Freddy Anderson hopes to take a virtual jackpot he won Monday and turn it into a real jackpot later this week.
The Haines resident won an Internet Texas Hold 'em poker tournament and will fly to Los Angles today to compete against five other Web players in a nationally televised game at the Hollywood Park Casino.
The winner of this season's fifth "UltimateBet Poker Challenge" will take home $10,000 and advance to the final round for a chance to win $200,000 in April. The game and television show, in its third season, will take place Saturday and will air in Alaska at 2 p.m. Sunday on Fox Sports NorthWest.
Anderson, 37, who goes by the handle "alaskansnoman," said he plans to bring an Alaska-sized spirit to the poker table and national stage.
"I'll be wearing my Carhartt's, my Xtratufs and my Green Bay Packers hat too," he said.
Anderson said he plans to bring some photos of Haines for the show's introduction and may even make a few quips about Alaska - possibly advocating against farmed salmon.
Texas Hold 'em is a variety of poker in which each player is dealt two cards and shares five community cards. Players try to make the best hand out of any five of their seven cards available. There are several rounds of betting during each hand.
Anderson said his big break in the Internet tournament came late in the match when he was dealt a pair of twos and one of his opponents wagered all of his chips with an ace and a king. Anderson said he called the other player and got a two on the "flop" - when the first three communal cards are flipped at the same time - giving him three of a kind.
"I didn't even pay attention to what the rest of the cards were because I knew I had him," he said.
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Anderson said winning the Internet tournament still seems like a dream.
"Just the whole trip down to L.A. and being on TV, it's still not real yet," he said. "It's just one of those things where I played to try to make it, but I didn't think I would actually make it."
Anderson said his longtime friend, Fred Weiler, got him playing Internet poker at www.ultimatebet.net as a cheap and fun way to communicate. A feature on the Web site allows Anderson to play from his home near mile 32 in Haines and chat with Weiler via the Internet while he's playing at his home in Juneau.
"When either one of us is online playing cards we can see that, so we can just chat back and forth when we're in the middle of a game," Weiler said.
Anderson said he has only really been playing Texas Hold 'em for about a year, mainly on the Internet. He said he also has played a couple of times in no-money tournaments at the Fogcutter Bar in Haines or in small-stakes home games.
"We get together every now and then, me and a couple of buddies, throw down some beer and play to have some fun," Anderson said.
Weiler said Anderson's savvy math skills are part of what make him a quality poker player.
"He's a pretty smart player ... . He's really caught on to the game in a short amount of time," Weiler said.
It wasn't a big surprise that Anderson beat out thousands of other players for a seat on the national stage, Weiler said. He said he isn't jealous of his friend's fortune either.
"I was stoked. I was way excited for him," Weiler said. "The whole thing is pretty surreal. Just thinking that I'm going to be watching him on TV on Sunday is a trip."