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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. Early Results 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. 2017 SHRPO 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. 2018 SHRPO 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."
Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. The most high-profile moves in the rankings belong to two very notable players, Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer and Alex 'SploogeLuge' Foxen, but the biggest move within the top 100 was that of Arturs 'ARTSchGamble' Scerbaks. Steve 'MrTimCaum' O’Dwyer (#7) Climbs in Top 10 Whether it’s live or online, Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer has been on top form as of late, and his rise three spots within the top 10 are evidence of his recent success, as O'Dwyer went from being #10 to #7. O'Dwyer closed out November with a $31,450 win on partypoker in the High Roller Club: $1,050 Super Tuesday, $150K Gtd for 394.97 points and earned a third-place finish for $18,758 and 220.07 points in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $530 Sunday 500, $100K Gtd, among other decent results. O'Dwyer has carried that momentum into December with a handful of deep runs in high roller events around the online world, including two seventh-place finishes. The first came on PokerStars when O'Dwyer took seventh in the High Roller Club: $1,050 Sunday Supersonic [6-Max, Hyper-Turbo], $150K Gtd for $9,111 and 161.43 points. He then took seventh in the partypoker Sunday Super High Roller: $200K Gtd for $11,700 and 168.27 points. Moving to #7 in the rankings is an all-time high for O'Dwyer, who is currently the #1-ranked player in Ireland. Alex 'SploogeLuge' Foxen (#23) Up Nine Spots Despite all of the live tournament poker going on in the world, Alex 'SploogeLuge' Foxen has put in a ton of volume in the online realm and his rise of nine spots to #23 is the result. Foxen recently won the PokerStars $1,050 High Roller Club Sunday Supersonic for $43,057 and 468.43 points as November came to a close. Since that score, Foxen has earned three more five-figure results. The most recent of the three came to kick off December for Foxen, when he won the PokerStars High Roller Club: $1,050 Daily Warm-Up [8-Max], $100K Gtd for $25,578 and 333.17 points. Foxen's new position at #23 in the world is an all-time high. Arturs 'ARTSchGamble' Scerbaks (#42) with Big Leap Arturs 'ARTSchGamble' Scerbaks has the biggest jump as of late, climbing 48 spots to #42 on the rankings. Thats a new all-time high for Scerbaks, who is currently ranked the #1 player in Germany. Whereas some of the more notable names on the rankings, such as O’Dwyer and Foxen, may get sucked away from online play with all of the live poker going on at the moment, Scerbaks is grinding hard. He’s already landed 55 cashes in December, including a third-place result on December 9 worth $20,957 and 231.34 points from the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter: $200K Gtd [Mix-Max]. Scerbaks also won the PokerStars $109 Sunday Starter, $25K Gtd for $5,627 and 172.05 points on the same day, topping a field of 296 entries in that one. 'Kot_spartac' (#29) Also Earns All-Time High The theme of this Movers & Shakers is obvious, isn't it? The players already talked about are at new all-time highs on the rankings, and 'Kot_spartac' can join them in the feat. The current #3-ranked player in Russia is at #29 overall and that’s the highest he’s ever been. Just about halfway through December, 'Kot_spartac' has had himself quite the month, with four victories and four five-figure paydays. On December 2, 'Kot_spartac' won the PokerStars Hotter $215, $75K Gtd for $18,402 and 322.49 points. On December 6, he took down the PokerStars High Roller Club: $1,050 Thursday Thrill [Progressive KO], $200K Gtd for $22,378 and 333.17 points. That same day, he also won the partypoker High Roller Bounty Hunter: $50K Gtd for $15,687 and 270.72 points. A few days later, on December 9, ‘Kot_spartac’ finished second in the partypoker Sunday Bounty Hunter: $100K Gtd for $12,273 and 228.44 points. 'Inhoo' (#37) Rises 18 Spots, Earns $10M Badge A former #2-ranked player in the world, Sweden’s Robin 'Inhoo' Ylitalo is currently ranked #7 in his country and has moved up 18 spots to his current worldwide spot of #37. For Ylitalo, it’s been all about volume in the first two weeks of December, as he’s piled up 85 cashes already this month. His biggest score came from a second-place finish in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $1,050 Wednesday HR [8-Max], $100K Gtd on December 5 for $18,451 and 208.63 points. The biggest story for Ylitalo isn’t that he climbed 18 spots to #37, but rather that his recent success has pushed him over the $10 million mark in online tournament winnings and awarded him as the 15th player to achieve the PocketFives $10 Million Badge.
