This month, the PocketFives Podcastwelcomes the #8 player in the Online Poker Rankings, Chris Big HuniHunichen (pictured). Now residing in Costa Rica following Black Friday, Hunichen has been on a tear, including a win in the PokerStars Sunday 500 in early February for nearly $70,000. He’s on the verge of cracking $4 million in tracked winnings and shared his love of the game, and his Costa Rican entourage, with Podcast listeners in a 30-minute spot.
As we said in the opening paragraph, Hunichen recently moved down to Costa Rica, land of rain forests and exotic libations. He gave PocketFives Podcast listeners the dish on his poker schedule: “It’s a nice schedule. It’s basically 10:00am or 11:00am until 9:00pm or 10:00pm. We have all night to do whatever we want, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again. There are a whole lot of people in Playas del Coco, where I live… I hang out with a bunch of poker players here. I’d start naming them, but there are 25 of them now.”
He rattled off nearly 10 roommates and described his Costa Rican beach digs: “I have a house on the beach. I can literally throw a rock into the ocean from my back door. It has to have something to do with how much success we’ve had. We have this outdoor patio that we call the ‘birdcage‘ because we call our poker tournaments ‘birds.’ We sit out there and grind in the birdcage.” The result: He’s up to nearly $200,000 in tracked cashes in February.
Costa Rica is quite tropical and filled with monkeys, birds, and lizards. What’s not to like? “It’s different here,” Hunichen remarked. “The food is pretty much one of the only things I had a problem with in Costa Rica. Other than that, everything is perfectly amazing. The nightlife is cool. We’re in a beach town, so all of the bars are outdoors. It’s all open space, outside. It’s different than going to Vegas and having nightclubs… There’s a lot of dancing. Costa Ricans love to dance.” His hometown has about 5,000 residents, and we’re sure Hunichen loves to dance as well.
Hunichen told listeners that he started in poker eight or nine years ago: “I started like everyone else – I used to put $100, $200, or $300 on and usually lose it. I was playing $5 MTTs on PokerRoom… That’s when I really wasn’t involved with the game like I am now.” He has been active on PocketFives for the last half-decade and has contributed nearly 400 posts to the site.
Despite his cavalcade of wins – and according to Hunichen, he has shipped “hundreds” of MTTs – his first victory still stands out: “Back in 2003, I was living in North Carolina and went to Charlotte to go to a Panthers game. My college alma mater, ECU, was playing on that Saturday in the same stadium, so I took a couple friends down there and we were at the Embassy Suites. I won a $5 MTT on PokerRoom for $400, I believe. It was one of the coolest things that had ever happened at the time.”
Finally, one member of the online poker community asked Hunichen what changes he’s made to his game since moving to Costa Rica: “Bet-sizing is very important in poker. I used to play a little more scared. I used to do a little more pot control… When I moved down here, Gettin Daize (pictured) and I started working on our games, and that was one of the flaws he found in mine – I needed to adapt a little differently to betting styles… My results have dramatically increased. It’s been a world of difference.”
He owns the ninth best PLB score worldwide and the eighth best Pro Poll mark. Hunichen is just seven spots away from owning the title of #1 player in the galaxy: “I’ve been hitting some big scores lately, so it’s possible [I’ll make a run at #1]. I do want to get first. I want to make that a goal of mine… I’m not going to be overly aggressive with it, though… Money is way more important than the Rankings.”
Listen to this month’s PocketFives Poker Podcast.