From Busto to Robusto Features Andrew Robl (good2cu)

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“From Busto to Robusto” debuted with a compelling documentary look at “Captain Zeebo” and his journey from a nobody to a self-made millionaire through online poker.  The story riveted viewers by taking a bold look at his journey through bipolar disorder and struggling with the sheer magnitude of his success.  With requests coming in from all sides of the industry for another episode, the series returned with Episode 2, which focused on Victory Poker pro Andrew “good2cu” Robl.

The documentary is 37 minutes long and can be viewed for free via streaming media at the “From Busto to Robusto” website.  The story started with Robl reliving the moment that Chris Moneymaker beat Sammy Farha to win the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.  The Cinderella story inspired Robl: “At that point in time, I knew right then, wow, I wanted to do this.”

Robl is a 22 year-old pro poker player originally from East Lansing, Michigan.  The present day story started at a party filled with young ladies, friends, and drinks.  His personal assistant, Lindsey, started off the conversation by saying that she beat out over 20 applicants for the position.  Alessandro, a famous chef popular with the poker players in town, is on-hand for the first scene and talks about how he is Robl’s personal chef.

“The lifestyle I live is about getting more money, more girls, more toys, and it’s addicting,” commented Robl when the scene cut to a one-on-one interview.  “This is something I struggle with – Who has the better life, someone who is a Buddhist monk who mediates and has good relationships or someone who is living the so-called life and flying around on private jets while popping Dom every night.”

After the party scene, the film cut to a popular sushi restaurant in Las Vegas, with Robl and his Russian model girlfriend Mila enjoying dinner.  They discuss their relationship and why she is dating him even though he is three years younger.  Robl said that he admires her adventurous spirit because she came to America as a nobody and made herself into a success in the modeling world.

In terms of the future of the relationship, it sounds like Robl and Mila might be looking for different things.  At 22, Robl is aware that it’s too early to settle down and have children, while Mila wants to get married and have kids in a few years.  Robl said he is “a million miles removed from that… I don’t foresee us being married or anything of that sort.”

Later that night, Robl received a call from a man identified as Mr. X, who Robl explained as having a lot of money made from outside of poker.  He likes to play heads-up and Robl has flown out to Mr. X to play $100,000 freeze-outs in the past.  The results were bad, to say the least: “He crushed my soul in those games.  He ended up beating me out of $275,000, so I’ve been playing him online and trying to win my money back.  I’m currently down $320,000, which is a lot of money.”

Robl plays a heads-up sit and go on Full Tilt Poker for the cameras for $25,000, while his girlfriend Mila asks, “Are you just playing him?” in her Russian accent.  As the match started, Robl sat on the couch with his monstrous-sized Dell XPS notebook on his lap and asked Mila for a water and an energy drink.  Even though Robl is down so much to Mr. X, he keeps playing him because he feels he has an edge on him.

The scene then cut to Robl’s hometown in Michigan at a local gym, with Robl explaining that his life is so much different than all his friends back home, most of whom are still in college.  “Nobody here does anything too out of the ordinary,” explains childhood friend Alex“Moving to Vegas to gamble professionally is something that nobody else heard of at the time.” Alex went on to say that he gets asked for updates on Robl because most people simply don’t think he can sustain the lifestyle he lives.  Most people back home knew Robl as a quiet and introverted kid, not as someone who enjoys the high life while living on the Las Vegas Strip.

Robl’s parents were then interviewed, starting with his father, Tim, who said that Robl wanted to be a professional video game player as a child.  Robl played football, but never considered himself to be a jock.   Robl’s parents divorced while he was in high school, which is when he began playing poker.  He didn’t tell his parents that he was playing online and made sure he played sit and gos because, at the time, they did not display the stakes in the poker table window.

