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Oklahoma native wins second WSOP gold bracelet

2 July 2018

Calvin Anderson

Calvin Anderson (photo by WSOP)

Name: Calvin Anderson
Nationality: American
Birthplace: Yukon, OK
Current Residence: Las Vegas, NV
Age: 30
Profession: Poker pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 37
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 9
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 2
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 1st, 2014 WSOP Event #30: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or
Better ($190,538)
Total WSOP Earnings: $1,320,827
Personal Facts: Anderson can be found on Twitter under his @Cal42688 handle.

Thirty-year-old Calvin Anderson has claimed the second WSOP gold bracelet of his career in winning Event #56 of the 2018 World Series of Poker, $10,000 Razz Championship. Anderson earned $309,220 for the win.

The bracelet win for Anderson adds to one he collected in a $1,500 seven-card stud hi-lo event in 2014, though neither of his bracelet event triumphs represent his largest WSOP cash. In 2016, he finished as the runner-up in Event #69: Little One for One Drop - $1000 +111 No-Limit Hold'em, earning a still-WSOP-best of $324,597. This big win swells his lifetime WSOP earnings to $1,320,827.

Anderson's win in this lowball tourney denied a fourth career bracelet win to 2010 WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela. Kassela, 50 won two bracelets in the 2010 Series and collected a third title in a $1,500 no-limit deuce-to-seven draw event last year. The $191,111 runner-up cash for Kassela still boosts his career WSOP money total to more than $2.46 million.

Third place in this elite, 119-player lowball event went to France's Julien Martini. Martini, who already won Event #4, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, earned another six-figure payout, of $134,587.

Another prior gold bracelet winner, Toronto, Canada's Mike Leah, took fourth for $96,744. Coconut Creek, FL's Jerry Wong placed fifth, earning $71,014.

Day 4's finale in this year's razz championship turned out to be very brief. After five hours of heads-up play late Friday night, Anderson and Kassela returned on Saturday, with Anderson holding nearly 80% of the chips in play. It took only three more hands for Anderson to seal the win, after most of Kassela's chips disappeared in a hand where his 9-8 low was just eclipsed by Anderson's 9-7.

Kassela was all in one hand later for his last 30,000, with both players watching the cards roll out. Kassela caught a 10-9 low, while Anderson caught a 5x on seventh to close out the event.

The abrupt end to the event after Friday's drawn-out duel had Anderson shaking his head. “Oh, man. That's just how it – we just didn't draw any big coolers. [Frank] was playing a very passive style, so he wasn't bloating any pots. It isn't a bad strategy in a lot of situations, but it made it where we didn't play many big pots. He never three-bet me or re-raised whenever I would bring-in. He would just trap all of his hands,” a strategy that Anderson adapted to through the course of the closing duel.

“I wish it would have finished last night,” Anderson added. “At the end of the night, that's where I felt I was most zoned in and focused. I could have gone another ten or twenty hours. I focus more when it's late.”

Anderson compared the fun experience of playing in a mixed event such as this to some less fun poker experiences. “Most of the final tables that we play are really tense,” he said “Everybody's trying to balance their timing and stall; they're all worried about giving stuff away. Scarves, hoodies and all that stuff. It's … how relaxed things are, fun to play. You don't have to worry about that stuff, which I think is much better for the game. You get a game like razz or one of the other mixed games, it's like, you put your feet up and relax.”

Anderson also stressed having the right mindset to compete. “I think it's important to have a positive attitude, because then you attract a lot of those things in your life. I find that in general, a lot of people are victimizing themselves. They're complaining about everything, and that doesn't match the frequency of winning. The success is at a higher frequency.”

Thirteen players returned for Day 3 action in this year's Razz Championship, led by prior bracelet winner Calvin Anderson with 962,000 in chips. The day's first hours saw several short-stacked survivors bust, with Allen Kessler's ninth-place exit setting the official final table.

Poland's Dzmitry Urbanovich was bounced from the final soon after it formed, losing the last of his chips in a hand where he was all on third street against Mike Leah. Urbanovich ended up with jack-low, while Leah caught the 8-low and the knockout. Urbanovich's eighth-place effort was worth $31,992.

Five-time bracelet winner John Hennigan departed next, earning $40,817 for seventh. Hennigan was down to about 50,000 in chips when he and another of the remaining short stacks, Jerry Wong, squared off. Hennigan was all in on third, but Wong had sealed the knockout on sixth.

Sixth, fifth and fourth spots were determined in rapid succession. Brooklyn, NY's, Alex Balandin collected sixth-place money of $53,253 when his hand went down to Kassela's, with Balandin all in on fifth and drawing dead one street later.

Wong then busted in fifth after evading elimination just before Balandin hit the rail. Wong, from Coconut Creek, FL, also fell to Kassela in a hand featuring betting action through sixth, when Wong called all-in to a Kassela check-raise. Kassela was ahead at that point with a made 7-low, and he caught another seven on his last card. Wong, though, needed to improve his hand, but missed when another 3x came his way. Wong's deep run was worth $71,014.

That left prior WSOP bracelet winners in every remaining seat, though Toronto, Canada's Mike Leah quickly followed Wong to the cashier. Leah departed to a $96,744 payday after calling bets from Martini on every street including seventh, in his bustout hand, and when the hands were opened, Martini's 6-5-4-2-A easily topped Leah's 8-7-5-4-3.

However, Martini was foiled in his bid to become the 2018 WSOP's first double bracelet winner. Martini toiled as the short stack for some time before exiting, losing a pot to Kassela in a hand where Martini was all in on fifth street. In that hand, Kassela caught the eight on the river for the better low and the knockout.

That set the stage for the duel between Anderson and Kassela, with both players taking turns in the lead for another five hours before play was halted for Day 3. Anderson bagged up 4,585,000 million to Kassela's 1.370 million, winning a couple of large pots just before the night's action closed.

Event #56, $10,000 Razz Championship, drew 119 players and offered a prize pool of $1,118,600.

Other notables
The other players cashing in Event #56 were Kessler (9th, $25,654), Ismael Bojang (10th, $25,654), Paul Volpe (11th, $21,059), Eric Rodawig (12th, $21,059), Ted Forrest (13th, $17,706), Per Hildebrand (14th, $17,706), Cary Katz (15th, $15,256), James Obst (16th, $15,256), Scott Seiver (17th,$15,256), and Daniel Ospina (18th, $15,256).

Final table payouts (POY points in parentheses)
1st: Calvin Anderson, $309,220 (1,014.11)
2nd: Frank Kassela, $191,111 (507.05)
3rd: Julien Martini, $134,587 (456.35)
4th: Mike Leah, $96,744 (405.64)
5th: Jerry Wong, $71,014 (380.29)
6th: Alex Balandin, $53,253 (354.94)
7th: John Hennigan, $40,817 (304.23)
8th: Dzmitry Urbanovich, $31,992 (278.88)

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

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