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  1. Late last month, Brazil's Luciano Santos de Hollanda (pictured), known as LucianoHollandaon PocketFives, earned his $1 million cash badge. He is the top-ranked player in the city of Curitiba and told us he's "feeling really good" about his brand new profile badge. Perhaps even more importantly, Hollanda is "even more excited about the game." --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "I feel more confident for sure," Hollanda told PocketFives about his mindset going forward. "Every time I get a nice result, I feel I need to study more, play more, and use that energy to get better results." Just about all of his tracked scores have come on PokerStars, where you can find him competing under the screen name Luciano S.H. Last May, Hollanda was part of a four-way chop of a $215 No Limit Hold'em SCOOP event and earned $110,000. He officially came away with the win as well and what remains his largest tracked cash to date. The tournament had nearly 6,000 entrants and PocketFivers laid claim to one-third of the prize pool. "It was really important to my career," Hollanda said of the SCOOP bracelet. "I always wondered how a big hit could change my poker career and when it finally happened, I noticed that it made me more confident. I realized I could do much more with my poker career." As a result, he played higher buy-in games and enlisted the help of a few poker coaches to fine-tune his skills even further. Speaking of coaches, Hollanda worked with Yuri "theNERDguy" Martins (pictured) and was able to enter a few higher-stakes games online. He explained, "Online, I could play the high-stakes tournaments I was not used to playing and had a really good time adjusting to those very good regulars. I also played live poker. I played a few WSOP events last year and went to the PCA. I would have never imagined playing in those live tournaments until SCOOP happened." The Brazilian is headed back to Las Vegas for the WSOPthis year. In fact, his flight is on the second-to-last day of May. "I'm looking forward to feeling more prepared and, with more experience, I believe I can make a final table this year," he previewed. "I will be playing more tournaments this year than last year, when I played a few events, but didn't cash." Hollanda will hit the pillow each night at Ariaduring the WSOP and, while it requires a ride to the Rio each day, he said, "I think it's important to have a good and comfortable night of sleep before playing." We wanted to close our interview by heralding the Brazil pokercommunity on PocketFives, which has managed to reach #4 in our Country Poker Rankings with a combined PLB score of its top 20 players of 101,199 points. We've interviewed countless Brazilians for feature articles and the nation has been flush with not only World Cup fever, but also poker fever. "Lately, poker in Brazil has become very popular and the professional poker players have become way more respected," Hollanda asserted. "Lots of new, good players are appearing and making the Brazilian image to the world a better one. There are very good poker teams and coaches here now." See who else has managed to get $1 million in tracked scores. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Last month, Bernardo bediasDias (pictured) came away with the win in the PokerStars Sunday Millionand boosted his bankroll by $233,000. It was the largest Sunday score for any PocketFiver that week and Dias defeated PokerStars player RudiTurbo heads-up in the 7,789-entrant field. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "It was unbelievably amazing," Dias gleaned about his Sunday Million title. "Sometimes I tried to imagine how it would be winning the Sunday Million, but I couldn't imagine it would be like that. I felt really happy and relieved about the score." His tracked online cash total stands at $2.3 million and his two largest scores have come courtesy of the Sunday Million. As far as his plans for the money, Dias told us he plans to travel and invest in his career and his well-being. "For me, there's no better way to enjoy your money," he said. The Brazilian has exactly 4,800 in the money finishes for an average of $488 apiece. Eighty percent of his winnings have come on PokerStars. He was third in chips when the final table of the Sunday Million started and said, "Good players were on my left, but I managed to use the best strategy I could and open raise and 3bet the best spots. When we were three-handed, I was second in chips and we paused the game to see the numbers, but the chip leader wanted more. So, we resumed, I busted him in third place, and then had a big chip lead heads-up, which was over in six hands." Dias said the $233,000 score won't affect his online poker career too much, but he'll now have a bankroll to play just about any game he wants to. "It'll give me more chances to hit a big score in live tournaments as well," he commented. According to the Hendon Mob, Dias has $81,000 in live scores, including an LAPT Punta del Este final table in 2010 for $31,000. Speaking of live events, the World Series of Poker begins in one month from the Rio in Las Vegas. "I went to the WSOP the last two years and it didn't go the way I wanted it to," he admitted. "For us Brazilians, it's not the best EV because of taxes on our prizes. EPT events have much better value, for example. But still, winning a bracelet could mean a lot, so I'll probably play some there this year, especially the PLO8 tournaments." Dias has one WSOP in the money finish on his poker resume. Dias is the tenth-ranked player in the Brazil pokercommunity, a group that stands at #5 worldwide in our Country Poker Rankings. "Poker is becoming really big in Braziland the process has been quick too. I'm still very impressed with how many people congratulated me because of an online win and cannot imagine how it would be if it were a big live tournament. This recognition is so nice! I'm definitely looking forward to other big career achievements like that." The year is only four months old and Dias still has a lot to look forward to in 2014. He told us, "I'm very happy with friends and students I coach from the Bedias Poker Team. I am planning to expand it and have more people playing backed for me. I also want to play bigger tournaments more often, especially live ones. If I hit a big score this year, that's excellent. If not, that's fine too. I will keep going and my time will come." The Sunday Million runs weekly on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through PocketFives' link and make a deposit to get one free month of PocketFives MTT Training. You'll also get a 100% up to $600 sign-up bonus. Click here for PocketFives' PokerStars link. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Last month, Felipe BarakyTavares (pictured) finished third in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up. While many players would be excited to find $47,000 sitting in their laps, Tavares wanted more, telling PocketFives, "It could have been better. I had an edge over the other two guys, but it went like that, so I'm fine. In poker, we're only really satisfied with first place." This is Tavares' second biggest score, trailing only a $79,000 hit for final tabling the Sunday Million in June. Therefore, he has been on a record pace as of late and plans to spend much of his newfound bankroll on the poker tables: "I believe I can still have $30,000 swings, so the best investment I can make right now is on myself." He also plans to sink some of his poker money into the live felts, specifically the EPTand WSOP. Why would he venture into the live world? Money, of course. He said, "These series are very huge. You don't see such large guaranteed prizes online often." As we said, the Brazilian, who calls the town of Manhuacu home, took fourth in the Sunday Million two months ago for almost $80,000. "I felt I was ready and was deserving of such a prize," Tavares said of his largest online tournament score to date. "It was the culmination of my game and evolution since I started playing professionally. Now, I'm safer to play higher stakes and withstand the variance without being affected psychologically." If his screen name doesn't sound familiar, you might recognize Tavares as Lagrecassoon PokerStars and Astrokreepon 888 Poker. He started playing poker in home games and, soon after that, hit up freerolls on PokerStars. He narrated, "While I was playing frerolls, I'd watch some