The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
Antonius wins biggest cash pot in ‘televised’ U.S. history
I watched High Stakes Poker religiously in the early years — it was a cornerstone of my TiVo season-pass menu, which should tell you all you need to know about how long ago this was — and, in my memory, those superstars of the poker boom period played million-dollar pots left and right.
But my memory is faulty, as it turns out. It wasn’t until Season 4 that a pot swelled beyond a million bucks. That was the $1,227,900 pot between Guy Laliberte and David Benyamine — which they actually negotiated down by nearly a million dollars after the money went in, essentially because Cirque du Soleil founder Laliberte didn’t need the money and he sensed its potential to crush Benyamine financially.
Anyway, when I saw the news this week that Patrik Antonius had won a $1,978,000 pot on the No Gamble, No Future “Cash of the Titans” game that streamed on PokerGO and that it was the largest pot in U.S. poker broadcast history, I thought that couldn’t be correct — that they must be using some kind of technicality, separating livestreaming from actual TV or something. I was sure High Stakes Poker or Poker After Dark had produced a bigger pot — or maybe even a few bigger pots — somewhere along the line.
But, nope, this is indeed a new record. And the hand itself was fairly unremarkable. Antonius’ opponent, Eric Persson, overplayed the situation and lost a lot more money than he should have.
Antonius, Persson, and Rob Yong built a three-way, three-bet pot to $94,000 before the flop. The flop of 3-3-8 with two hearts gave both Antonius (A-K of hearts) and Persson (Q-9 of hearts) flush draws. Antonius led out for $40K, and Persson insta-raised to $140K before the Finnish poker icon had even finished cutting out his chips. Yong made the easy fold, Antonius re-raised to $250K, and Persson called, bringing the pot to $594K.
The turn brought what Norman Chad calls “the prettiest card in the deck,” the ace of spades, giving Antonius two pair and a lock on the hand, provided he couldn’t be convinced to fold. He bet $150K, Persson went all-in with Antonius covered — so, effectively, for $542K more — and, getting 2.65-to-1 on his money, Antonius thought it over for 18 seconds and made the call. There was no need to discuss running the river multiple times. Persson had no outs.
Commentator Jeff Platt called it “the biggest pot in U.S. televised poker history.” Whether that’s true depends on your definition of “televised,” as this aired on a streaming network/app. But, semantics aside, this is the new record.
And over the rest of the episode, three more pots topped the million-dollar mark, including one that saw Andrew Robl beat Antonius for a $1,269,000 haul.
Antonius and Robl — both twentysomethings at the time — were regulars on High Stakes Poker back in the day. My TiVo is long gone, and inflation has apparently extended to the poker cash-game wars, but it’s good to see some things haven’t changed.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., the legislator behind the Empire State’s recently introduced online casino legalization bill. Addabbo is confident that iCasino is coming to his state, and he has a plan in mind to get the bill on the fast track, so to speak:
On the #GambleOn podcast, @SenJoeAddabbo addresses online casino gambling legalization in New York:
“It’s not a question of if it happens, but when. It’s gonna happen.” https://t.co/i8LKrncZet pic.twitter.com/PfCLvzrUxU
— US Bets (@US_Bets) February 24, 2023
Additional Addabbo analysis
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Michigan Internet Casino Gaming Sets Another Revenue Record
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Image: Blundell Design