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One-On-One with Poker Pro Patrik Antonius -- Part 1

Patrik Antonius Talks to Card Player About His 2009 Results

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Patrik AntoniusNo one had a better year online in 2009 than Patrik Antonius. One of the few poker players alive who is almost universally respected, revered, and even feared by his opponents, Antonius sits down with Card Player to discuss the ups and downs that come with being a high-stakes pro, what he expects for the future of the big games, and his own personal struggles away from the tables.

Antonius’ 2009 Results

“It might look like I did very well (in 2009), but I lost millions, millions, millions of dollars with other stuff last year,” said Antonius. “It looks like no matter how much you win, you never have a lot of money.”

On paper, it certainly looked like Antonius did very well in 2009. Most tracking sites report that he was up approximately $9 million for the year online, far and away the biggest earner of any pro. He racked up most of his profits in H.A. (pot-limit hold’em/Omaha), but was brilliant over the course of many games and many months.

High Stakes DB, an online poker database, estimates that Antonius won $5.8 million in pot-limit Omaha, $2.8 million in pot-limit hold’em, $1.8 million in limit Omaha eight-or-better, and more than $635,000 in limit hold’em in 2009. Antonius lost money in stud, razz, and no-limit hold’em on the year, but not nearly enough to erase his monster gains.

“It really doesn’t feel like I had a great year, for some reason,” said Antonius. “I had a lot of bad runs; I would go down millions, then I would get it back. There were some real ups and downs.”

Patrik AntoniusWhile he had an historic year at the virtual poker tables — even taking down the biggest pot in online poker history for $1.35 million — Antonius admitted that his other gambling ventures were not nearly as successful.

“I’ve had some bad investments. I’ve lost a lot of — a lot of — money last year with other people, and I lost some money in sports betting, too,” Antonius said. “I’ve been very unlucky with other people. I think I’m down in my lifetime close to $10 million for taking pieces of other people. That’s a lot of money. It’ll be hard to get it back in my lifetime.”

Antonius said he also struggled with sports betting and golf bets in 2009.

“When I bet sports, I bet at least $50,000. And I don’t think I won any bets last year,” Antonius said. “And I lost millions on the golf course, as well. I’m a big loser in golf now.”

A Tough Start to 2010

Antonius’ 2010 poker campaign has not started off nearly as smoothly. He’s reportedly down $1.8 million this year so far, and to make things worse, his temperamental back is giving him problems again.

“I’ve been struggling a lot with my physical condition … I’m in rehab now for my back. I’ve been training with this new trainer who specializes in sports injuries. I train twice a day, and I do cardio if I can,” he said. “Sometimes poker is so good, and life is great, and things are working out, and everything goes your way. (But) I’ve had a very bad last month. I’ve struggled a lot.”

If you’re finding it difficult to sympathize with a multi-millionaire poker pro, that’s understandable. Antonius knows how good he’s got it, and for every complaint he offers on the phone, he follows up with an almost apologetic “I’m having a bad day” qualifier.

In fact, he says his current downtrodden spirits are fairly typical.

Patrik Antonius“My life always goes like this. Things go bad or good. I hate these moments when everything just goes bad. When I get better, everything usually gets better, too. It’s normal. Welcome to the poker world.”

After all, Antonius has had it much worse. The high-stakes pro grew up in a poor family, working hard in school and tennis to try to give himself a better life. But after a back injury cut short his tennis career, he turned his intense focus and work ethic toward poker. What followed was one of the biggest rags-to-riches stories the poker world has ever seen.

Since signing with Full Tilt Poker two years ago, Antonius has become one of the most recognizable and respected players in the game. He has dominated cash games — both live and online — for the better part of the last few years.

But even with his massive success, Antonius shows that even the best have their share of slumps. He admits he still has troubles dealing with downswings to this day.

“It depends on a lot of things. If I have personal things going on in my life, then the downswings can affect me. And it depends how it happens,” said Antonius. “When I lose in very good games when I couldn’t have really done anything differently, then it doesn’t really bother me. But if I lose in a game where I really shouldn’t have lost, then it bothers me.”

Read Part 2 of the Antonius feature, wherein the Finnish pro gives his take on Isildur1, datamining, and what he expects for the future of the high-stakes cash games.

 
 
 
 

Comments

dare2
over 11 years ago

On a related note. When the government finally gets a toe hold in the online poker world they will shine a light in every nook and cranny searching for tax revenue. Mr. Antonius is smart enough to realize this which is why he claims massive unsubstantiated losses to offset his very public wins. As anyone who has ever dealt with the I.R.S. knows you are guilty until proven innocent. Poker players, be VERY afraid.

 
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Staphylococcus
over 11 years ago

Matasow's book, Doyle's blog, and countless others have the same story of, "I won X million this year but I lost a lot on sports betting." Hey smartest, best poker players in the world, STOP BETTING ON SPORTS! Gheesh.

 
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brunell0407
over 11 years ago

hey, losing 9 million backing people yet still being filthy rich, much smarter than you will ever be, BMHATER. ; )

 
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Truck Yaeger
over 11 years ago

when will people realise poker is not gambling, but most poker players are gamblers. All old school players like tj, new players like ivey and antonius, deceased players like unger were/are all gamblers and everyone knows gamblers never win over the long run.
Whatever is said about these new-age online ultra aggressive young players, one thing is true. Mostly they are winners, they never gamble and because of this, poker will become more recognised as a sport, not a form of gambling.
I know a lot of people that play poker at casinos but never ever play blackjack, craps, etc.
Any good poker player should know not to play that stuff. Common sense!

 
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clunker
over 11 years ago

Mr. Antonius is a Finnish citizen playing on an international site what US taxes would he pay dare. Only US citizens will have to pay taxes if the goverment ever legalizes online poker. The taxes would be a small price to pay if some of the crookedness was done away with.

 
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clunker
over 11 years ago

Mr. Antonius is a Finnish citizen playing on an international site exactly what US taxes would he have to pay.

 
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chressy
over 11 years ago

so let me get this straight.........Mr. A...a USA poker playing FIN has to pay taxes on MASSIVE losses of profits due to sports and/or golf betting that will be OFFSET by the IRS just b/c the guilty innocents went public. I GOT IT NOW!!!!!

 
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ueberstimuliert
over 11 years ago

just for info, he resides in monaco.

 
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clunker
over 11 years ago

Not into following that closely where these guys live the point is Antonius is not and American citizen,he is not making his money in the US[unless he plays a land based tourney in US WSOP then he pays taxes on that] so he is not subject to US taxes on his online wins. chreesy let me get this st8 what r u talking about.

 
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thedfunk
over 11 years ago

If Antonius logs on to a computer in the United States (Vegas or anywhere else he might stay), he most certainly would have to pay taxes on any money he made. If the money is earned on US soil, he has to pay taxes. Whether he does or doesn't is his business.

 
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