WCOOP profile: Getting even--and then some--with Antoshka

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgWe all have a number in our head. Maybe it's the age by which we want to make a million bucks. Maybe it's the time we need to wake up. Maybe it's the number of beers we can drink

Anton "Antoshka" Smolyanskiy is a numbers guy. The above numbers probably don't factor into his day, but just about every other kind of number does. As an actuary at a large pension company, Smolyanskiy is a numbers guy. A native-Russian now living in New York, Smolyanskiy runs all sorts of numbers in his head every day.

There was one particular number that kept bouncing around inside his head: how much he was stuck for the year 2010.

Now, we're not the kind of people to walk around talking about how much players are down, but Smolyanskiy sort of offered the figure. He told us that when he won WCOOP Event #21 ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) for $280,000 that he needed to place at least sixth at the final table to break even for the year. In that event, sixth place paid $62,952.

"It was a huge relief to get there," he said. "The year had been quite bad up to then."

antonoshka.jpgA poker player since 2004, Smolyanskiy's Russian heritage didn't lend itself to learning the game when he was young. His family played a form of backgammon and other card games, but not much in the way of poker.

Once he moved to New York, Smolyanskiy had a buffet of games around him. The city is full of illegal underground rooms and as many home games as you could want. He doesn't play in either of them. He sticks to online play and the occasional live event.

And so, the numbers guy needed to clear $60,000 to get back in black for 2010. He did it by making his biggest score in his brief poker career. Although, to call it a career may be overstating it a little bit, as Smolyanskiy isn't turning in a resignation letter this week.

"One goal is to enjoy playing, rather than grinding it out," he said. "So, I'm not quitting my job quite yet."

Look for Smolyanskiy to being paying some taxes with his big winnings and then heading for EPT Vienna later this year. As for what numbers those tasks will produce...we'll leave that to Smolyanskiy.

For more: Antoshka soars to victory in Event #21.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP