Report: Patrik Antonius Planning B&M Poker Room in Monaco
Patrik Antonius. What images conjure to mind when you read that name? What emotions flitter through your heart when you hear a gentle breeze whisper those words? Do you envision yourself gently waking up on a four-poster bed, ensconced in clean, white sheets while the morning sun and ocean wind invite themselves in through your balcony’s French doors, all while Patrik is bringing you coffee and a fully-charged Kindle?
I am a 41-year old, straight, married father of two and sometimes I find myself longing for the days of the mid-aughts, pre-Black Friday poker boom, not because I could still freely play online poker from the United States, but because Patrik Antonius, former model and tennis player, was seemingly always on poker television, shirts fitting him just so, making everybody think, “HE is a poker player?”
Patrik Antonius was once one of the elite of the elite in online poker, racking up millions upon millions of dollars in the highest stakes internet cash games before Black Friday. His games against the likes of Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, and Gus Hansen, were appointment rail birding for many. He was (and still is) extremely skilled at poker, but his looks (did I mention he was a model?) took him to another level entirely as he became a mainstay on poker television. His celebrity and his draw got him a spot on Team Full Tilt, one of the more prestigious titles one could hold at the time.
Nowadays, Patrik Antonius, while still playing poker, is not as prolific as he once was and is certainly not on TV as much (considering there is almost no poker television in the United States, that statement should have been rather obvious). He is currently playing the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino (third in chips in the Main Event after Day 2), where PokerNews caught with him to see what has been going on. In summary, he seems quite pleased with where his road has taken him.
“I’ve been very good,” he told PokerNews’ Frank Op de Woerd. “I’m very happy with my life situation, I can’t complain. You know, I haven’t been traveling for the events. Life changes a little bit and my lifestyle has changed as well.”
While known for his stellar cash game play, Antonius also has nearly $6.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. But now settled in Monaco with his wife, Maya Geller, and their two children, Antonius doesn’t play in live tourneys much anymore because of the constant travel.
“I can’t say that I’m a very experienced tournament player anymore,” he said. “I was playing a lot of tournaments in 2005 and 2006, but for the last eight years or so, I’ve played fewer than 10 tournaments a year.”
And who can blame him? To play in the types of events Patrik Antonius would enjoy, one would have to travel all over the United States and Europe, not to mention locations in Asia and South America as live tours expand. The best chance to play a lot of four and five-figure, large field tournaments all in one location is the World Series of Poker, but for Antonius, that also means being away from home for two months.
Most of us can relate, even if we are not high stakes poker pros. Plenty of people travel all week for work, and even if you enjoy what you do, being away from your family can take its toll. I covered the WSOP live in both 2005 and 2006 and had the opportunity to keep doing it after that, but may first child was born in the fall of 2006 and there was no way I was going to spend a couple months away from her and my wife.
Antonius told PokerNews that, tournaments aside, he “wished we would have more, bigger and regular games in Europe.”
As such, he has apparently decided to do something about it. At first, he didn’t want to say much, but I guess Frank Op de Woerd is a charismatic fellow, because eventually Patrik Antonius spilled a few of the beans. He is currently working on getting a brick-and-mortar poker room setup up in Monaco. He is confident that it would get traffic as there are enough players who live nearby and want to play “decently high stakes” while not wanting to travel to the four corners of Earth to find the right games.
“People would fly here from all over the world,” Antonius said. “It would be very easy to organize good games here. We just have to get proper rake so it’s reasonable.”
And live poker is really where it’s at now for Antonius. Once an unstoppable force in the online game, it’s just not something that is for him at this point, even though he’s still only in his mid-30’s. He came to the realization a while back, telling PokerListings in 2015:
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.
He added, “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.”
He reiterated a shortened version of this to PokerNews, saying, “Online isn’t interesting [for me] anymore. “I don’t see there being a lot of action and I can’t see myself doing well.”