small- and mid-stakes cash game tables and realized I could play better than them." He was gifted a $50 bankroll and started in late 2010. By the time 2013 rolled around, he left university halfway through. There, he was studying law, but decided to pursue poker full-time. He explained that if he weren't playing poker for a living, he'd likely still be depending on himself, and himself only, to make a living: "I'd be studying the stock exchange, forex, sports betting, or trading – anything where I could work for myself and depend only on myself to grow." According to Tavares, being self-critical has helped him leapfrog his competition over the years and accelerate his growth. He admitted, "If I were playing only for the money, I'd have stopped evolving a long time ago. If I make a relevant mistake, I get really disappointed and think about it for a long time, so I write down every single spot." Tavares is one of 2,555 registered PocketFives members from the Brazil poker community and is currently the 52nd ranked player in the South American nation. He has nearly $350,000 in online tournament scores to his credit and has been a member of PocketFives since late last year. The Sunday Warm-Up runs weekly on PokerStars. If you don't have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of PocketFives Training with no signup fee. Click here to create your account. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. On the final weekend of July, Brazil's capotinha(pictured) took down the PokerStars Sunday $100 Rebuy outright for $49,000. There were about 900 entrants in the tournament, which offered up a prize pool of $265,000. It was his largest online tournament cash by a factor of three and has helped drive his career total to just south of $1 million. PocketFives: Tell us how you're feeling about winning the PokerStars $100 Rebuy. capotinha: It feels really good. This was the biggest prize I've ever won in my career. It's also a very tough tournament, so I guess I feel even happier for winning it. PocketFives: Can you walk us through how the tournament went in general? capotinha: I'm a regular in the daily $100 Rebuy, so I already had a good idea of the structure, money bubble, and final table bubble. Just after the add-on, I was able to keep a comfortable stack, making me able to put some pressure on those who were worried about the bubble. After the bubble, I quickly got to be chip leader and then got on the semi-final table with a very comfortable stack, looking for spots to pressure the medium stacks, which helped me get to the final table with 80+ big blinds, while six other players at the final table had fewer than 20. The payout differences in this tournament are huge, so I was in a really good spot to put some pressure on everyone all the time. This happens a lot in this tournament and almost every reg has the skills to do the same when they are in the same spot with a big stack, so I had to do it. This is also one of the reasons this tournament is so tough. PocketFives: You're nearing $1 million in online scores. Talk about reaching that milestone. capotinha: I never looked at this number as something special. I'm always looking to be the best I can on a day-by-day basis. I think this school of thought is essential to making you a solid player. The big hits will happen sooner or later, but you shouldn't play looking for them or going after a number like $1 million in all-time cashes, else you might end up with frustration. PocketFives: We've interviewed many successful poker players from Brazil. Talk about how poker is viewed there and how much the Brazil poker community has grown. capotinha: Brazilians are getting better every day in poker and I think this is due to some inherent characteristics of Brazilians like charisma, happiness, and comfort. In the poker world, I see Brazil as united people who look for each other and cheer for fellow players from the country. You look at a WSOP final table like it's a World Cup final; you cheer at every hand won, every bet, and every fold. Everything is a reason to be happy and show your emotions, just like in football. I really think that's the most unique thing we have. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker? capotinha: I started years ago during college around 2005 while I was playing something like "Age of Empires" late at night. Someone said in the chat, "I'm gonna play another game, poker." This made me curious and fascinated. I didn't know about poker at all and this guy sent me a link to a site where I could play sit and gos for free and still win real money. I felt at the top of the world after playing a long, late session and winning 32 cents! I remember looking for a calculator and converting US Dollars to my local currency to see how much I had won in one night. I thought, "This is a dream. I didn't do anything special, yet I won all this!" After some time, what was then just a game turned into a real job and I'm very proud of winning my parents' and friends' confidence about this fascinating world that many can't understand because of all the myths and preconceptions that society still has about poker. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? What else interests you? capotinha: I like spending time with my girlfriend and friends. At least once a week, we go out to see the sun, drink some tea, and appreciate life. I live in Caxias do Sul (pictured), a city in Southern Brazil, but I have lived in other two cities in the last six years, so I have friends there as well and, as much as I can, we meet each other for some barbecue and beer. I love music, computers, video games, and, of course, football. Even if there's a second-division game from a distant country going on TV, I'll probably be watching it. PocketFives: Is there anything you'd like to add? capotinha: Thank you, PocketFives, for the interview and thank you to all the Brazilians who know me and know how much I am dedicated to do better every day. The Sunday $100 Rebuy runs weekly on PokerStars. Sign up for PokerStars through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of PocketFives Training with no sign-up fee. Click hereto get started.
  5. One of the charming aspects of the World Series of Poker is that it is truly a world event. Players come from around the globe to take part in the tournament and one of those players, Brazil's Luis Assuncao, was poised to make a move toward becoming the first Brazilian World Champion. He is known on PocketFives as eduardogarla and ultimately took 34th place in the 2014 WSOP Main Event for $230,000. In 32nd place at the start of Day Six of the 2014 WSOP Main Event, Assuncao, under his official name of Luis Eduardo Assuncao Garla on the Hendon Mob database, had built up a nice resume over the previous year of play. His first tournament cash came at the 2013 Colombia National Poker Championship, a part of the Latin American Poker Tour, where he finished in 52nd place. Things got a bit better for Assuncao during the Brazilian Series of Poker, where he made two final tables. Assuncao was also a part of the field that cashed in a $5,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament at the 2014 WSOP, where he finished in 67th place. Assuncao somehow escaped the official WSOP standings through the first two days of the tournament, but on Day 3 he emerged as the 93rd place stack with 481,500 in chips. The Brazilian would move up the standings on Day 4, finishing the day off with 1.253 million in chips, and would more than double his stack in finishing Day 5 with a healthy 2.785 million in chips. The history of Brazil pokerplayers is a small one. Andre aakkariAkkari, a WSOP bracelet winner in 2011, and Alexandre Allingomes Gomes, a WSOP bracelet winner in 2008, lead the brief list of Brazilians who have achieved poker's most noteworthy achievement. If Assuncao were able to make the run to the World Championship at the WSOP, he would supplant them as Brazil's greatest poker champion and perhaps begin a poker boom in that South American country.
