I was surprised for two reasons. The first was that Sung could actually be close to broke. He won the $1k Stimulus event at the WSOP a few months ago for like $800,000 to bring his career total to almost $3 million.
The second thing I wasn't used to hearing is someone talking about it so honestly and nonchalantly. It's sick that someone who's posted so many huge results is actually right back where he started financially.
A lot of the money was lost online but Sung still considers himself a winner on the Internet. He differentiates between playing poker and "flipping"," which to the people familiar with it consists of an entire table going all-in blind. At the levels Sung was doing this he has actually lost a million dollars in a day.
He made another interesting point. People look at a $3 million record and they assume this guy's a millionaire. I know that traveling the circuit is expensive but Sung brings it home when he says he spent over $400,000 on a single year's worth of live event buy-ins.
I guess this brings us back to the same old question of whether it's even possible to be a profitable player at the big buy-in tournament level.
The cool thing is that Steve doesn't mind talking about it and it's easy to tell that while he may regret some decisions, he's really happy with his lifestyle and the friends he surrounds himself with.
It's not like someone in Sung's position, with the record he has, won't get staked in about a second so being "busto" is probably not the most accurate way to describe his situation.
He has confidence that he can make it all back, only this time he might exercise a bit more money management.
Check out the podcast here. It's the second part of the September 13 show.