Posts Tagged ‘High Stakes Poker’

Gus Hansen Playing Online Poker Again – Lost Over $20.7m

Monday, August 29th, 2016

gus-hansen-pokerGus Hansen is legendary for his online poker losses, having dropped over $20.7 million in online cash games. That said, it’s understandable why he’s spent the past 19 months away from the virtual felt.

But Hansen was recently spotted playing online poker again for the first time in over a year and a half.

The Great Dane was seen on PokerStars playing under his name “broks!”

Hansen was playing in $200-$400 limit Triple Draw and limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8s or better games. The good news is that he made a five-figure profit during this session and avoided adding to his historic loss total.

Before this online session, Hansen was seen playing on the live tables in Las Vegas. He was grinding in a $1,500-$3,000 mixed game with famed pros like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey in the Bellagio.

Earlier this year, Hansen appeared on Good Morning Denmark to discuss what’s going on in his life. He said that the biggest changes in his life include moving back to Denmark and quitting his high stakes poker career.

Obviously this has changed, though, because he’s played high stakes games in both live and online settings this year.

As for Hansen’s poker career as a whole, he rose to prominence by winning three WPT titles in less than a year’s time. He was the first player ever to win three WPT titles, let alone doing it in the same year.

With over $10.25 million in live tournament winnings, Hansen is one of the best tourney players in poker history. This is particularly impressive since Hansen hasn’t played in many live tournament in the past few years.

Hansen has made millions through online poker sponsorships and business deals in his career. Much of this money was probably lost in internet poker games, but he continues to find a bankroll as evidenced by his latest online session.

Gus Hansen moving to Denmark, quitting High Stakes Poker

Monday, April 25th, 2016

gus-hansen-pokerGus Hansen recently made an appearance on Good Morning Denmark as part of a clothing drive for the Red Cross. And he made some big revelations on the talk show, including that he’s giving up high stakes poker and wants to move to Denmark “for good” to raise a family.

In the segment seen here (subscription required), Hansen’s appearance is advertised as “Millions of dollars, insane bets and wild lifestyle, now poker star Gus Hansen home to quiet Denmark [to] raise a family.”

During the show, the Great Dane donated an old Full Tilt Poker shirt to represent the possibility that he won’t be playing much poker anymore. He also discussed how he’s thinking of moving from Monaco, where he’s lived for much of his poker career, back home to Denmark.

Hansen became one of the most-iconic players during the poker boom as he appeared on shows like Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. Unfortunately, he started taking heavy losses in online poker and putting a dent in the net worth that he built through sponsorships and poker business deals. We took a look at his losses in 2013, which totaled $13.6 million at the time.

They dipped even lower the next couple of years, bottoming out at $20.74 million according to HighStakesDB. This easily makes Hansen the biggest confirmed online poker loser in history.

The good news, though, is that he didn’t burn through his entire savings and appears to be doing well still. Given how bad his online poker career has gone, most players will be happy that he’s given up the delusion of beating the world’s best. Chances are that he won’t completely quit the game, but considering how tough poker nosebleeds are these days, even Hansen probably wouldn’t venture back into this territory.

Patrik Antonius not Big on Poker Tracking Software

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

patrik-antonius-pokerUndoubtedly one of the biggest poker stars of all time is Patrik Antonius, who was a regular on TV shows and dominated online poker for over a decade. But lately, Antonius has largely been absent from the poker scene both online and live. So what’s the Finn been up to recently and why isn’t he playing much high stakes poker?

To answer the latter question, it seems that the biggest live games have dried out in most parts of the world. Specifically, the huge games are gone in London, Monaco and Vegas. As for internet poker, Antonius isn’t a fan of poker tracking software, notably the kind that essentially makes decisions for players in certain spots. He still plays mixed games online but believes that advanced tracking software will eventually be developed for these games too. Below you can see a lengthier look at Antonius’ recent poker comments, thanks to a PokerListings interview.

PokerListings: Why have you played so little poker lately?

Patrik Antonius: The big games I was playing in kind of dried out. In Macau the games moved more and more into private games and the game in Vegas wasn’t the same anymore, either.

Suddenly there was no more game in London and nothing in Monaco. You know, things just change in our industry. So I stepped back and cut down on poker.

Sometimes I didn’t play a single hand for months but I probably would have had there been a proper game. Then again I got to spend more time with my family and on my health and I succeeded in getting in better shape.

I used to have a lot of problems with my back, my shoulder and my hips but now I feel great. And it’s great to be back playing poker again.