  6. The MicroMillions Main Event on PokerStarsbrought out almost 58,000 entrants, each paying $22. The result was that the $1 million guaranteed tournament ended up with a $1.1 million prize pool and, in the end, Diego dilimaa Lima (pictured) from Brazil walked away with a third place finish for $57,000, or 2,590 times his buy-in. "I'm feeling great," Lima told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "It was my biggest score and came a short time into me playing full-time." It was his largest cash by a factor of nine and he started playing full-time in March. He commented that the MicroMillions Main Event was "just like any other Sunday Major," saying, "I started without any real hopes, with 57,000 entrants, but all of sudden there were fewer than 1,000 people left and it started to seem like I could make it." Everyone who made the final table got at least $8,900 and the tournament itself ended in a two-way chop. As far as the money goes, Lima said that his plans are to "keep playing low-stakes with my team and try to make it again." What kind of game plan can a person have when it comes to playing in a tournament with almost 58,000 entrants? Lima remarked, "I tried to keep playing well without making big mistakes and then, in the end, it was really unusual. Everyone was folding down to two big blinds waiting for A-A. I tried to open as many hands as possible and chip up." Before playing poker for a living, Lima was a law student. After taking on a few internships, he met fellow Brazilians hneves182and sydens (pictured) and joined up with them to begin his ascent up the poker ladder. Lima is one of 36 PocketFivers with a PLB score from the coastal city of Salvador. As we mentioned, Lima hadpreviously studied law, so when asked how his friends and family took the news that he'd instead be playing poker full-time, he told us, "Everybody criticized me for poker's insecurity and the general instability associated with the game, but I stood my ground and tried to show that I was serious about it." We suspect the doubters have quieted following his MicroMillions haul. Lima got into poker originally after watching the James Bond flick "Casino Royale" (2006 version pictured) and began hitting up micro-stakes games with friends after football. As he said, "Everybody played for fun, but I tried to make the most of it and turn a profit from them every week." He has since amassed almost 700 in the money finishes in online MTTs. Finally, outside of poker, Lima enjoys watching movies, following television series, playing basketball, and going to the beach. Who doesn't like going to the beach, anyway? The MicroMillions and other major poker series run on PokerStars. Sign up for PokerStars through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of PocketFives Training with no sign-up fee. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. Brazil's Bruno Politano finished Day 5 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event with 5,475,000 in chips, which was good enough for fourth place with 79 players remaining. Although Politano was not a household name prior to his 2014 Main Event run, he has had some success playing live poker tournaments, amassing over $110,000 in cashes. Politano's biggest cash going into the Main Event was in October 2013, when he finished in second place in the Brazilian Series of Poker Main Event for over $47,000. Politano was in the chip lead for almost two hours on Day 5 after hitting set-overset before the Day 5 dinner break against Zach Jiganti. The action was 4bet pre-flop, with Politano holding Kd-Kh against Jiganti's 9s-9d. Jiganti was the victim of one of the biggest coolers of the day when the flop came Ah-Ks-9h, giving both players a set. It was inevitable that all the chips would eventually go in the middle of the table and Politano found his stack soar from about 2.2 million in chips to close to 5 million. While still having the chip lead, Politano battled it out in a pre-flop betting war against American poker player Adam Coats. Politano raised from the cutoff to 52,000 in chips with the blinds at 12,000/24,000 with Ah-Kc. Coats responded by shoving his entire 500,000+ chip stack in with Th-Ts, which Politano quickly called. It appeared that Coats might find himself with over a million chips when the board came 3s-3c-2h-Qc. However, luck was not on Coat's side when the Kd spiked on the river, shipping a healthy pot to Politano and sending Coats to the showers.
  8. On the first weekend of November, Brazil's Thulio Colle, known on PocketFives as MRCOLLE(pictured), hit it big in the PokerStars Sunday Million, chopping the tournament four ways and bagging $133,000. "I'm very happy because I've been devoting myself to poker for some time now, about two years, and the Sunday Million is what every player wants to do well in," Colle told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. Colle was in the zone down the stretch in the $215 buy-in tournament, which that week attracted over 7,100 entrants: "Everything went well. I was focused on it from 100 players on and when there were 18 left, I was the chip leader. When the final table was formed, I was second in chips, but soon took the lead again and pressed opponents with short and medium stacks." Colle lost a major blind-versus-blind hand with A-9 against A-4 despite being a heavy favorite. Four-handed, he was third in chips and decided to do a deal that essentially gave him second place money. Speaking of the Benjamins, Colle said of his plans, "Part of it I will invest in my bankroll and I'll save the rest. The life of a poker player is not easy and the months are not all good. I know there is variance in the game and have to be prepared for it." Colle is up to $437,000 in career online tournament winnings, nearly all of which has come on PokerStars. His younger brother Thiago was responsible for bringing him into the magical world of online poker. "He once organized a home game and I had a great time on my very first try," Colle said. "I was amazed by the game. Later on, searching the internet, I realized poker was more than luck. When you play, you are fully immersed in a tough and competitive atmosphere, but I was sure you could play poker for a living and become a professional." Colle eventually met up with fellow PocketFiver AmarulABr, whose real name is Leandro Balotin. He also started getting coaching from Brazilian AlexGelinski (pictured) and said, "Back then, I used to play $1 to $10 MTTs and $4.50 180-man sit and gos. I had such good results that after reaching a certain volume in these games, I applied to get in the best and most popular team in Brazil. I joined in March 2013. I learned, and am still learning a lot, from the coaches." He can be found at #384 worldwide in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, 71 off his all-time high of #316. He plays poker full-time, is married, and enjoys hanging out with his family, traveling, sleeping, and having dinner with friends when he's not firing up the virtual tables. At this point in the interview, we hit on a solid title. "The key to winning large-field MTTs is to play a lot; play as much as you can and eventually a deep run in a major tournament will show up. When that happens, you will feel prepared and confident. Going deep in the Sunday Million is the dream of every online poker player. It was truly fantastic to get this huge result in so short of a career." Let's talk about poker in Brazil now. The South American nation is #4 in PocketFives' Country Poker Rankingswith a combined PLB score of its top 20 players of 106,053 points. Brazil has 46 Triple Crowns, the fourth most of any country, and there are 1,021 registered members who call it home. Check out our Brazil poker community. The Sunday Million runs weekly on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. On Monday, the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event will resume from Las Vegas with the November Nine. The short stack in the room will be Brazil's Bruno Politano, but according to WSOP officials, he'll have the largest rail in the Penn and Teller Theaterat 120 friends and family (and potentially more). He'll be repping 888 Poker at the final table. