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Hustler Casino Live's Nik Airball Says He's on $8 Million Downswing

September 08, 2023
Nikhil Arcot

On the latest episode of The Nick Vertucci Podcast, the host was joined by Hustler Casino Live regular Nikhil "Nik Airball" Arcot where the latter revealed he was on a downswing of around $8 million.

Along with the eyebrow-raising revelation, Vertucci and Airball touched on other poker-related topics, such as Airball's battles with Matt Berkey, Airball's relationship with poker and his best and worst experiences in the game during the near-hour long interview.

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Airball Losing a Fortune; Bankroll of $30 million?

The podcast gets underway with an apt tone as the originally scheduled time for the chat was delayed as Airball had been "degening" in the casino until 5 a.m. The conversation then moved on to Airball's current financial position in terms of poker.

"It's not as crazy as it sounds,"

Vertucci asked if Airball would say how down he's gone since he was up.

"I think, like, it depends on how you look at it, but I would say it's around $8 million," his guest quickly replied.

Vertucci then brought up the subject that many in the poker community question where Airball gets his money. And while Airball didn't really shed light on more than what we already know, he did say that a good amount of his losses had come from his initial winnings. However, apparently, the loss of a decent-sized fortune was not too big of a deal.

"It sounds really bad, but the games have been really big, so it's not as crazy as it sounds. Recently, the PLO game is playing like $1,000/$2,000 on average."

Airball also confirmed that he wasn't "busto" and still had chips to play with.

"It hasn't been as fun to play every day; getting your head smashed in,"

One of the more interesting parts of the show was the brief discussion on the size of Airball's bankroll.

"I can't buy that you have or had a bankroll of $20 or $30 million. Would I be right saying that?" asked Vertucci.

Airball, again with the snap-reply, said no before expanding on his one-word answer.

"You know, it's definitely been significant [the losses], but it also, to me, it's not really been much about the money. It's been much more about the emotional pain of losing a lot."

"It hasn't been as fun to play every day; getting your head smashed in and feeling like you're never going to win is not as fun, but it's like that's been the biggest struggle. You know, just the feeling when you get there at the casino, you're already going to lose like it's not that fun to be there."

Upcoming Feud with Brandon Adams?

Brandon Adams
Brandon Adams

Further into the sit-down between the pair, Airball went on to unveil the players that he likes and dislikes playing with.

HCL regulars Charles and The Professor were the players outed as his favorites to battle with, as he enjoys playing poker with friends. Airball explained that he holds both players in high esteem and complimented their personalities and kind natures, and were two people with whom he's developed friendships.

Airball went on to name Brandon Adams as the player worst to play with but didn't elaborate on why.

"I cant say because it's going to be on the next season of No Gamble No Future, but I got into a pretty big fight with him [Adams]," he said.

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Berkey and Yau Among Those to Win Big Off Airball

Matt Berkey x Ethan Yau
Matt Berkey - Ethan Yau

The aforementioned Berkey and Ethan "Rampage" Yau are just some of the notable names to have contributed to Airball's journey deep into the red.

In March, Yau humbled Airball during an episode of HCL and won several thousand from him. The poker vlogger correctly made a quick hero-call with just ace-high against the former investment banker in a pot that breached the $300,000 mark. After the session, Airball was down around $760,000.

Berkey, co-founder of poker training site Solve for Why, got into a bitter feud with Airball after the latter accused him of being a "scammer" during an interview with Doug Polk.

"I don't really care, Berkey's a scammer," Airball said to Polk. "When you run a training site, and you can't beat the games, you're a scammer. You're selling b******t. It just is what it is, you're a scam artist."

The rivalry between Berkey and Airball then went up a notch during a live-streamed episode of High Stakes Poker, where Airball would stack his adversary for all to see. However, Berkey ended up having the last laugh and won $1,029,700 from his nemesis, who ended up waving the white flag during their publicized series of heads-up battles back in May.

"I felt confident that by the end of the match, I was winning in theory against him,"

In the sitdown with Vertucci, Airball confirmed that his defeat to Berkey was his lowest point so far in poker. Airball explained that while it "sucked to lose a million [dollars], it mostly sucked to lose", and the loss was tougher emotionally and mentally than financially.

Despite being unstudied in heads-up poker, Airball noted that because he plays a lot of poker, he still thought it was a fine spot despite Berkey's greater experience and compared it to taking a shot in a new game.

"I felt confident that by the end of the match, I was winning in theory against him [Berkey] even though I lost so much," he added.

Airball then suffered another near-million-dollar loss soon after giving seven figures away to Berkey. During HCL's $1 million buy-in cash game, Airball ended one session down a further $997,000. During the same show Tom Dwan won the biggest-ever televised pot to make him HCL's top-winning player.

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Calum Grant
Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.