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Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond(pictured) has been having a rough year at the tables online. After starting March off strong and winning over $220,000, the high-stakes grinder quickly lost it all back, plus another $1.2 million, in just a few sessions. The sudden downswing led Galfond to post a lighthearted Tweet about his current misfortune: "What's the best way to make a quick $1.4m back? Asking for a friend." While the Tweet garnered several responses, some serious and some tongue-in-cheek, the most interesting came from Tom "durrrr" Dwan, who said, "In Macau, the standard way to get even is baccarat." While Dwan could have been joking, his response, at the very least, highlights the absurd amounts of cash being gambled on a regular basis at Macau's casinos. The tiny Chinese gambling enclave has become the de facto center of the ultra high-stakes poker world in recent years, with action moving away from Las Vegas. In fact, the former Portuguese colony took in $45 billion in revenue in 2013, over seven times what Las Vegas made in the same period, according to CNN. In card rooms like the Poker King Club Macau, you can find Dwan battling pros, wealthy businessman, and Chinese mega-whales for millions of dollars in games with blinds up to $12,500/$25,000. Entrepreneur and poker player Tom "Hong Kong Tom" Hall, a Macau high-stakes regular, recently gave an interview revealing some rare details on the game. He said that since it began, around 100 to 150 players have participated, with 10 to 20 playing regularly. For pros, entry is not guaranteed and a recommendation from another player already in the game is needed. Usually, only a set number of grinders will be allowed at the table and those not willing to gamble a little are frowned upon. "I don't think any individual is specifically unwelcome, but those super-nitty, 'silent at the table' pros are extremely unlikely to get a second invite," said Hall. With blinds so high, huge wins and losses are commonplace. "I would say approximately… $12.8 million [was the most] won/lost in a single session, bearing in mind these sessions can run 30 to 40 hours regularly with perhaps a mini-food break or quick nap or break to watch a soccer game." According to Hall, "all of the local regulars usually play their own funds, whereas most of the pros are either staked or pierced out to a certain degree." Perhaps that's why Dwan(pictured), who is known to play an extremely loose-aggressive style, is so welcome at the game. And as the ex-Full Tiltsponsored pro joked with Galfond, he regularly sees wild swings of his own in the Macau game. Last September, he Tweeted that he had taken his "biggest loss ever" there; people familiar with the game claimed it was more than $4 million. If Galfond doesn't prefer baccarat, several other prominent members of the poker community chimed in with other suggestions. Lance Bradley, editor of Bluff, quipped, "Find Gus [Hansen]," while PokerStarsteam member Jorge Limon recommended "a flight to Macau." Jimmy Gobboboy Fricke brought up Antonio Esfandiari's "Rocks and Rings" high-stakes crew, while Victoria Fath proposed Galfond do some "hand modeling." Galfond seems to be taking the loss in stride and, with such a solid track record in online cash games and live tournaments, it's hard to imagine he will be too affected by the downswing. According to HighstakesDB, the 29-year-old is up around $7.3 million over a half-million hands in seven years. He's no slouch in tournaments either, boasting $1.8 million in total tracked earnings. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
Gus Hansen(pictured) is in the midst of the worst online poker downswing on the books. At $17.66 million in the hole, the Danish pro has more than doubled the losses of noataima, the second biggest money loser in recorded online history, according to HighStakesDB. Even so, Hansen continues to do battle with the best players in the world at the highest stakes online, day in and day out. He was gracious enough to sit down for an interview with PokerStrategy's Tobias Frey at the European Poker Tour in Vienna, where he spoke about his high-stakes opponents, his losses, Macau, the WSOP, and more. Hansen was quite candid about his recent battles with German 2-7 Triple Draw specialist Sebastian "taktloss47" Ruthenberg. "He's been beating the shit out of me," Hansen said. "Obviously, he's been playing good and maybe he's been getting the best of the cards lately. But it seems like he's been outplaying me… Unfortunately, I have to admit that. I have to play better." Yet while enduring soul crushing losses, the 40-year-old gave praise to many of the German high-stakes players' commitment to improving their game while questioning his own. "The German players are very professional… I could learn from that," he said. "I'm sometimes a little too relaxed, don't focus enough, maybe play too long hours, and don't spend enough time analyzing my game." He also admitted that he often jumps into long, grueling sessions without being properly prepared. "That's usually when it all goes down the drain," he said. With that said, does Hansen believe he still has an edge on today's young internet prodigies? "Well, that's hard to say with the results I've been having," he said. "I'm trying to improve my game, but it seems like it's not enough. I have to consider what my next move is." On the forums, posters had their own opinions about Hansen's situation. "Will this guy ever run out of money?" said "Pls try to bluf." "Could only imagine where it comes from." Poster "Crane" also chimed in, dubious of Hansen's skill level: "Why do people think Gus Hansen is a good player? Have you ever watched him play?" While it might surprise the railbirds, Hansen emphatically stated that he cares about the money he loses online. But, when questioned about why he