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by William Hill Poker, one of the largest skins on the iPoker Network. The poker room offers a generous welcome package including a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000 and a superb VIP program. PocketFivers will love playing in the site's €1 million guaranteed iPOPS series, which runs through November 9. Visit William Hill today! --- "I'm feeling good," Politano told PocketFives on Thursday. "I have a lot of emotions. I am very, very excited. I'm at the Rio. I came into Vegas on Wednesday. I have been welcoming my family and friends since then. I'm really relaxing." Politano and the eight other members of the November Nine are vying for a $10 million top prize. As we said, Politano was given 120 tickets for friends and family in the 1,200-seat Penn and Teller Theater. He told PocketFives that he might have around 140 railbirds and added, "There are a lot of fans who are coming out to support me. I have played poker for 11 years and have a lot of poker friends in Brazil. It's a big moment, not just for me, but also for all my fans." Politano is the first November Niner from Brazil. As such, he has already made history, but commented that plenty of other Brazilians have made waves in major poker tournaments: "I'm the first November Niner, but there are other players from Brazil who have played big tournaments. In the coming years, we'll have more Brazilians make the final table of the Main Event. I'll have a rail screaming for me, but there won't be too much pressure. I'll do my best. I'll play poker and god knows what will happen." Jorryt Van Hoofis the November Nine chip leader with a stack of 38.3 million. Politano is stacked with 12.1 million and just ahead of him is Sweden's Martin Jacobson (pictured), who has 14.9 million. Interestingly, Politano told PocketFives that Jacobson will be the toughest opponent: he'll face "He has the same stack as me, but is more experienced. He's the best opponent at the table." If Politano wins, it's off to XS Nightclub at the Wynn in Las Vegas, which he called "the best nightclub in the city." On what he'd do following a $10 million score, he told us, "My rail and I are going to XS at the Wynn. It's the best club in Vegas. I don't have any plans for the money though. My family has what it needs to live. I have a plan to win my bracelet first. That's the only thing I'm focused on. I'll worry about the rest later." If you've ever played tournament poker or watched it in person, you know it's a grind. There's a whole lot of folding and a whole lot of inactivity, which can make it difficult for players to stay focused. "I've played poker for 11 years, so staying focused comes naturally to me," Politano said. "Sometimes I go talk to my rail and take a quick break. It's impossible to spend your time 100% focused for 11 or 12 or 13 hours. I usually turn it off and then turn it on." Politano's poker coach is PocketFiver Ariel Bahia (pictured), who will be relaying him information on other players' hole cards while the tournament airs on a delay on ESPN2 on Monday. "He'll be watching and talking to me and telling me what cards my opponents have," Politano said. "Everyone will have that information, but it's good to have a change in strategy." Finally, we asked Politano who his favorite Brazilian of all-time is. There are plenty of people to choose from and the country has gained even more recognition after hosting this year's World Cup. His choice: Ayrton Senna, a former master of the Monaco Grand Prix. "He is very focused and very determined," Politano said. "He doesn't have the best car, but he has the best preparation, the best focus, and the best arms for a pilot. He's an inspiration for me." Catch all of the action from this year's November Nine right here on PocketFives. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600 deposit bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and a free PocketFives t-shirt delivered to your doorstep. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  10. Last month, Brazil's Kelvin Kerber (pictured), who is known as kelvin_fparon PocketFives, chopped the PokerStars Sunday $100 Rebuy heads-up and earned $50,000, the largest amount given out. "I'm really happy about it," Kerber told PocketFives. "I had been chasing a result like that for a while. The chop was well-timed because I just bought a house for my mother." Son of the Year award! Four-handed, talk of a chop came up, but no deal occurred until there were two players left. As Kerber relayed, "You don't play heads-up very often for that amount of money, so it was nice to take the variance out of the way." The field that week numbered 1,017 and the tournament bested its $200,000 guarantee by 50%. Kerber said his mom had always wanted a new house: "It was the least I could do. I stopped playing live tournaments, decided what would be the highest buy-ins online I'd play, decided the maximum bankroll I'd have to play those games, and everything I had in my bankroll over that I'd save in a standard bank account. I thought it'd take two years to save enough money." He bought the house two weeks prior to his Sunday $100 Rebuy chop and paid half in cash and the other half via a mortgage. He finished second in the PokerStars Big $162 in October for $17,000 and is up to $1.3 million in career online tournament winnings. He is an MTT player by trade and said that in January 2013, he was starting on his own and played small- and mid-stakes events during the Brazilian Series of Poker and Latin American Poker Tour. "I didn't do very well live," he admitted, "so in the beginning of this year, I decided not to play any more live poker. I don't play cash games at all, just MTTs. I call myself a grinder and have a 1,000 games per month goal." His average buy-in is $45, which he labeled "something close to everything except $500 MTTs and up." He started playing poker in 2010 for play money and ultimately beat out seven other people in a $1 buy-in tournament to win $4, which started his real money career. He told us, "Since then, I played lot of micro-stakes sit and gos, started reading about poker, and studied until August 2011, when I got invited to play MTTs backed for a big stable. I had a friend who was playing for them and he said nice things about me and they thought I could learn the game. I started playing up to $11 tournaments and that's how it all began." Kerber is one of 1,760 PocketFivers with PLB scores from Brazil and sits at #11 in the South American nation. He is one shy of his all-time high worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings at #142. The Sunday $100 Rebuy runs weekly on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. The final results for the PocketFives January Monthly PLBare in. The award recognizes the person with the most number of PLB Points generated in January and, for the second time in his career, Brazil's joaomathias (pictured) has won. He tallied 2,970.46 points during the month, leading the second place player by 100. His largest score during January came in at 269.68 points after a third place finish in the PokerStarsSunday $109 Rebuy for $27,000. To open January, he landed in third place in the kickoff W Series event on Winamaxfor $23,000 and 263 PLB Points. Other highlights during the first half of January included a final table in the Full Tilt Super Sized Sunday for $11,000 and a runner-up showing in the Big $109 for $14,000. During the second half of the month, joaomathias won the PokeStars $109 Cubed for $6,400, finished third in the Big $109 for $12,000, final tabled the Super Tuesday, won the PokerStars.fr Night on Stars for $6,200, and finished second in that site's Sunday Six-Max. Here's how the top 10 finishers looked in January: 1. joaomathias – 2,970.46 points 2. Big Huni – 2,869.34 points 3. x_zola25 – 2,651.05 points 4. PokerKaiser – 2,545.29 points 5. rodrigorpv – 2,524.77 points 6. OU_dlanger610 – 2,497.62 points 7. Smeckten – 2,459.63 points 8. mjw006 – 2,397.16 points 9. inhoo – 2,386.34 points 10. neverfoldQ5 – 2,351.11 points joaomathias' first Monthly PLB title came in July 2011 and was worth 2,313 points. This is the 13th Monthly PLB win for the country of Brazil, which sits in fourth place in the PocketFives Country Poker Rankings. joaomathias is up to $5.6 million in career online tournament cashes and plays as TDurdenWAR on PartyPokerand TAGvsLAGon Winamax. Congrats to joaomathias on his second Monthly PLB title! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. Last week, 888 Pokerhosted the PocketFives Open. We had well over 200 players enter including two 888 sponsored pros: Bruno Politano (pictured) and Sofia Lovgren. The former finished eighth in last year's World Series of Poker Main Event and said of that experience, "It was the best experience of my life. It was amazing! I wish all professional poker players could live that experience one day in their lives. It's unreal." Politano made almost a million dollars from the WSOP Main Event and said he learned that life is "full of good times. We should take of all of them the best possible way; we need to enjoy all of the good moments." He has since final tabled a Six-Max WSOP event in Australia. Let's get back to the PocketFives Open for a minute. 