Amateur players are always dreaming of winning a life-changing sum of money and often watch clips of their idols taking home millions in major events, but what a lot of people don’t hear about are the huge losses that some professionals have to stomach. With every great opportunity in poker comes a risk of losing an awful lot of money.
The majority of casual players stick to a budget they can afford when playing poker, or just search for free online games to play for fun. But those players who have dedicated years of their time to learn the game of poker systematically are prone to putting mouth-watering amounts of money on the line.
Here are the 10 pro players who went through some devastating losses:
1. Phil Galfond
The man who went by the username “OMGClayAiken” began playing in 2008 and made more than $8 million from playing poker online. When the 2-7 Triple Draw game became popular on the poker scene, he began playing – and losing. A lot. Phil’s decision to play a new game saw him lose nearly $2.5 million.
2. Di Dang
One of the most highly-rated and consistent high stakes online players, even Dang couldn’t avoid a slump. In the beginning of 2009, Di Dang managed to lose $2.6 million. In 2011, he decided to take a step back from the table and put the majority of his time into his business.
3. Ben Sulsky
After nearly $4 million in profit from 2012 alone, Sulsky went steamrolling into 2013. However, the level of his opponents changed and he was outclassed, time and time again. Between January and March, he lost nearly $3 million.
4. Patrik Antonius
From Full Tilt’s highest earner in 2009, things went very wrong for the Finnish player. He lost almost $4 million the following year and blamed a back injury for his losses. Funnily enough, when his health improved, so did his performances.
5. Brian Townsend
Townsend’s fall from grace is a sad one. In 2010, he was down more than $2.5 million. Determined to change his fortunes, he continued at it, but lost a further $2 million. He hasn’t been seen playing much poker since.
6. Phil Ivey
Even one of poker’s biggest ever winners struggled at the tables for some time. After earning over $21.45 million in live tournaments, Ivey went on to lose over $5 million of that, mostly in 8-Game tables.
7. Ilari Sahamies
Known for playing aggressively, and often drunk, it’ll come as no surprise that Sahamies lost $6 million of his $7 million lifetime earnings.
Nobody knew who was behind the ‘Noataima’ online poker account, but after joining the circuit in 2006, he lost $7 million.
9. Victor Blom
Blom came out of nowhere and bagged almost $7 million, but after his emergence, pros queued up to play him. A number of experienced players each took $1 million from the newcomer, before Brian Hastings took Blom for $4.2 million. He lost $7.5 million in total.
10. Gus Hansen
No one comes close to the losses of Gus Hansen. Though he was one of the most successful live poker players in history, the online game hasn’t been kind to him. Card Player reported that he is now nearing $20 million in losses, making Hansen the biggest loser in poker.