PL: What happened to your online poker? We really miss the times when you and Tom Dwan were sitting there throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars around.

PA: You know, it’s a little sad, but it looks like the technology has advanced so much that it’s become a totally different game.
Nowadays players use software that gives them so much information and so much data that it has become more of a game of numbers.

I never used any of these programs. I‘ve never used technology to get an edge. I’m more of a feel player who’s living in the moment.
But the players today know what they’re doing. They are basing their play on what the software tells them to do so it feels like you’re playing against a computer these days.

If you don’t use poker software it’s not a fair game anymore. But I still like to play Mixed Games.

PL: There’s no tracking software for these games.

PA: Well, I’m sure some smart people are already working on it and that there will be programs for Stud poker or heads-up 2-7 Triple Draw.
As much as I know Limit Hold’em is now basically solved. (ed. note: well, pretty much) I actually had to quit Hold’em and PLO online.

I lost about a million straight and then I realized that I couldn’t beat the ring-games anymore and that was largely due to tracking software.

I would take my chances against any high-stakes player live but online I don’t like my chances anymore, unfortunately.

Poker’s Guy Laliberté may be selling Majority Stake in Cirque du Soleil

Monday, March 30th, 2015

guy-laliberte-selling-cirqueHigh stakes poker player and famed Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberté has built his company from the ground up into a multi-billion dollar entity over the past 30 years. But now, it seems that Laliberté is interested in cashing out and selling a large portion of Cirque du Soleil.

The Canadian billionaire owns 90 percent of the company and was initially looking for somebody to purchase a minority stake. However, reports that he’s now interested in selling the bulk of his 90 percent controlling interest.

Laliberté intiially attracted a number of potential investors, but many of them have been scared off after examining the company’s “deteriorating financial condition.” Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is one investor that’s stuck around, however, they only want a 10 percent stake at most and would like to join a winning bid. Caisse’s concern is that the company’s shows are struggling and they need a large amount of capital to spark a turnaround.

Goldman Sachs, which is running the auction, has valued Cirque du Soleil at $2 billion. However, it’s a wonder if the sale price will come anywhere near the valuation when considering the shaky financial status of the company. Investors have been given one week to come up with an offer for Laliberté.

Assuming Laliberté does fetch a decent price for his company, it’ll be interesting to see if he returns to the online poker tables again. The Montreal native is considered the biggest online poker loser in history with $25 million in losses, which is even more than Gus Hansen!

Laliberté left poker with a bad taste in his mouth, not only because of the losses, but also because he believes that he was cheated by high stakes pros. As I discussed before, Laliberté says that certain players were using endless funds given by FTP, and they would inflate pots by betting big. Given that Laliberté was already at a disadvantage, players pumping up the pots would cause him to lose more.

In any case, this was years ago, and Laliberté is still very much involved in poker, having spearheaded the $1 million WSOP Big One for ONE Drop. So regardless of whether he plays online again, he will at least be playing some live tournaments and helping drive the WSOP Big One.

Dan Bilzerian rattled by Bomb Arrest

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

dani-bilzerian-partyingNot long ago, poker player Dan Bilzerian was arrested at LAX on bomb charges. The arrest was made on an out-of-state warrant from Nevada after he was accused of having bomb-making materials.

At first glance, it seems like this is just another day in the crazy life of Bilzerian. But according to People Magazine, the “King of Instagram” might be a little more rattled over the matter than meets the eye. As claimed by an unnamed friend, Bilzerian is “distressed” over the charges. The buddy added, “This is so out of character for him. He just wants to put it behind him.”

The explosives case isn’t the only legal matter that Bilzerian is dealing with. He’s also facing assault charges for kicking a woman in the face at Miami’s Liv nightclub. Gossip sites have been distributing a murky clip that shows a muscular man kicking a woman in the face. However, Bilzerian has already hired a lawyer and claims to be innocent in the matter.

Bilzerian told People, “Trashy gossip websites that don’t fact check. The allegations being made about me are absolutely false. I look forward to shedding light on what happened through proper channels.”

The unnamed friend also spoke on this matter, claiming that Bilzerian doesn’t believe in violence against women. “He has never condoned any sort of violence towards women,” the friend said. “That’s just not what he’s about. Sure, he has sexual relationships with women, but he is all about respecting women. The entire thing seems very, very suspect. I think that because of Dan’s public lifestyle, he’s a target for this type of thing.”