888 generously added $2,500 in cash to the prize pool. While it certainly didn't come close to the WSOP Main Event, Politano told us, "The Open was a good experience. There were a lot of players talking with me in the chat, which was a lot of fun." He busted in fourth place after an ill-fated semi-bluff. Impressively, his 888 partner in crime, Lovgren, also cracked the top 15 and finished 11th. The Brazil pokercommunity on PocketFives has almost 3,000 registered members, who have combined winnings in excess of $250 million. "I believe poker in Brazil has changed," Politano commented about the game in his home country. "Everybody now plays poker and tries to find tournaments to play online. Poker has also won a lot of space on media channels like magazines and radio." Brazil is #4 in PocketFives' Country Poker Rankingswith a combined PLB score of its top 20 members of 99,930 points. It owns 12 PocketFives Triple Crowns and its members have logged almost exactly 400,000 cashes over the years. In total, poker seems to be exploding in the South American nation. Politano got started in poker 12 years ago with his friends from university. While he was coming up in the game, he was concurrently working in the pharmaceutical industry for the US-based company Sanofi. According to ESPN, his promising poker career took a wrong turn at the 2011 WSOP. After a lackluster run in Las Vegas, "He began concentrating on a company, Couro & Cia, that sells handbags, shoes, and leather accessories. As the business expanded, he opened up a store in the chic downtown area of Sao Paulo. The timing of this store was perfect, as Brazil regulated poker in 2012 and one of the most active poker cities was San Paulo." Politano remains about as determined as it gets in the poker industry. Accordingly, his advice for other players is to "study, study, study. Success in poker is in the information." If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through PocketFives' linksto get an enhanced 100% up to $600 deposit bonus (regularly 100% up to $400) and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  13. Late last month, Vinicius Steves (pictured), who is known on PocketFives as jason132008, took second place in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Upand bagged $61,000. That week's tournament had 2,585 entrants and the first place player, proh1t, earned $81,000. Steves explained, "It's a very important tournament, even more so for my buy-ins, and to get two great results in it make me very excited." He final tabled the Warm-Up last December for $50,000, meaning he's scooped over $110,000 from the tournament in the last four months. The scores are the largest of his poker career. "Poker is a game of constant evolution," he pointed out. "The secret is always adapting to new trends." Steves maintained that the second time final tabling the Warm-Up was more straightforward than the first, as he was more prepared and had a larger stack to work with. "I have not yet thought about what to do with the money," he said. "I prefer to keep focusing on poker. The great advantage when winning is that I can play my A-game almost all the time." Accordingly, you'll see him move up in buy-ins right away, although the jump in stakes won't be large. He is one of almost 2,000 PocketFivers with PLB scores from Braziland is ranked #27 among the group. Steves is the top-ranked player in the Brazilian municipality of Governador Valadares and said of poker in his homeland, "The game is growing in popularity here. More and more people have become interested in the game. I'm very excited about this growth because poker is something I find fascinating." Steves tends to rail his Brazilian friends and other countrymen at the final table. He told us, "Brazilians are going to continue to do very well. It makes me very happy whenever I see Brazilians at final tables. I am very happy and always cheering, but there are still many people who are ignorant about poker and think it's the same as any other game." He is approaching $330,000 in career online tournament winnings and has already passed 1,100 tracked in the money finishes. He has come a long way since getting his start at a friend's house. "I didn't even know the rules. It was taught to me at the time and it turned out that I won, which made me very excited. My game has been elevated to the level it it's at right now over the last year, which was when I started learning from Yuri Martins (pictured), which has really helped. To be able to work with him has been incredible." Martins, of course, is one of the top-ranked Brazilians and a former #1 player in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings. He's currently #19 in the world and has $4.6 million in career online MTT winnings. Before poker, Steves was an engineer, but said, "With the amount of time required in poker to study and play, I ended up locking the course and now intend to finish. Poker is what I like to do; it is my job and my hobby." He also tries to work out as often as he can. Steves closed by saying, "I did not expect to reach the level I have so fast. Surely this is something that will further motivate me, and I am always looking for great results. I wish to thank Yuri Martins, Luciano Holland, and Gustavo Kamei, who are the people who have helped me be more competitive. Thank you also to my teammates and to all who support me." Visit PocketFives' Brazil poker community to see who else is making waves from the South American nation. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  14. In June, Rafael Watanabe do Prado (pictured), aka rwpradoon PocketFives, took down the Full Tilt Sunday Major outright for $31,000. There were 620 entrants that day and the tournament fell short of its guarantee, creating a little extra value for everyone who entered. The Brazilian was one of five PocketFivers at the final table. "I'm feeling great," he told us after the fact. "Winning a Sunday Major with so many respected players is very satisfying." He'll use the money from the Full Tilt tournament to pump up his bankroll and play more tournaments. Here's how the final table cashed out: 1. rwprado - $31,875.00 (rwprado) 2. withesark - $21,750.00 3. El Spewtardo - $16,500.00 (The Spewtard) 4. checktrap11 - $12,600.00 (Checktrap11) 5. asromaclan - $9,300.00 (girex91) 6. Hellzito - $6,600.00 (hellzito) 7. llumar24 - $4,800.00 8. trapnel - $3,600.00 9. SlowPlayAlex - $2,700.00 We asked Prado for his take on the other PocketFivers in the final nine. He said, "I didn't have that many spots with girex91, but he looked like a really proficient player. hellzitois also a Brazilian player. I know him and have a lot of respect for his game. We also didn't face each other too much because he got to the final table short-stacked." He added of the third and fourth place finishers, "Checktrap11is a very aggressive and competent player. I won a hand where he got eliminated with a cooler pre-flop with K-K versus A-K. The Spewtard (pictured) was the chip leader when the final table got six-handed. He played truly aggressively and I had to work hard to adapt myself against him." In the end, PocketFivers raked in two-thirds of the prize pool. Prado recently hit $1 million in career online tournament winnings and, since our interview, has climbed to almost $1.2 million. "It's a really significant number," he relayed about the seven-digit milestone. "With the spread of poker online, the fields are getting more difficult day by day. What works for me is to play loads of tournaments, study really hard, and always be prepared to change and adapt." Prado got started in poker in 2009 in home games with friends. He recalled, "After a while, I wanted more and so I started playing online poker, studying hard, and my competitive behavior in games helped me do the rest." In addition to the Full Tilt Sunday Major, he has won the Big $162 twice, Hotter $55 twice, and 888 Sunday Challenge, just to name a few. Prado is the 22nd-ranked player from Brazil and #2 in the city of Bauru. "It's really good to see the Brazil poker community evolve so much over the last few years," he proudly boasted. "Today, we have many competent players and I'm honored to be part of this community." Besides poker, Prado enjoys traveling and recently returned from a whirlwind eight-month trip around the world. And when we say around the world, we aren't kidding. Over the course of eight months, he visited Spain, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, and Hungary. That's three continents if you're keeping track. "That trip was only possible thanks to poker because this is a job I can do in anywhere in the world," he pointed out. "I also have other hobbies like watching TV shows, playing sports, and doing other online games." He closed by sending a shout out to his friends in poker who have helped make his success possible: Rafael Moraes, Thiago Crema, Marcos Sketch, Julio Lins, Edison Roberto, and Vitor Brasil. "I owe a lot of this achievement to them," he said. "And also thank you to all of my non-poker friends and family. Thank you for the support!" Congrats to Prado on winning the Full Tilt Sunday Major! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  15. In August, Brazil's Demitri1985hit his first major career score, taking down the $11 buy-in PokerStars Sunday Storm to the tune of $17,000 after a seven-way chop. He only started playing poker full-time in the last year, but he is the latest in an ever-growing line of Brazilian players to win major tournaments. "I'm very happy with this result because it is by far my best result," he told us. "I plan to hone my game in the short-term and play more comfortably with better funds without further worries." Demitri1985 is on the verge of receiving his $100,000 cash badge. He was a fan of chopping despite the number of people involved and explained, "I was very aggressive and ran a high risk of dropping to seventh place and only receiving $2,900. When the other six players asked for a deal, I agreed because I was third in chips. I played very badly ICM-wise at the final table, so, for me, it was a great deal." The payouts in the deal ranged from $6,800 to our interviewee's $17,000. Again, this was all for an $11 buy-in. As far as the money goes, Demitri1985 plans on using the proceeds from his largest career online poker score to improve his game and play calmer and more focused in the future. He joked, "Also, my bankroll will be larger than what I'm used to." There were almost 30,000 entrants in that week's Sunday Storm, a pretty daunting number for anyone to overcome. He explained, "We have a WhatsApp group and I remember I innocently commented with them during a break that I was in 1,000th place and for every hour that passed, the penny would drop more and more about what I could do in the tournament." He added, "When I made it to the final table, it was a dream come true. I believe that every player of micro-limits on PokerStars dreams of this final table. It was a great experience." Eight of the top 25 finishers were members of PocketFives. Demitri1985 got started in poker after randomly receiving an email from a play money website. He created an account on it and fell in love with the game, so much so that he has been playing full-time for the last 11 months. He closed by saying, "I want to thank PocketFives for the interest in my biggest achievement so far and I want to give a shout out to everyone who is reading this. Good flops for everyone!" There are 2,080 Brazil poker community members on PocketFives with PLB scores and Demitri1985 is #321 among them. He's #18 in the city of Belo Horizonte. Visit PokerStars for more details on the weekly $11 buy-in Sunday Storm.
  16. Last year, Brazil played host to the World Cup. Next year, it'll host the Olympics. The South American nation has had a host of success online as well. Late last month, in fact, Guilherme Cheveau (pictured), known on PocketFives as simply CheVeaU, won the PokerStars Sunday Million after a four-way chop for $153,000. Incredibly, it was his second time chopping the Sunday staple. "I really needed that," Cheveau bluntly told us. "I was in a downswing and not feeling so good about my game. I know that win won't change anything about my game, but it's good to have some confidence." It was his fourth final table in the Sunday Million. His recent success in the tournament likely led to the Brazilian being cool, calm, and collected down the stretch. As he put it, "Probably because I've had a lot of experience in this tournament, I didn't feel nervous at all, but I still made that four-way deal after asking for some extra money. It's just too much money to flip like that. I ran pretty well also. I had a pretty bad table draw when we got to 18 left, but got some pretty good cards and they all held." In February 2014, he chopped the Sunday Million for a blistering $164,000. He has also finished ninth in it twice, once for $13,000 and once for $12,000. As far as the money goes, he said, "The economy in Brazil is terrible, so I'm probably going to put it in the bank and wait for an opportunity or perhaps get a new apartment." It sounds like he'll be using the cash responsibly either way. A funny story about his most recent Sunday Million win. He explained that two hours into the tournament, he told a friend he'd win it after missing out on the final table several times recently. His friend, however, told him he'd never win it again, only to be proven wrong within a matter of hours. "I've played poker for around 10 years now and want a final table in the Sunday Million each year, so I am still way behind my goal," he joked. He added, "I'm so competitive and love poker, so it's never enough, and I'm not just talking about the money. It's the thrill of getting to the final table and winning a tournament, beating great and well-known players in the process. It feels so good." Outside of poker, Cheveau said he used to party quite a bit, but has toned it down now that his girlfriend moved in. He explained, "Now, I would rather go to a bar or dinner with her and our friends. We still party, but a lot less." He lives in the seaside abode of Balneario Camboriu (pictured), which he resoundingly called "the greatest city in Brazil," and said, "I can leave my apartment, walk 100 meters, sit in a bar, drink a beer, and enjoy the sea." Although he's not a big fan of the Brazilian national football team, he enjoys watching Sao Paulo FC and tuned in as his country hosted the World Cup in 2014. As he put it, during the multi-week event, "Brazil simply stopped and it was like, party every day." Brazil ultimately finished fourth in the World Cup after giving up a record 14 goals. Cheveau is just a few thousand dollars shy of hitting $2 million in online MTTs for his career and was as high as #102 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankingslast year. He's #17 in Brazil and plays as VinceVegaMFRon PokerStars. He closed by thanking "everybody who cheered for me, as well as my mentors Joao Divino Dorneles Netoand Yuri Martinsfor teaching me. Also, thanks to my friend and business associate Kelvin kelvin_fpar Kerber for everything. Thank you to my girlfriend as well. If it weren't for her, I would not have played that day." Visit PokerStars for more details on the weekly Sunday Million. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  17. In recent weeks, Brazil's Joao Simao (pictured), known on PocketFives as joaosimaobh, won the PokerStars Sunday Second Chanceand Full Tilt Super Sized Sunday on the same day for a combined $60,000. He's a proud Brazilian who has successfully managed to balance poker and his family and even final table a few major live tournaments. In fact, he has $3.2 million in tracked online tournament winnings to go along with $500,000 in live cashes. That's almost $4 million total! PocketFives: Nice job winning the Sunday Second Chance and Super Sized Sunday on the same day. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Joao Simao: Thanks. I'm feeling really happy. I won two hard tournaments, so now I'll have a lot of confidence to get back to the grind, including EPT Barcelona and WCOOP. PocketFives: Tell us about the day. Why do you think it all went well? Joao Simao: Actually, my day was going very badly. I played 75 tournaments and had five cashes, including these two victories, but I played from my poker house where my horses play, study, and live. Being there makes me stronger, even more so at the end of the day. If I were playing alone with this terrible start, I probably would have played much worse. So, I think that has really helped me do my best. First I won the Super Sized Sunday, which gave me a lot of confidence and power to keep playing one table for four hours in the Second Chance. