When one thinks of the greatest years in poker history perhaps Erik Seidel in 2011 comes to mind. Maybe it’s Fedor Holz‘ campaign in 2016. Most recently, Justin Bonomo‘s legendary 2018. All of their high-rolling victories resulted in millions of dollars won and a prominent place in poker history.
However, for true grinders hoping to make the poker dream come to life, the last 12 months that Alex Foxen has put together might be the most inspiring of them all.
From his victory in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $2,650 event in August 2017 up until his amazing repeat of the same event just a few weeks ago, Foxen’s meteoric rise as a poker superstar has been nothing short of amazing. Prior to his 2017 SHRPO victory, Foxen had built a solid reputation and posted impressive results. However, it is his tournament timeline over the past year that truly displays the poker dream manifested.
When one takes a look at Foxen’s early results it’s his very first recorded cash that jumps out at you. After turning 21 in February of 2012, New York’s Foxen traveled to New Orleans to participate in a World Series of Poker-Circuit Event. The result was a victory in the Six Max event for his first (and currently only) WSOP Circuit ring and over $22,000.
It was over three years before Foxen recorded another five-figure result. In 2015, Foxen made his way out to Las Vegas to participate in the WSOP. He cashed in three events that year, the highlight being his ninth-place finish in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed event for over $40,000.
After that Foxen began recording a number of those five-figure cashes including results on the European Poker Tour. Foxen was grinding throughout 2016. He played on both coasts of the United States, returned to the WSOP, attended the 2016 SHRPO, and played on the World Poker Tour.
In the summer of 2017, Foxen really began to heat up. During the 2017 WSOP, he cashed in 14 different bracelet events, including a third-place finish (out of 1,413 runners) in a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event for just under $100,000. His successful summer brought him some recognition and placed him in the top five of the WSOP Player of the Year race. He wasn’t able to wrestle that title away from Chris Ferguson, however, Foxen wouldn’t have to wait much longer to take the next step in his career.
In August 2017, Foxen finally broke through the six-figure cash barrier when he bested the field of 395 players to take down the $2,650 Event at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. The final table included tournament savant Faraz Jaka and regular high roller, Jason Koon. Foxen took home over $204,000 for what was, at the time, the largest tournament score of his career.
“The 2017 SHRPO was definitely a big breakthrough for me,” said Foxen. “I had some close calls fall the wrong way for me prior to that and both for my bankroll and my psyche it felt really sweet to get a win.”
From there Foxen was off, traveling the world playing poker: Barcelona, Rozvadov, Canada and the Caribbean were all on the flight manifest. His next stop would prove to his next level up.
2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond
Less than four months after Foxen earned his first six-figure score, he achieved what very few players even have the opportunity to do: win a million dollars in a tournament.
At the World Poker Tour Five Diamond in December 2017, Foxen finished runner-up to eventual winner Ryan Tosoc in the $10,400 Main Event. His prize was for more than his entire career up until that point in time, earning $1,134,000. The performance helped him get a nomination at the 4th Annual American Poker Awards for 2017 Breakout Player of the Year.
“The Five Diamond second-place finish was very bittersweet. I really wanted to win but having a score like that really changed my financial situation and allowed me a level of comfort that I think helped me play better and play bigger,” Foxen said. “I had been confident that I could play at the highest level prior to that but that score allowed me to play higher from a financial standpoint and also helped me be able to sell action more easily to high rollers.”
Foxen was seemingly off and running after the WPT Five Diamond flying to Prague for the PokerStars Championship Prague as well as the 2018 Aussie Millions.
2018 WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic
Foxen’s next major victory was another step in his evolution. In February, during the 2018 WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic, Foxen won the first High Roller tournament he ever cashed in, defeating the 50 elite runners of the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller for $424,625.
“The LAPC $25K was probably the third or fourth $25K I had played. I bubbled or nearly bubbled all of the prior $25K’s,” Foxen said.
The final table of the tournament included some of the most notable names in the game including three-time WPT champion Darren Elias, Isaac Baron, Sam Panzica, Maria Ho and regular high-roller Nick Petrangelo.
“I felt confident that I could do well in those fields, but to have a breakthrough and win that felt awesome.”
The victory in the LAPC High Roller was just the beginning of a string of results in high buy-in events with the toughest fields the game has to offer.
2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour
Less than a month after his high roller victory, Foxen was ready to visit Macau, one of the richest poker destinations in the world. During one of the largest events of the APPT, the HK$400,000 buy-in (~$50,000 USD), Foxen rose to the top yet again. This time, in order to take home the victory, he wouldn’t have to just beat elite players, he’d have to outplay some of the best players to ever play the game.
Isaac Haxton, Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Rast, Rainer Kempe, Sam Greenwood and Patrik Antonius all had a seat at the final table and made the money. It was Foxen who took home the title and $963,880. The score remains the second best of his career.
“This $50K is probably the tournament I’m most proud of. The field, and especially the final table, was really tough and to come out with an outright win was surreal,” Foxen said. “To add to things my girlfriend, Kristen Bicknell, had won the $10K high roller the day before. We both ended up winning with Ace-Six, probably the craziest thing I’ve been a part of in my poker career. The positive energy and poker insight we give each other has been a major element of my recent success.”
That positive energy between Foxen and Bicknell also helped the pair to finish one-two In June 2018 during the MSPT Venetian Deepstack Championship Poker Series. Foxen ended up taking home the win for $239,000.
On August 14, Foxen was back to where his eventful year started. He found himself, once again, at the final table of the $2,650 event of the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. A couple of things were different in 2018 as there were a few more runners and the prize pool beat the guarantee. The outcome though was the same. Foxen took it down for $208,452 accomplishing one of the most difficult achievements in poker – defending a tournament title.
“The recent SHRPO had been a frustrating series for me following a somewhat disappoints summer, so to win that one again felt extra sweet. I ran so good in all of these tournaments but this one mean extra to be to be able to win back to back,” Foxen recalled. “The long heads-up battle with Blair [Hinkle] made it feel even better.”
From title to title Foxen managed to record a cash in 23 different events for a total of over $3.7 million. Eight of his cashes resulted in six-figure (or more) scores and had him reach as high as #2 on the Global Poker Index.
“I plan on continuing to grind tournaments really hard and I’m aiming to reach #1 in the GPI rankings,” Foxen said when asked about what is next for him. “So all in all not much different than prior, just bigger tournaments and even more focus on getting better every day.”