Loosely translated from Portuguese, it means “let’s play some cards”. Over the past few years it’s become a battle cry for Brazilian poker players as they’ve dominated the world of online poker tournaments. That’s been no more apparent than during the first seven events of the World Series of Poker Online on GGpoker.
Four times during those first nine events, the last player standing has been flying the familiar green and yellow Brazilian flag. It all started in Event #2 ($1,111 Caesars Cares) where former #1-ranked PocketFiver Joao Simao took home $206,075 and his first WSOP bracelet.
Simao is a known commodity in the poker world as one of the most successful Brazilian poker players of all time, but the other two winners aren’t. They are amongst the scores of talented players – pro and amateur – that call Brazil home.
Just three days later, Thiago Crema, considered by some to be the best-kept secret of the Brazilian online poker scene, then made sure everybody knew his name when he won his first bracelet by shipping Event #4 ($800 Double Chance No Limit Hold’em) for $161,637).
“He started to play poker seriously in 2010 when he was still a chess player,” said Victor Marques, one of Brazil’s leading poker commentators. “Then he made it to Sit and Go Team Pro which was the team that gave birth to 4-bet, where Crema is both instructor and shareholder. He is very respected for his knowledge about the game in Brazil and outside.Yuri A phenomenon.”
The vociferous Brazilian poker community only had to wait another three days before they had another reason to cheer – and this time it wasn’t even a pro. Eduard Pires, a businessman from Parana State – the same as Crema – beat out 5,436 other entries in Event #7 ($1,500 Millionaire Maker) to pocket $1,384,013.
“He owns a beer company and plays poker for fun since many years ago. He already made it to three-handed on a huge online tournament against ‘European’ and ‘C Darwin2’, getting the silver medal,” Marques said. “He was on holiday and playing the WSOP from his mobile at Foz do Iguaçu, home of Iguassu Falls. A great guy.”
Another four days passed and then another Brazilian came through. Lucio Lima shipped Event #9 ($525 Superstack Turbo Bounty NLHE) for $95,205. His victory is just another piece of an already incredible year.
The wins aren’t the only signs of success. Through those same 11 events, a pair of Brazilian players have finished in the runner-up spot and four others have made final tables. Renan Carlos Bruschi – who won PocketFives Player of the Month for July – came in second place in Event #2 ($2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship) while the most high-profile may have come on Sunday night when GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos finished runner-up in Event #12 ($1,000 Double Stack NLHE).
The deep runs are also mean long nights of celebration for Marques and some of his friends at SuperPoker, one of Brazil’s leading poker media outlets. Hosting final table coverage on SuperPoker’s Twitch channel gives him the chance to straddle the line between commentator and fan.
“Hosting Brazilian final tables is such a thrill. Our audience is sending comments and rooting all the time on chat, big numbers, and lots of times there are friends of mine playing,” Marques said. “I’m doing It for years, but I keep getting emotional at all-ins and when we get first place.”
The dominance of Brazil in the early part of the WSOP Online shouldn’t come as any real surprise to anybody who has followed the PocketFives Rankings over the past several years. Not only has Yuri Dzivielevski held down the #1 spot for the last 21 weeks, but three of the top 10 are from Brazil.
Beyond that, nine of the top 25 and 35 of the top 100 ranked online poker players in the world fly the green and yellow. Marques believes that’s just the tip of the iceberg and there’s a few names who might just be flying under the radar, ready to grab gold.
“In Brazil, there are a lot of talents appearing every single day. I would keep an eye on Dante Goya (from Ceará state, PLO Expert), Guilherme Decourt (from São Paulo, also PLO Expert), Bernardo ‘betsoares’ Soares (from Santa Catarina), and Eduardo Silva (from Minas Gerais),” Marques said. “Along with Pedro Padilha, Kelvin Kerber, Belarmino Prado, Bruno Botteon, Bruno Volkmann, Pablo Brito, Rafael Moraes, Peter Patrício, João Simão, Yuri Martins Dzivielevski, they can bring some bracelets home.”
A strong contingent of Brazilians usually descends upon Las Vegas every summer for the WSOP. While the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc, international travel could prove to be difficult this fall and Marques believes his fellow countrymen and women might not be able or willing to fly to the United States.
“In Brazil, instead of supporting a vaccine, our president was promoting a medicine that was proven ineffective. That took a toll,” Marques said. “Vaccination started later than other countries and now players who usually are ‘starters’ at WSOP tables are struggling to get the vaccine and the VISA. I think more than a half of standard Brazilian players are staying home because of that problem.”