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Joao Simao: I don't have any plans for the money. I have worked hard grinding and on my poker business (my poker school in Brazil and my poker team), so I have a bankroll for my family and my grind. I probably will use the money on my team, including some new horses. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker? Joao Simao: I started playing poker in university. I was studying civil engineering, but didn't know anybody there. So, I started to make some friends. I used to hate cards and video games, but loved the money and competition of poker. PocketFives: What else do you do besides poker? What else interests you? Joao Simao: Besides poker, I enjoy being with my wife and stepson, playing sports, and now I've started wakeboarding and I'm loving it. I have been playing less during the week so I can enjoy the day. PocketFives: How happy are you with your live poker game? Joao Simao: I'm really happy with my live poker game, but don't really care about my results since my main game is online poker. I have made some big deep runs, like two EPT Main Event final tables and a WSOP final table. I also won a $2,000 Six-Max PCA tournament and made a heads-up deal at the biggest LAPT High Roller, so I feel really happy with my live game and my results. I have a family to take care of and spend time with, so I will keep playing around six live events per year, so I can't create too many expectations. That way, I'll avoid frustration. PocketFives: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Joao Simao: I want to add that I'm selecting new players for my poker team for all stakes. The only qualification is that players want to live in Florianopolis, Brazil (pictured), one of the most amazing cities in the world. If you want to play with us, study with us, and have an amazing experience, send a message to contato.joaosimao@gmail.com with the subject "MASSARI TEAM". Thanks for the interview! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  18. In recent weeks, Andrey aslamegoLamego (pictured) took down the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Upfor almost $80,000. The Brazilian was one of 2,432 players who entered that day and recorded his largest online tournament cash by a factor of five. He plays as Dr_Drey15 on PokerStars and can be found at #473 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings, his all-time high. PocketFives: Congrats on winning the Warm-Up. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Andrey Lamego: I'm extremely happy after winning such an important Sunday Major. It's been a dream since I started playing online two years ago and the day has finally arrived. PocketFives: Walk us through how the tournament went in general. Andrey Lamego: Even though it's a Major, I did not play much differently than I usually do. I doubled up five players away from the money. After that, I started to believe I could go a little further since I was playing a short stack for a while. The semi-final table was the best moment for me. I had a really comfortable stack and was able to apply a lot of pressure on the short stacks. At the beginning of the final table, already as one of the chip leaders, I got involved in and won a three-way pot holding A-K vs Q-Q vs J-J. Since I was playing a lot of hands and getting the best of most of them, I was extremely confident. That's when I lost a huge pot in a blind war where I hit a straight, but my opponent, who ended up being the runner-up, had a flush. After losing that pot, he gave me a very hard time and I had to play a lot tighter than I would have liked to, especially because of the ICM involved in a tournament like this. When we finally got to heads-up, he was about 4:1 favorite and I decided that if I wanted to have a chance, I should start taking more risks, and that's what I did. There were two hands where bluffing gave me the advantage in chips. If my opponent decided to call in one of those hands, my tournament would have been compromised and he would have had an advantage of 10-1 in chips. Fortunately, the decisive hand, a hand that might be considered a cooler in heads-up play, was in my favor and the risks paid off. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Andrey Lamego: I'm really not the kind of guy who spends a lot of money on expensive stuff. I'd rather take the money and travel somewhere with my girlfriend, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'll definitely be smart about it and save most of it for tough days. PocketFives: Will this cash change your poker career in any way? Andrey Lamego: Honestly, my daily grind will be the same. I'm going to play pretty much what I already do. The biggest difference is that this money will make my life easier during the downswings. PocketFives: How did you get into poker originally? Why was the game interesting to you? Andrey Lamego: I worked at IBM as a computer engineer. That's where I met some guys who used poker as an excuse to meet once a week and have some beers. Since I've always liked anything related to math and poker has a lot of it, it got my attention right away and that's when I started to study it. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? What else interests you? Andrey Lamego: When I'm not playing, I'm usually at home with my girlfriend and my dogs watching TV. PocketFives: Is there anyone you'd like to send a shout out to? Andrey Lamego: I really would like to thank everyone from Smart Team. They were the ones who gave me the opportunity to play poker as an online grinder. Thanks, guys. I also would like to thank a guy who is, without a doubt, one of the best friends I made in poker and someone who works with me on my game on a daily basis: Thales Koppe. He is also an MTT grinder. Last but not least, my family and my girlfriend Patricia Kim. As an MTT grinder, she is the one who knows how hard I've worked for this and she is the one who is always with me. It doesn't matter if it is after a bad day or an extremely good day, she's always there for me. She already knows this, but this victory is hers too. Love you. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  19. Last month, Brazil's Rodrigo Selouan (pictured), known on PocketFives as selouan1991, final tabled the PokerStars Sunday $109 Rebuy and walked off with $18,000. It was his fourth largest online poker score to date and rocketed him to $553,000 in career online tournament cashes. "I was very happy with this final table," he told us. "It was great to beat a field of great players and it was good for my confidence, especially so close to the WCOOP." There were over 500 entrants that weekend and the prize pool was $180,000. "I played this tournament as a freezeout," he said, "beginning with my starting stack plus a rebuy plus an add-on. I did not bust; the structure is very good and allows you to play well, so I did not need a re-entry. I think that this strategy increases my long-term EV." Selouan added that he respected ICM at the final table. Selouan joined PocketFives in 2010 and said that in 2014, he began to get coaching from fellow PocketFiver Vitor Hugo, who is better known as vitinho dzi. Selouan said it was the turning point of his poker career: "It radically changed the way I looked at poker. I'm very grateful for everything he taught me and teaches me to this day." So what exactly did Selouan (pictured) learn from Hugo? Selouan explained, "Everything I know about advanced strategies I learned from him and if I had to name the most important thing, it was learning how to base my decisions using a HUD. Today, I cannot imagine myself playing poker at a high level without a HUD." Selouan started using a Heads-Up Display, or HUD, during his lessons with Hugo. The Brazilian started playing home games with friends for fun and soon fell in love with it. He recapped, "I started studying and realized poker could be more than a hobby. You get financial, competitive, and adrenaline-related benefits. Those are my biggest motivations to keep grinding and evolving." His largest score, by the way, is a second place finish in the PokerStars Big $109 for $39,000 last November. He's averaging $230 per cash and closed by saying, "I would like to thank everyone who has always supported me in this journey: friends, family, teammates, and especially Vitor Hugo, who was the guy who helped me get here. Hopefully soon I will achieve great results and become one of the major players in Brazil." Visit PocketFives' Brazil poker community, home to 2,100 registered PocketFivers. Selouan is #27 among them. