Patrik Antonius Wins Biggest Pot in Televised U.S. Poker History for $1.98m
Finnish poker legend Patrik Antonius won the biggest pot in US televised poker history as part of PokerGO’s “Cash of the Titans” line-up on Sunday night’s No Gamble, No Future show, winning an incredible $1,978,000. With only two pair and a flush draw, Antonius called off nearly $700k against Maverick Casinos owner and controversial cash game player Eric Persson, who was drawing completely dead!
Which Players Were in the Hand?
The two men could hardly come from more diverse backgrounds, proving the old adage that it doesn’t matter where you’re from; if you have the money, you can sit down at the felt with anybody.
Patrik Antonius is widely recognized as one of the best high-stakes cash game players in poker history. The Finnish former tennis player, coach, and part-time model is often the envy of poker players everywhere. Having won millions online, the Finn’s net worth is a matter of lively debate. One website claims it to be over $80 million in 2018, while another says he was down to his last $5m in 2022.
Both seem tricky to believe, especially considering Antonius won over $11 million on Full Tilt Poker alone before the poker giant was closed down on Black Friday in 2011. The more accurate estimate of $25 million seems more likely, which has been more widely reported in the past 12 months. Moreover, despite playing mainly cash, Antonius has also won $13.7 million in ranking poker tournaments.
Eric Persson comes from a very different stock, having been born and raised in Hoquiam, Washington. The owner of 26 casinos under the Maverick umbrella across Washington, Nevada, and Colorado, Persson was previously in charge of slot and marketing operations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation before founding Maverick in 2018.
“We think of our company as having an enterprise value of around $1 billion today,” he said recently in an interview with GGB News. “[We’re] working towards becoming a $5 billion enterprise value over the next five years.”
Almost entirely a cash game player, Persson has only cashed for a paltry $3,677 in poker tournaments, preferring to “stick to cash.” However, given the magnitude of the loss, this latest pot may well tip him deep into the red.
How the Hand Played Out
The ‘Punt of the Century’?
Was Persson’s punt the biggest of the century so far? It’s hard to argue that it wasn’t. At no point does Patrik Antonius look in any way weak, raising pre-flop, leading the action post-flop and after the turn. So what convinced Persson to make his move before the river with comparative air, and what was he looking to beat?
Antonius is a long-time player in games such as High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. He was highly likely to have a good read on Persson’s hand, especially with Rob Yong entering the hand too. Persson made a lot of having position on Antonius. Still, in essence, he wasted the chance of using it by not putting enough pressure on the Finn post-flop rather than on the turn, and not just because his own chances of hitting a flush had decreased.
While we know watching the hand play out that Antonius has the better flush draw, it’s not certain that he calls a shove on the turn. It looks to most observers that Persson punts it on the turn, and Antonius’ quick call after just 13 seconds backs up that theory.
Video of the Hand
You can watch the hand in its entirety here above, with commentary from No Gamble, No Future’s Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks.
Who’ll Win the First $2 million Televised Poker Pot?
With Persson a likely candidate to want to eradicate this memory from his recent poker experiences as quickly as possible, there’s no doubt that the favorite to take part in a $2 million pot on a televised stream would be Persson. But would he be your pick to win that pot? After this most ambitious of attempts was snuffed out by Antonius, it’s hard to call it.
Antonius himself doesn’t come out of the woodwork for any old game, but PokerGO is really doing an excellent job of escalating the level of their cash game output. High Stakes Poker has replaced Gabe Kaplan with Nick Schulman but has the potential for a mammoth pot, too, although if it had happened, it would have been hard for the production team to keep it under wraps.
Players such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Rob Yong, Andrew Robl or possibly Door Dash owner and billionaire Stanley Tang will all have designs on becoming the first poker player to win a US televised pot of $2 million if the possibility creeps up on them.