’s also one very profitable surprise as he picked up $777,928, along with his first gold bracelet, after beating 3,388 other competitors, including Detroit-based Nemer Haddad when heads-up, to the title.
We all know how impressive Scandinavians – those players from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark – have been at the WSOP, so to only see one succeed this year is something of a shock, especially as they generally prove very successful in Vegas.
Haddad, meanwhile, was also recording his first cash finish at a WSOP to leave with $479,521 as his share of a $4,575,150 prize pool from event #56, so it wasn’t a bad four days for him, either.
But Anter’s victory was truly incredible as Scandinavians had been at the WSOP from the start. So, after six weeks and well over a million hands played, the Swede finally recorded a Swedish success – and with no less than a royal flush taking the final hand.
Additionally, Anter reckons he might finally have won over his parents, who might now stop yelling at him “to be studying” more to complete his website development course, rather than attempting to prove that he really is “a poker player”.
Having first played poker aged just 16, Anter – from Uppsala, which is approximately 50 miles north of Stockholm – was also recording his first WSOP cash with this victory.
However, Anter didn’t just have to overcome Haddad on the final day, with American Andy Philachack ultimately eliminated in third place for $345,698 during level 31 when the blinds were 60,000 and 120,000.
But Anter wasn’t involved in the elimination of the Texan. Haddad, on the button, limped in against small blind Philachack, who then moved all-in. Big blind Anter folded before Haddad called to put Philachack’s tournament life at risk.
Haddad showed A♣ 10♥, while Philachack held 3♠ 3♦. The flop revealed 10♣ 6♠ 7♠ to give Haddad the lead, leaving Philachack requiring one of the two remaining threes, runner-runner straight, or a flush to remain alive. The turn of K♠ provided Philachack with a little hope, but the K♥ river sent him to the rail.
Haddad moved up to four million in chips then to enter his heads-up match with Anter with a 3 to 1 disadvantage – and it wasn’t too long before we had our champion.
Now into level 32, with the blinds at 80,000 and 160,000, as well as a 20,000 ante, the final, incredible hand saw Anter – on the button – raise to 500,000, only for Haddad to re-raise all-in for about 3.2 million. Anter considered his options, but ultimately made the call to show A♠ 4♦ against his at-risk opponent’s A♦ 2♣.
A flop of Q♠ K♠ 10♠ arrived to give Anter a flush draw. The turn completed his flush when the 4♠ was revealed. Now, that was the event over, but the J♠ on the river did give him a royal flush to make his victory all the sweeter.
Top 10 placings and payouts from the WSOP 2011 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event:
1. (Hasan) Alexander Anter (Sweden) – $777,928
2. Nemer Haddad (USA) – $479,521
3. Andy Philachack (USA) – $345,698
4. Selim Oulmekki (France) – $251,267
5. John Borzio (USA) – $184,561
6. John Horvatich (USA) – $137,025
7. Rayan Nathan (Australia) – $102,803
8. Ryan Goindoo (USA) – $77,914
9. James Boyle (USA) – $59,705
10. Bryn Kenney (USA) – $46,209