To demonstrate how juicy the games were, Robl booted up his original machine with PokerTracker 2 still loaded.  He showed how he played 449 sit and gos with an ROI of 208% at $50 and $100 stakes.  “If anyone knows anything about sit and gos, most of the pros nowadays are at like 8%, so this shows you how soft the games were and how lucky I was getting at the beginning of my poker career.”

The next major scene took us back to Las Vegas and the Victory Poker launch party with other sponsored pros.  Last October, Robl signed as a featured pro for the site.  Other well known pros like Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond appear and discuss the advantages of getting sponsored and what a huge step it is for a pro player.

The scene then cuts back to Robl playing a $25,000 sit and go with Mr. X, who once again is dominating the game.  “Ultimately, the people that have the most success are the people that work the hardest and have the talent,” Robl explained.

Back at home, Robl enjoys his yearly summer vacation and revives his friendships, which remain with the same group of people.  His sister admitted the first time that they realized that Robl was a big deal was the first time they saw him appear on television.  In his career, he has appeared on the WSOP, “Poker After Dark,” and “High Stakes Poker.”

While at Michigan State University, Robl was making more and more money playing poker.  He was playing $200 sit and gos at the time at a 10% ROI clip, opening 12 an hour.  That equated to an hourly rate of $200.  He ended up dropping all of his classes and set a routine for himself to play games eight hours per day.  Once he dropped out, he admitted that he went on a sick upswing where he estimates he won over $70,000 in a month playing sit and gos.

Robl then talked about a time that he was about to go up to Windsor to play in a $10-$20 game at a casino when he found his father at his dorm room door.  His dad looked distraught because he had received a call that Robl hadn’t been attending classes and, if he wasn’t attending class, he could no longer live in the dorm.  Because he had been consistently winning for a year and playing bigger games at an Indian casino, he convinced his father that it was the right move.

Back in the present, Robl continues to play Mr. X, with the match surpassing the four-hour mark.   Robl ultimately won the $25,000 match, which reduced his losses to Mr. X to about $300,000.

Later in the movie, Robl talked about his move to Las Vegas and how he got a lot of ribbing from the “old guard” while playing live poker for being an internet kid.  He said they figured he was some dumb kid, but after two years, he hasn’t been busted.  He normally plays in a high-stakes poker game with a minimum buy-in of $40,000.

Because he had such a horrible week playing poker and posted big losses, Robl decided to do a strenuous workout in the Las Vegas desert heat that is reserved “for only special occasions.”  At the end of the workout, he said he received another phone call from Mr. X and decided to work out and get into a better state of mind rather than take the match.  Mr. X said that he would be open to play Robl anytime.

Later that day while setting up for an interview with the film crew, Robl received another phone call from Mr. X.  It only took five minutes to set up the cameras and, during that time, Robl lost the match and another $50,000.  He admitted he was down $370,000 to Mr. X.  “There’s only so much you can disassociate yourself from the money,” a reflective Robl said.

The film ends back at the house party we started at, with a happy Robl having fun with his friends.  “The thing I like most is the freedom.  I don’t have to wake up at eight in the morning every day.  I can do what I want when I want all the time.” When asked for his final interview if there was going to be a long monologue about how great online poker is from the director, Robl laughed, “You know I lost $500K this week.  How great could I really think poker is?” In the end, we’re told that Robl quit playing Mr. X when the loss was reduced to $300,000.  He continues to play at nosebleed stakes and actively participate in his role as a sponsored pro for Victory Poker.

The film is wonderfully shot and edited with a surprisingly high value for production.  Executive producers Dean Strachan, Dan Morris, and Jay Rosenkrantz put together an amazing project that was skillfully handled in Director Ryan Firpo’s hands.  The film does a great job showing the two faces Robl has, the fun-loving kid and the poker pro who is struggling to find the success he once had.  It’s a compelling tale to say the least and hits on many of the highs and lows that many poker films have failed to touch in the past.  The movie can be seen for free on the website and the DVD edition of Epsiodes 1 and 2 is available for sale.

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