Patrik Antonius, who will be playing at the first final table of the 2008 World Series of Poker later today, was announced as the most recent member of the prestigious Team Full Tilt during a private press conference (exclusive to PokerNews.com) held earlier this afternoon.
Born and raised in Finland, Antonius had the goal of becoming a professional tennis player before he turned his full attention to poker. Antonius burst upon the international poker scene in 2005 when he had six top-15 finishes in major tournaments that year, including a third-place finish in the EPT Barcelona Open, a second-place finish in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, and two victories — the Scandinavian Poker Championship and the EPT Baden Classic. Antonius' live tournament earnings totaled nearly $1.7 million in 2005, and he was awarded the 2005 Rookie of the Year title at the European Poker Awards.
Antonius has since solidified himself as one of the most respected young players in the world, playing in high-stakes games everywhere — at FullTiltPoker.com under the online name "Finddagrind," in Doyle Brunson's famous "Big Game" at Bellagio, and even on the TV show "High-Stakes Poker."
From Full Tilt's perspective, this deal is paying immediate dividends, as the agreement was finalized as Antonius was already on his way to the final table in WSOP Event #1 ($10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em). Antonius will be playing against fellow Team Full Tilt member Andy Bloch, who enters the same final table with the chip lead.
"Patrik Antonius is a young rising star in the poker world who has shown he will be a force for decades to come," said fellow Team Full Tilt member Howard Lederer.
Lederer was asked if this was 'it' for Team Full Tilt members, and had this to say "There are really only three guys out there that belong on Team Full Tilt. Daniel (Negreanu), Doyle (Brunson), and Patrik. Obviously, Daniel and Doyle have commitments, leaving Patrick as the one guy out there we really wanted. We're thrilled to have Patrik join Team Full Tilt."
Today's WSOP Final Table is Antonius's third, including one of the toughest in history — the inaugural $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event in 2006. Antonius was the youngest player at that table, facing a lineup that included fellow Team Full Tilt members Bloch and Phil Ivey, along with Doyle Brunson, T.J. Cloutier, and eventual champion David "Chip" Reese.
As a member of Team Full Tilt, Antonius will wear the Full Tilt logo during tournaments, and play online exclusively at FullTiltPoker.com, where fans can watch him in action, or even ante up to play against him.
New teammates Antonius and Ivey talk to our Tiffany Michelle at the announcement.</center>
Antonius becomes the 14th member of Team Full Tilt, the first individual player added since Allen Cunningham joined in October, 2006. The full team consists of Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman, Phil Gordon, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Clonie Gowen, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, Allen Cunningham, and now, Patrik Antonius. The team also includes the four members of the Hendon Mob (Barny Boatman, Ross Boatman, Joe Beevers, and Ram Vaswani) and the seven members of CardRunners (Taylor Caby, Brian Hastings, Eric Liu, Mike Schneider, Cole South, Brian Townsend, and Andrew Wiggins). Altogether, Team Full Tilt has won 32 WSOP bracelets over the years.
Later this afternoon, Bloch and Antonius hope to increase that number to 33.