With over 5 million followers on both Facebook and Twitter, Bilzerian is one of the biggest social-media celebrities in the world. He’s also gained considerable fame for allegedly making $50 million in high stakes poker. But lately, all he’s been making waves for is his legal trouble.

China’s Poker Princess Guo Meimei busted

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

By now, many people have heard about the wild story of Molly Bloom (a.k.a. the Poker Princess), who organized high stakes poker games in Los Angeles and New York. Some of those who attended Bloom’s games include Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Alex Rodriguez and Tobey Maguire. You can read all about the story in her new book, Molly’s Game.

Interestingly enough, though, Bloom isn’t the world’s only Poker Princess. Guo Meimei has carved out a big name for herself in China by hosting an exclusive, private poker game for the Chinese elite. She’s also quite popular through social media, having amassed over 2 million followers on Sina Weibo – the Twitter of the Far East. So essentially, she’s Molly Bloom and Dan Bilzerian rolled into one.

But there’s one part to Meimei’s story that’s not so much like the other two. She also worked as a high-end escort, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars through this side activity. However, as the Sydney Morning Herald story below explains, she has standards and never slept with anybody for less than $17,000.

The 23-year-old earned far more from her illegal poker operation, though, once posting of picture of her 10-figure bank account online. She also flaunted her extravagant purchases such as luxury cars, designer clothes and lavish vacations. Meimei was so open about her wealth and success that many followers started to resent her.

Some of these people might be happy to now know that Meimei was recently arrested for her illegal online gambling operation. She confessed to her crimes and now faces several charges stemming from the matter.

As for the poker games, she claims to have started running them after meeting a famous high stakes player. Could it be Phil Ivey? Tom Dwan? Perhaps the details will come out slowly just like with Bloom’s story.

Debate over whether Full Tilt Players cheated Guy Laliberte

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Earlier this week, Cirque du Soleil owner and high stakes poker player Guy Laliberte told Le Journal De Montreal that he was essentially cheated at Full Tilt Poker.

Although the French-to-English translation is a little choppy, Laliberte alleges that famous pros were borrowing an endless supply of money from Full Tilt. Combining this unlimited bankroll with their skill edge, the unnamed online poker players (reportedly Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Gus Hansen, David Benyamine and others) were able to beat Laliberte out of an estimated $26 million. Here’s a translated look at what Guy told the Journal:

“I should have remembered that I am a dinosaur compared to this [internet].”

“The story of Full Tilt is clear: I got scammed, squarely, by people I knew personally who used unfillted bank, paying no money.

“By dint of” All in “all the time, when it’s not your own money, and they printed money to play against me, and they put two, three …; I was stupid. “

A TwoPlusTwo thread quickly opened up on the matter and it already contains a sizable number of posts. First off, nobody knows exactly what to make of Laliberte’s statements because A) they are a little vague, and B) most 2p2 users speak English and are only getting the google-translated version. But the general debate here revolves around whether or not playing with an unlimited bankroll is considered cheating, at least when the whale in question doesn’t know about it.

Another point of contention is whether certain FTP players were equity chopping behind Laliberte’s back. Assuming he didn’t truly know about this, then one could definitely make a case that secret equity chops would be cheating. Here’s a good point from “iosys” on page 2 of the TwoPlusTwo thread:

If we are not talking heads up matches but fill ring tables where multiple people shove in a hand (all in) with him being in that pot and everyone sharing equity. He got ripped off and that is morally wrong to be doing that to someone. He is definitely not a sucker for having that happen to him and I can see why he would be mad, even if the money doesn’t matter to him.

Reverting back to the unlimited bankroll topic, many TwoPlusTwo posters have gone back and forth about this one. Some believe that Laliberte would’ve lost anyways since he was competing against the best. So if they were merely borrowing fake money from FTP, it doesn’t matter because they still won. Some have even likened it to the Andy Beal situation, where he took on “The Corporation,” a group of elite pros who pooled their bankroll to play at stakes as high as $50k/$100k.

But the difference here was that Beal knew full well what he was up against. Laliberte, on the other hand, likely had no knowledge that he was competing against players with a near-infinite bankroll. That said, he probably thought that his massive reserves of money was one of his advantages, just like Beal did several years earlier.

It’s hard to say for sure where the moral line lies in Laliberte’s games against some of poker’s best. Moreover, we should also consider that maybe not everything Laliberte assumes is the truth, and he could’ve simply been beaten by better players.

