About Bill Chen
If the results of Bill Chen's performance at the 2006 World Series of Poker are any indication, poker is a numbers game.
Try these figures on for size: two gold bracelets, $900,000 in tournament winnings, one poker room sponsorship and one published book, The Mathematics of Poker.
Chen - that's Dr. Chen, actually - has a Ph.D. in math which he's put to use as a software designer, quantitative analyst and (here's where poker comes in) game theorist.
Even so, after winning his second bracelet at the 2006 series, Chen had one explanation for his sudden success.
"Mostly, a lot of luck," he told PokerListings.com.
He doesn't really mean that. When push comes to shove, Chen is a math guy to the core, and quick to dispute any player's assertion that the system makes for boring poker. As a researcher of the game, Chen formed his own opinions about what it takes to dominate on the felt.
"In the tournaments that I've played in, it's been luck at the right times, you know, pocket jacks against ace-king, that sort of thing," he said.
"But I think that it shows that following the mathematical concepts that we have, balancing our play, calling with the right frequencies, and so forth, trying to figure out what your opponent's range of hands is, actually does work, somewhat."
Despite his success, Chen has not turned professional. He still works in the statistical arbitrage department at Susquehanna International Group, where he is allotted six weeks per year to compete in the World Series of Poker.
Chen's first WSOP cash came in 2000 when he placed 11th in the $1,500 Ace-to-Five Lowball.
For the next five years he played frequently - mostly $50 and $100 live tournaments - but it wasn't until the 2006 World Series that Chen earned a reputation as a serious rounder for cashing in eight events.
Two of those cashes were first place wins, giving Chen two bracelets and throwing weight behind his mathematical approach. First he took down the $3,000 Limit Hold'em event for $343,618 and then went on to claim the $2,500 Short-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event for $442,511.
Chen wrapped up his 2006 WSOP performance by final tabling at the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, where he went out in second and went home as one of poker's players to watch.
Prior to his big wins, though, Chen was a Ph.D. candidate in math at the University of California - Berkeley. The career student discovered poker in 1993, when he started to subsidize his education with poker winnings from the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville, Calif.
By the time he graduated in 1999, Chen was armed with an interest in game theory, his Ph.D. and a job with financial trading company SIG, known for its poker culture.
The company is so poker-friendly, in fact, it lets Chen take time off to compete at the World Series of Poker and other tournaments each year. At these events, the good doctor plays for Team PokerStars.
In addition to expounding the mathematical theories of various poker games, Chen also practices yoga in his spare time at his home in Lafayette Hill, Pa. He is also known for frequenting the forums, notably the rec.gambling.poker news group, and attending the Big August Rec.Gambling Excursion in Las Vegas.
- Has a Ph.D. in mathematics
- Released a new poker book in the fall of 2006 titled The Mathematics of Poker
- Won his first two WSOP bracelets at the 2006 WSOP
Bill Chen recent tournament placings
|23||$3,399||WSOP 2015, Event 48 - $1,500 Seven Card Stud|
|6||$57,706||WSOP 2014, Event 52 - $10,000 Limit Hold'em|
|34||$3,995||WSOP 2014, Event 50 - $1,500 8-Game Mix|
|4||$38,735||WSOP 2014, Event 41 - $1,500 Dealer's Choice|
|7||$65,273||WSOP 2014, Event 22 - $10,000 HORSE|
|23||$4,082||WSOP 2014, Event 16 - $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw|
|15||$4,447||WSOP 2014, Event 7 - $1,500 Razz|
|112||$3,841||WSOP 2013, Event 60 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em|
|25||$3,889||WSOP 2013, Event 23 - $2,500 Stud|
|63||$4,366||WSOP 2013, Event 20 - $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low|
|7||$205,856||WSOP 2012, Event 45 - $50,000 Players Championship|
|14||$32,057||WSOP 2011, Event 33 - $10,000 Stud Hi-Lo Championship|
|4||$100,200||WSOP 2011, Event 12 - $1,500 Triple Chance|
|169||$2,954||WSOP 2011, Event 10 - $1,500 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em|
|18||$7,585||WSOP 2010, Event 48 - $2,500 Mixed Game|
|2||$203,802||WSOP 2010, Event 37 - $3,000 HORSE|
|81||$10,446||2010 Special, NAPT Venetian Las Vegas Main Event|
|42||$17,271||2009 WSOP, Event 56 - $5,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em|
|35||$4,871||2009 WSOP, Event 26 - $1,500 Limit Hold'em|
|70||$4,062||2009 WSOP, Event 9 - $1,500 Sih-Handed No-Limit Hold'em|
|24||$5,474||2008 WSOP, Event 40, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit)|
|19||$15,594||2008 WSOP, Event 31, No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed|
|36||$3,238||2007 Special, APPT Macau Main Event|
|32||$6,634||2007 WSOP, Event 53, Limit Hold'em Shootout|
|28||$5,345||2007 WSOP, Event 42, Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better|
|75||$6,757||2007 WSOP, Event 21, No-Limit Hold'em Shootout|
|36||$3,612||2007 WSOP, Event 14, Seven Card Stud|
|1||$442,511||2006 WSOP, Event 21, No-Limit Hold'em- Short handed 6/table|
|19||$12,295||2006 WSOP, Event 16, Pot-Limit Omaha|
|1||$343,618||2006 WSOP, Event 7 Limit Hold'em|
|64||$4,738||2006 WSOP, Event 5, No-limit Hold'em Short Handed, 6/table|
|61||$7,578||2006 WSOP, Event 2, No-Limit Hold'em|
|35||$3,305||2005 WSOP, Event 21, $2,500 Omaha High-Low Split|
|25||$4,970||2005 WSOP, Event 11, $2,000 Pot-limit Hold'em|