Patrik Antonius is by far the most popular and accomplished Finnish poker player. Like many prolific poker pros, Patrik wasn't dreaming about a poker career as a kid. Instead, he intended to become a professional tennis player. Unluckily, an injury ruled out this career choice for him, so he pursued his other passion – poker.
Patrik admits that his poker affection happened by chance
Like countless poker players, Patrik started playing the game when he was very young. In fact, his first games for pennies took place when he was around ten years old. What at first was just a time-filler has quickly become a big part of his life. Soon, Antonius spent most of his free time playing poker with tennis buddies in the next few years.
Due to the fact that his family wasn't rich, he was used to working hard from a very young age. What's even worse was that when it became clear that he wouldn't fulfill his tennis dream, he had to find another career. Over the years, he tried a lot of occupations, from a telemarketer to even being a model (which, as he admits, helped him a lot in combating his natural shyness).
The real breakthrough in his life happened in 1999 when he decided to make his first deposit of $200 and was set to conquer the world of online poker.
Patrik's first choice was cash games
In a move that by today's standard would be considered very silly, young Finn started his online journey with the PLO $1/2 cash game.
You can find out why it wasn't the best idea in our article about bankroll management.
Patrik quickly realized his overly aggressive style worked wonderfully against other unprepared poker players. As he recalls, he often just bet flop, bet turn, and bet river, which forced many of his opponents to fold and made it very easy to get paid when he actually got a hand. Over time, he also learned at which spots bluffing didn't really work for him.
Patrik's online start was fantastic, as he quickly turned his initial deposit into almost $30,000. Being an ambitious player, he was eager for new challenges and moved on to play Fixed Limit Hold'em. Just like in the case of Pot Limit Omaha, he succeeded, quickly climbing to the highest stakes online poker had to offer, which at the time was $50/100.
Despite playing with the best poker players in the world, his results were remarkable. It took him a year to turn his initial $200 into $100,000 and, after several years, into a few million.
Patrik estimates that he won over $30 million overall on Full Tilt Poker
If his estimates are true, it would mean that he is one of the biggest winners in online poker history! While we cannot verify those claims, they seem very likely. Enough to say that Patrik had numerous days when he was up over a million dollars. He also won a pot over $1,3 million against Isildur1, which was the biggest pot in online poker history for a few years.
On the day this pot occurred, Patrik won over $3 million.
Unluckily for Patrik and many poker fans, the Black Friday and subsequent fall of Full Tilt Poker resulted in the twilight of the biggest high-stakes online games. Adding the ban of online poker in the USA to the mix changed the poker landscape for the years to come.
Luckily, Antonius was also very active at the live felts
Despite being an avid online grinder, Patrik also played a lot of poker. Soon after he started traveling outside Finland, he became a regular in the biggest poker games held in Las Vegas and spent at least a few months there every year.
He also never has been a stranger to TV shows. Just like Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey [LINKS], he starred in the first few seasons of High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, cementing his status as a poker star.
While Patrik is considered a high-stakes cash games and heads-up specialist, he also plays live poker tournaments. His best result to date occurred in the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl. Second place in this event held in Macau earned him prize money of over $3,1 million. To this day, Antonius regularly plays High Roller tournaments worldwide. His total live tournament winnings combine to over $13 million, which is good enough for 1st place on the Finland All Time money list.
Unlike many others, Patrik doesn't care much for World Series of Poker bracelets
Given how many professional poker players dream about winning the WSOP bracelet, it might be shocking. Despite that, Antonius states they do not hold any special value for him.
The other reason he's not grinding the WSOP, World Poker Tour, or European Poker Tour events may be the amount of money he's used to playing for in his regular cash games.
There are many rurumorsbout private games where millions of dollars are at stake. While we can't verify them, there are a lot of streams of enenormousash games available online starring Patrik himself. The latest of those happened at the very beginning of 2023, when Patrik won the biggest pot in the history of American TV!
Antonius has been playing poker professionally for over 20 years
And it seems like he is still hungry for more. As he admitted in one of the interviews for the House of Poker YouTube channel, he'd like to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, but it's too soon for that, as he's aiming to compete at the poker tables to his very last days.
When asked about his biggest strengths at the table, he mentions awareness of what's happening and a great read on the game flow. At the same time, what might be baffling is that he feels he lacks a deep understanding of optimal game theory concepts.
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