Alex 'SploogeLuge' Foxen stormed onto the poker scene in 2017 with a year that saw him win more than $1.7 million on the live felt. His 2018 turned out even bigger, as Foxen earned nearly $4.5 million ahead of the December Super High Roller Bowl. A large portion of those winnings came in the later stages of the year, and with the way Foxen is performing right now, the Super High Roller Bowl could end up being quite the icing on the cake to cap off an incredible 365 days. "It feels really good," Foxen said of all the success he's enjoyed in 2018. "I've definitely worked really hard in the last few years and seeing it pay off feels really good. I'm just trying to keep getting better." Like in any area of life, confidence can translate to success, and that’s often something you see at poker tables around the world. At times, success in poker is simply a result of everything coming together. Other times, it's an adjustment or two that one makes to his or her strategy. For Foxen, it's about understanding there's always room to improve and a nonstop willingness to put in the work to do so. "I think just the constant attention to the fact that you're making mistakes every day," Foxen said when asked if there's anything differently he's doing lately in regards to his game. "I think that's one of the things that gives me room to improve. I'm just constantly looking for things that I'm doing wrong, whereas I feel like some people may become complacent in thinking that they're playing spots well or they will take a profitable line when it may not be the most profitable. I'm just focusing on trying to play as well as I possibly can everyday and fix mistakes that I made the day before." One thing Foxen is certainly doing differently this year is competing in the mammoth buy-in Super High Roller Bowl that comes with a $300,000 cost of entry. "It's really cool," Foxen said of competing in the Super High Roller Bowl. "It's a really cool experience to be here. It’s a lot of the people I play with all of the time, so as far as the player pool is concerned, it's not really anything new to me at all. I’ve been playing a lot with these people in the last year or so. It's nothing too new in that regard, but as far as the attention of the event and all of that, it’s really cool." Whether or not his Super High Roller Bowl experience turns into another big payday for the football player turned poker player, Foxen closed out 2018 in impressive fashion. He was recently featured on PocketFives in the 'Movers & Shakers' piece thanks to rising to a new all-time high in the online poker rankings. As November came to a close, Foxen won the PokerStars $1,050 High Roller Club Sunday Supersonic for $43,057, among several other big scores, and he carried that momentum over into December when he won big at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas. In Vegas at Bellagio, Foxen won a $5,000 no-limit hold'em tournament for $246,768 after topping a field of 159 entries. The series had a second $5,000 event and Foxen took fourth in that one from a field of 121 entries for $49,882. As if that's not enough, Foxen took third in one of the festival's $25,000 high roller tournaments for $175,000. Of course, all of this came one year after he placed second in the WPT Five Diamond Main Event for a career-best $1.134 million. Whether or not his play in the Super High Roller Bowl results in another impressive score for Foxen is left unsaid. What we do know is that he's proven he wasn't just a one-hit wonder and is here to stay, especially if he continues to put up big result after big result in what can only be described as dominating fashion. "I don't really have any, as far as poker's concerned, specific goals in mind," Foxen said when asked about his greater career aspirations. "Being the best is always the goal. That's just a constant attempt that you'll really never make it to, so there's always something new to strive for." The Super High Roller Bowl Smith is being aired on the online subscription-based PokerGO, and you can get $10 off an annual subscription through using the code "Pocket5s" when signing up. *Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
On Saturday, Alex Foxen tweeted that he was looking to make some bracelet bets for the 2019 World Series of Poker. Sifting through the responses, it appears he found a few takers. One of the first players to pop into Foxen’s mentions was recent WPT L.A. Poker Classic winner David 'ODB' Baker, who offered $20,000 per bracelet against Foxen. After a little bit of back and forth between the two, they settled on the original offer from Baker at $20,000 per bracelet. Baker then tweeted that his "shop is open for business" and took in a few "friendly" offers of his own. He booked $2,000 per bracelet with both Brandon Shack-Harris and Brian Hastings. Back to Foxen, Adrian Mateos was one of the players to join in the fun. He asked Foxen if he’d bet on mutual no-limit hold’em events played and it appears Foxen accepted. If they were accepted, the two likely worked out the details out of public view. Rainer Kempe was next in line and offered a similar bet to what Mateos did, for mutual no-limit hold’em events played. If we’re understanding the details correctly, Kempe and Foxen are on for the first bullet of every no-limit hold’em event they both play this summer. A min-cash wins $1,000 from the other person, an official final table appearance wins $5,000, and a bracelet wins $25,000. Dominik Nitsche chimed in at the end and said he’d like the same bet, but there was no visible confirmation from Foxen. Foxen did like the tweet, though. Foxen has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet, but he's still relatively new to the poker scene. He had some notable live tournament results in 2015 and 2016, but his 2017 is really what put him on the map. That year, Foxen won more than $1.7 million on the felt after having won just over $500,000 in the five years prior combined. In 2018, Foxen had an even bigger year with more than $6.6 million won. In 2019, he’s already won more than $3 million entering the 2019 WSOP. Foxen had just four cashes at the 2018 WSOP, but one of those was a final table to kick off the summer. At the 2017 WSOP, Foxen cashed 14 times and then added two more cashes at WSOP Europe. Among those cashes in 2017 were two final tables and three other top-15 finishes.