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Andrew Badecker Keeps Poker Career Afloat with WSOP Win
Like so many American online poker players, Andrew Badecker’s livelihood was cut off when the US government restricted the access of its citizens to the three biggest online poker sites.
Fortunately Badecker had a plan: Move to Las Vegas and win a World Series of Poker bracelet.
Winning the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout and earning over $369,000, Badecker’s plan seems to be going off without a hitch.
Originally from Vernon, Connecticut Badecker got his start in the game while attending East Catholic High School in nearby Manchester.
Starting like so many others playing low-stakes games with friends, Badecker quickly realized he had a knack for the game.
“We used to play $5 home games and I remember winning four times in a week and making like $100 and thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I’m kind of good at this,’” Badecker reminisced to PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.
That was in 2004, a few years before Badecker made the leap to playing poker for a living. He credits the development of his game in the intervening years to discussing hands with friends and online training sites.
“I was always passionate about poker and obviously I wasn’t good at first but I knew it was possible to be a professional poker player,” he said.
In 2007 Badecker was 19 years old and won a $25 poker tournament online for $7,000. That was all the push he needed to quit his job, drop out of college and tackle playing poker professionally.
“I was really under-rolled,” he told us. “Do not try to be a pro with $7,000.”
Luckily for Badecker he ran good enough to turn that roll into something with which he could make a living. Everything was going according to plan, until Black Friday.
On April 15, 2011 the US government restricted the three biggest online poker sites' ability to cater to American players, effectively leaving Badecker jobless.
“Black Friday was pretty devastating news,” said Badecker.
Luckily the bad news came just weeks before the beginning of the World Series of Poker.
Badecker seized the opportunity and moved to Las Vegas, although the length of his stay depended wholly on his success in the three WSOP events he planned to play.
Badecker told us he had 60% of his own action in this event, meaning he pocketed approximately $220,000. Badecker plans to use this money to increase his WSOP schedule, and hit a few stops on the European Poker Tour in the months after the Series.
Badecker apparently has the skills to succeed playing live poker, but that doesn’t mean he’s not looking forward to the day he can once again play poker on the internet.
“I have faith that the concept of online poker shouldn’t be illegal,” he said.
“I mean, we’re playing poker right here,” he said with a sweeping gesture across a room filled with thousands of WSOP players.