Waka Flocka dubs Dan Bilzerian the “New Hugh Hefner”

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Dan Bilzerian continues to fascinate the world, and All In Magazine is capitalizing on this fascination with a series of interviews with “Blitz.” They’ve now released two parts to the series, with the second just recently coming available.

In this segment, Bilzerian starts out by discussing the now-famous staking deal with Jay Farber, where he fronted $2k of Farber’s $10k WSOP Main Event buy-in. As some know, Farber went on to finish second in the 2013 Main Event, which earned him $5.2 million and Bilzerian a $1 million cut of this.

The two have since become friends, hence the second part of the video, where they race sports cars against each other. Blitz ends up winning by just a few tenths of a second, narrowly beating Farber and some other people.

Perhaps the best part of All In’s video is when Bilzerian heads to a DJ Steve Aoki concert. Accompanying Aoki are hip hop legends like Flavor Flav and Coolio along with current star Waka Flocka Flame. The latter provides the most interesting quote of the video when he says, “That muthf**ka (Bilzerian)…is the new Hugh Hefner.”

This probably couldn’t be truer when you consider all of the crazy and exciting things that Bilzerian’s been doing lately. From hosting Playboy and Hustler shoots on his yacht to showing off his massive gun collection, Blitz never ceases to entertain people. Add in the fact that he claims to have won $50 million playing in high stakes poker games, and you can see why poker players follow his Instagram account. Now, here’s a look at the aforementioned All In Magazine interview:

Is PokerStars moving to Zoom-Only?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

It’s been a few weeks since PokerStars made the controversial decision to switch all of their regular high stakes games (50/100 NLHE, PLO and up) to Zoom Poker format. And Stars recently struck again by changing their $25/$50 PLO games to Zoom on February 1st.

Given these huge changes, a poster on TwoPlusTwo raised a good question about if PokerStars is set on transitioning all of their cash game formats to Zoom. Here’s a look at the OP:

First it was 50/100 NLHE/PLO, now 25/50 PLO, eventually they will do this at 10/20 and maybe 5/10. I think lower limits won’t be changed, but who knows..

As Stars Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones said back in December, the idea behind switching games to Zoom format is to eliminate what’s become a predatory environment. Rather than top-ranked players consistently clashing in high stakes games, online poker has become a place where pros are far more worried about seeking out fish. As another TwoPlusTwo poster put it:

yea they do this to prevent the current predator system which leads to auto-sitting when a fish sits and auto-leaving when the fish leaves. it’s bumhunting to the extreme and it has to be dealt with

Going back to the OP, will Stars eventually become a place where the only cash action is Zoom? This is an experiment right now, so the answer to this question depends on if players are largely happy with the changes, and if Stars is happy with their profits. The world’s largest online poker site can more than live with a few disgruntled regs as long as they’re continually attracting fresh recreational players and making money.

Until PokerStars can move into the United States and other unfriendly, but lucrative markets, it seems that they’ve hit a ceiling. So look for them to keep testing Zoom in other stakes to try and get something going in the profits department. And even if they lose regs over this move, a good portion of these players will go to the Rational Group’s (PokerStars) other site, Full Tilt.

PokerStars causes Controversy by using Same EPT Barcelona Hotel

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Several members of the high stakes poker community were spooked at EPT Barcelona last year when criminals busted into their hotel rooms and installed malware on their computers. Jens Kyllonen was especially shook by the matter after his hotel room was broken into multiple times. The perpetrator(s) installed a virus on his laptop in an effort to track any sensitive information that he entered on the computer.

Given all of this, it’s a little surprising that PokerStars has chosen the same hotel to direct players to during the 2014 EPT Barcelona. One of the biggest problems regarding last year’s “sharking” attacks was that the Hotel Arts Barcelona security was horrid. The hallway security cameras weren’t working properly, and those at the front desk weren’t very helpful either.

Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, said that PokerStars has used Arts Hotel for several years. He added that, despite the sharking attacks in 2013, most players seemed more than happy with the services provided by the hotel.

Of course, players are by no means bound to stay at the Hotel Arts. And you can guarantee that Kyllonen is one player who’ll be looking for somewhere else to stay. While gone from his room, he came back and discovered that his computer had been stolen. Upon returning with security, he discovered the laptop back in its original spot.

After having an independent company look at his laptop, Kyllonen found out that somebody had installed malware so they could have remote access to his screen. Luckily, the Finnish online poker pro was smart enough not to use his computer after the bizarre and puzzling incident. We can only hope that nothing similar happens during the 2014 EPT Barcelona event.