BLOG – How much does a pro have to lose to be busto?

BLOG – How much does a pro have to lose to be busto?

Friday, 20 August 2010

They say that money can’t buy you happiness; I dispute that claim thoroughly. If I had £5,000,000 I’d be very, very happy. Happy enough to lose a few million at the poker tables and not feel too bad about it? Well, I don’t know about that...

Patrik Antonius is down over $2,000,000 after around 39,000 hands of the 50,000 hand Durrrr Challenge across four tables of $200/$400 Omaha. He lost $800,000 or so of that figure this year, alongside a further $2.5m in his regular online cash games. In March, just four or five months ago, he was $3.61m in the red at Full Tilt Poker.

Of course we knew it wouldn’t set him back too much – Antonius is probably the most successful online poker player ever with reported total winnings topping $25,000,000 when you include Ladbrokes and various other European sites as well as his flagship, Full Tilt Poker.

My question is, though, how significant was that downswing? They play anywhere from $200/$400 games to $500/$1,000 games so we’re looking at forty to fifty buy-ins dropped within that $3.61m. I don’t know about you guys, but if I lose eleven or twelve buy-ins it is an unusually large downswing. If I lose forty or fifty that’s about eighty per cent of my bankroll.

Antonius was quoted in the midst of the Isildur1 saga as saying that “you need a ten million dollar bankroll to play these games” which most took as a reference to the effective $3,000/$9,000 game they played where every pot was raised and 3-bet.

It seems likely now though that he was serious. Let’s compare – a $0.1/$0.2 and $0.25/$0.50 player such as myself would have between $1000 and $3000 in their bankroll if they were sensible and depending on where their play was weighted. The equivalent for a $200/$400 to $500/$1,000 player would be between $2m and $6m. Given the incredibly loose play that occurs at higher stakes and the numbers get upped to eight figures. Maybe.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Antonius’s downswing this year represented a third of his bankroll, and when you put it like that it becomes more dealable. That’s like a NL100 player with a $3,500 bankroll losing around $1,200 which isn’t hugely unusual. Then you realise we are talking about millions of dollars in Antonius’s case.

So how much does a nosebleed player at Full Tilt Poker have to lose to be busto? Enough that they couldn’t consider themselves a winning poker player anymore... though if Antonius did lose everything he’d find no shortage of stakers, I’m sure.

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