still plays high-stakes, he said he couldn't really come up with a good answer. Fortunately, though, it seems he still has the bankroll to continue playing at those levels comfortably. "I can afford to lose, but it's more fun to win. You sleep a little bit better when you win," he said. Would he ever quit playing high-stakes? "It's not impossible, I can't keep losing… At some point, I have to quit." Hansen doesn't spend all his time online. He's also a semi-regular in Macau's ultra high-stakes cash games, where he has apparently been doing very well. He also refutes the assumption that the wealthy businessmen who frequent those games make it one of the easiest in the world. "That's not the case at all. There are some really tough players around. People can put a lot of pressure on you; it's not that easy," he admitted. He won't be spending any time in China during the WSOP, though. The Danish pro said that he would be at the WSOP the entire time this year, but wasn't sure how many tournaments he would enter or if he took his chances in the One Drop. Of course, a win in the $1 million buy-in tournament would do much to offset recent losses. "[A bracelet]is not a high priority for me. I'd rather win the One Drop than win a bracelet," he said. Unfortunately, Hansen's losses don't seem to be abating. Since the interview was published on April 5, he has gone on to lose another $1 million after playing only 3,366 hands, according to a LiquidPoker high-stakes poker report. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
In a recent Google Hangout interviewwith PokerNews at the World Series of Poker, British poker pro Sam Trickett (pictured) revealed some surprising details about his beef with Andrew Feldman, bad investment opportunities, and a $23 million pot that took place in the ultra high-stakes poker rooms of Macau. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsson Poker, a leading global online gaming provider. Betsson Poker is available on Mobile and offers regular promotions to live events around the world along with great bonuses and competitions. Play now for a chance to win the a Dream Holiday with the Grand Poker Adventures throughout 2014! --- Trickett, best known for his second place finish at the Big One for One Drop in 2012, answered live questions from his online audience. After a brief chat about the World Cup and Cristiano Ronaldo, his favorite football player, the topic of conversation soon strayed to former poker pro Andrew Feldman. Asked to describe the 27-year-old in three words, Trickett called him a dishonest and disrespectful cheat. His problems with Feldman go back years, when he supposedly lent his fellow Brit a large sum of money. "I looked out for him, helped him out in a lot of situations," Trickett said. "One day, I [lent]him some money and he decided to get out of poker and that he didn't want to pay me back, [giving] me no reason whatsoever." After threatening to out him as a thief on social media, Trickett, and good friend Chris Slytraded barbs with Feldman on Twitter. "Are you denying that Sam lent you €25K in Vienna and are now refusing to pay him back? Disgusting," posted Sly. According to Trickett, Feldman (pictured) then added insult to injury, sending him "smiley tongue faces" and saying, "I think you're one of the nicest guys, but I'm sorry, I'm just not paying you back." Feldman later went on to appear on a show called "The Secret Millionaire," which stoked Trickett's anger even more. "Then I see him on TV in England, giving to charities and crying on TV. It's just so irritating to be owned by a little kid like that," he said, still frustrated by the incident. Trickett is hoping to recoup the supposed losses and has a court case pending against his former friend. The British pro was later asked about the reaction of his family and friends after the 2012 One Drop, in which he pocketed just over $10 million. "You've got no idea the bad investment opportunities I've been given… Very bad investments," he said with a laugh. "I've been involved in a few just to help them out, but yes, situations like that come up a lot… It's difficult to say no to people." Trickett can occasionally be found in the ultra high-stakes poker games of Macau (pictured below), which usually feature a mix of poker pros and wealthy Chinese businessmen. When asked about the biggest pot he had ever seen, he described an extraordinary hand played between two unnamed players that soared into the eight-figures. While not at the table, Trickett said he was 90% sure that the hand actually took place. The game was Texas Hold'em with the blinds set at 100,000/200,000 HKD, around $13,000/$26,000 USD. The table was four- or five-handed when the hand went down, he said, with a recreational player limping in, a pro raising, and an aggressive pro re-raising. Both players called the raise and saw a flop of A-5-3 with two spades. The aggressive pro c-bet for 7.5 million HKD and his two opponents once again called. The turn brought the 2 of spades, making a flush and a one-card straight possible. There was a 12 million HKD bet, with one pro folding and the recreational player calling. The river paired the board with another 3 and the remaining pro made an all-in overbet for around 65 million HKD. "The recreational player literally takes about 30 seconds and says, 'You can't have it' and calls, flipping over A-K for top pair," said Trickett. As it happens, the pro was bluffing "with something like 10-8" and his opponent dragged the mammoth "$22 million or $23 million USD pot." Trickett has already paid his $1 million buy-in for this year's Big One for One Drop, along with 40 other players. You might recall he was attacked after finishing second two years ago. He has a stellar career in live tournaments, with just over $20 million in recorded winnings, according to the Global Poker Index. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.