After an extended period away from the spotlight, Finnish poker pro Patrik Antonius (pictured) resurfaced at the European Poker Tour Barcelona stop, where he gave a few short interviews to the poker media about his absence from the game.
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In a previous interview, Antonius mentioned that he had recently been spending time with his family, recovering from an injury, and training to become a better athlete. But there is another reason why we haven’t seen the Finnish high-stakes pro back at the nosebleeds online. Antonius believes that poker software has become so advanced that players who choose not to use such applications, such as himself, are now at a big disadvantage.
“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,” he told PokerListings. “Nowadays, players use software that gives them so much information and so much data that it has become more of a game of numbers.”
Antonius has never cared for poker software and says he has an innate ability to make the right plays by following his gut. “I never used any of these programs,” he continued. “I’ve never used technology to get an edge. I’m more of a feel player who’s living in the moment.”
There are a variety of tools available to poker players, the most popular being programs being Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker (pictured). Players gain an advantage on their opponents by feeding the software hand histories, which are then parsed to display a dizzying array of statistics. While a player might not remember his opponent, the software will faithfully overlay stats next to any screen name it has encountered in the past.
While most poker sites allow the use of some software tools, others give its users too much of an advantage and have been banned altogether. On its website, PokerStars gives an example of functionality that would be prohibited to use: “There are people building huge databases with profiles of every player on PokerStars and they are selling access to these databases. A player with access to such a database can call up detailed information about every one of his opponents without ever playing against those opponents himself.”
For someone who has never used poker software, Antonius has done extraordinarily well online. Under his combined online poker screen names, he has banked just over $17 million playing against some of the world’s best at the nosebleeds. Only Phil Ivey has more recorded online winnings with $19.2 million.
Antonius’ recent hiatus can also be attributed to a big loss which he recently suffered. “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,” he said.
The Finnish pro’s decision to step back from games he believes he can no longer beat is in stark contrast to Dutch high-stakes player Gus Hansen (pictured). The former Full Tilt-sponsored pro sits at the opposite end of the online earning spectrum with a total loss of over $20 million, which most believe is a product of Hansen playing opponents who have him outmatched.
But while Antonius will likely shy away from the popular online games, he still enjoys playing Mixed Games for now. “Well, I’m sure some smart people are working on it and that there will be programs for Stud or Heads-Up 2-7 Triple Draw,” he said. “I would take my chances against any high-stakes player live, but online I don’t like my chances anymore, unfortunately.”