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Ben Tollerene Talks About Losing $1.7 Million In Single Session To Viktor Blom

Poker Pro: 'I Am Very Proud Of Myself For How I Handled That Loss'

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Earlier this month, Ben “Bttech86” Tollerene clicked down at the virtual felt on Full Tilt Poker with Viktor “Isildur1” Blom for a session of $500-$1,000 capped pot-limit Omaha, and when the night was over Tollerene had dropped a staggering $1.7 million.

However, according to Tollerene, these recent nosebleed sessions — and the huge loss — have helped him “reach another level of mental stamina and emotional control.” There was no tilting from the Texas native, only determination and a nearly unwavering calmness.

“I was playing very well the night I lost $1.7 million,” Tollerene said. “I had a few moments of intense stress but they faded quickly, and I continued to execute and play my best.”

Despite playing his A-game, the cards just weren’t falling Tollerene’s way. He eventually decided to call it quits after busting his account and electing not to get a transfer from a friend. He said he preferred to just replenish fully after a night of rest. Playing Blom requires a large bankroll.

Tollerene, and all other poker pros, are playing a game of skill, but oftentimes variance shows its ugly face. Tollerene has developed a mindset to cope with such a career.

“My self-worth as a poker player is not dictated by how much money I win or lose because that is often out of my control,” the 26-year-old said. “I put, to the best of my ability, all of the emphasis on the things that are within my control: my strategy, execution, mental control, and so on. Because I was content with my performance, I was able to come back the next day and execute my strategy again and succeed.”

According to HighstakesDB, Tollerene won nearly all of the $1.7 million back within the next 24 hours — again playing Blom at the highest pot-limit Omaha stakes on the web.

“I did my daily routine; I worked out, had dinner with Phil [Galfond], studied my game plan, and so on,” Tollerene said. “I am very proud of myself for how I handled that loss.”

Tollerene added that “it’s been a slow build-up to reach [a] point” where he could deflect a horrific downswing by maintaining composure and normalcy in his life. He has pride in being able to prove to himself that he can “handle the worst case scenario and stay in control.” He said he knows that there will always be bad days in the life of a poker pro.

He logs on from Vancouver these days because of the restrictions in U.S. cyberspace, a move indicative of his passion for the game. Tollerene has always been a super hard worker in poker, putting in many hours of trial and error and analysis while locked in a room by himself at school. However, it wasn’t his expertise in poker theory that was on display earlier this month when he lost $1.7 million and then quickly recovered, but his arrival at a new stage in mental fortitude, one that makes him an even greater forced to be reckoned with online, as well as in person.

 
 
 
 

Comments

swallsjr
over 5 years ago

He eventually decided to call it quits after busting his account and electing not to get a transfer from a friend.

I wonder if he would have had this mental resolve had he had another 1.7 million left in his account ?

 
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itsnotgotitsme
over 5 years ago

" I was able to come back the next day and execute my strategy again and succeed.” - Although he could just as easily have lost another $1m.

In truth though, even after the $1.7m loss Ben was still running extremely hot for the year anyway so that obviously makes it a lot easier to handle a large loss. At the stakes he's playing and playing extremely tough opponents he is going to have downswings far greater than $1.7m though and he's been lucky that for the last couple of years he's been very much on the positive side of variance. Will be interesting to see how he copes with a really bad run.

 
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