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  20. [caption width="618"] Joao 'XxJoaoFeraxX' Otavio won the Sunday Million and is using part of his winnings for live play[/caption] If you were an up-and-coming poker player who just had a pile of cash fall into his lap, what would you do with it? How would it change your career? Would you play higher stakes? Would you swim your way out of make-up? Would you stake others in hopes that they'd have a monstrous score as well? Enter Joao 'XxJoaoFeraxX' Otavio, who won the final PokerStars Sunday Million of March outright for a commanding $213,000. There were 7,124 entrants that week and he took the lion's share of the $1.4 million prize pool that was up for grabs. In the span of one afternoon, his life was changed forever. "I will surely invest my Sunday Million winnings somehow," Otavio said. "A poker player's career is very unstable and we never know when we will face a bad run. It's good to have something safe." It's not every day you get to sit back and contemplate your future knowing that you have enough in the bank to sustain a few bumps in the road. "This experience was awesome," he said. "Every single player dreams about winning a Sunday Million and my time has come. It's a great feeling. My plans now are to celebrate, set up a few pending things, and then go back to the grind. I want to enjoy the good run and get more great results this year. The hard work can't stop, and it won't stop." Currently, poker is his only source of income, making a big hit like the Sunday Million even more meaningful. "I just play poker nowadays," the Sao Paulo resident said. "That's my only activity and income source and that won't change much, even with the Sunday Million. What will change in my career is that I will have more safety for an eventual bad run. My daily routine online won't change either. I'll probably make a few more trips to play live tournaments, though." He only has a handful of live cashes to his credit, according to the Hendon Mob, so that area of his game is almost wholly untapped. And, as he said, with a $213,000 windfall and $831,000 in career winnings, now seems like as good of a time as any to take the training wheels off his live game. "Right now, I only play Brazilian Series of Poker events and don't travel abroad to play, so I'd really like to play some Latin American Poker Tour events," he said. "I don't have any specific places I'd like to go except the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas and World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, but that's another step." "I really like to play live tournaments because I think the real essence of the game is there," the Sunday Million champ said. "Despite the fact that I love playing online, live poker is way more exciting. And I believe it must be great to hit a big live score, so I want to know how it feels. I know it's not cheap to travel and play." You know what could take the sting out of the high cost of travel? $213,000. As he said, he believes the essence of the game exists more in live poker than online. "We've always heard that in poker you have to play the player before the cards," he said. "Is there a better place to prove that's true than in a live tournament, in an atmosphere where everybody is breathing the game, handling their emotions, and not willing to give any information? I think that's the essence of poker, although online poker has a lot of positive particularities as well." "My live skills have been honed and adjusted as I've played," he said. "I think experience counts a lot and I've been playing the best tournaments in Brazil for some time now. Keeping focused on every single action at the table and not distracting yourself easily are important." The major live tournaments in Brazil, a country that is increasing rapidly in poker relevance, are held in convention centers and hotels, according to Otavio. During one of his very first forays into that live world, the Brazilian had around 100 big blinds on Day 2 of a tournament and a friend of his, 'pitaoufmg', had 15. "When Day 2 was about to start, my friend joked, saying that he trusted his 15 big blinds much more than my 100," said Otavio. "After the first break, I had already busted out and he had four times his initial stack. When my friends asked me what happened, I told them about a hand I played terribly with J-7 suited. They changed it into something even worse and told everyone about the freak hand I played with J-7 offsuit. I'm still known as the 'J-7 offsuit guy' and there are thousands of versions of the hand floating around now." Now, maybe he'll be known as the Brazilian who won the Sunday Million for over 200-large. Online, Otavio also has wins in the Big $109 and Big $27.50, just to name a few. With a little momentum from his Sunday Million victory, the sky's the limit for the remainder of 2016. "My online goals are to keep my game up and play high stakes more often, which I don't play much right now. And maybe, who knows, winning a SCOOP or WCOOP? That would be awesome."
  21. [caption width="641"] Brazilians like Andre Akkari could dominate the WSOP the way they did SCOOP.[/caption] Brazilians are a very passionate people. In everything they do there is a lot of energy and intensity. When professional poker started in Brazil in 2005, some thought that those characteristics could reflect in a negative way in their performance at the tables. Fortunately, they are also very open to adaptation. And when they learned that the game requires a lot of discipline, focus, study and concentration, they changed. This year, Brazil finished the Spring Championship of Online Poker with 21 titles, leading the Events Won by Country leaderboard ahead of United Kingdom (20), Canada (14), Germany (14) and Russia (11). In 2015, Brazil had just six titles in 2015, so an additional 15 titles is a vast improvement that goes beyond the expectations of even the biggest Brazilian supporter. BRAZIL’s 2016 SCOOP BY THE NUMBERS Entrants: 52,945 Winnings: $5,947,618.78 Cashes: 7,824 Average Cash: $760.18 Final Tables: 99 Titles: 21 One interesting fact: Brazil was only fourth overall in Players by Country. Less players, more titles, amazing efficiency. And the vast majorities of those titles came in Low events, showcasing Brazil’s new generation of disciplined and focused players that can compete in the highest levels in the near future. Years ago, a “Brazilian Storm” – as the success of the Brazilians was dubbed, happened in pro surfing and it appears something similar is happening at the poker tables. "I’m really happy to see my country doing so good in SCOOP", said André Akkari, member of Team PokerStars Pro and Brazil’s biggest poker ambassador. "Poker is experiencing a boom here in Brazil in the last few years and it’s really good to see the passion that Brazilians has for the game translate into big results in the tables. We had amazing victories this year and I’m looking forward to see what we can do at WCOOP next." The highlights of the 2016 SCOOP titles for Brazilians came from Leandro 'mmleandro' Macedo victory at the Main Event Low, where he won $196.058,77, and Rafael 'GM_VALTER' Moraes achievement in Event #4 (H), $2.100 No Limit Hold’em, where he pocketed $301.625,49 for first place. Interesting fact: in both events, the heads-ups finales were all “green and yellow” with two Brazilians battling it out each time. All those numbers in one of the most important online series of poker show Brazil’s progress at the tables. The big question now is will the success of Brazilian players continue during the 2016 World Series Of Poker? The WSOP schedule offers fewer events than SCOOP but much more pressure. Given the overwhelming success they showed by taking 21 of the 168 available SCOOP titles, a bracelet or two this summer doesn’t seem to be an impossible target.
  22. [caption width="640"] Joao Simao has joined partypoker as an Ambassador[/caption] With a population of 200 million and a gambling market worth upwards of $17 billion, Brazil is a country which online poker operators have been eager to tap into. With that goal in mind, partypoker recently announced a partnership deal with Brazilian poker proJoao ‘Joaosimaobh’ Simao, who will become the new face of the site in the South American nation. Simao, who has amassed over $4.5 million in total online cashes, claimed the top spot in the PocketFives worldwide rankings earlier this year, but currently sits ninth overall. In his home country, he is second only to countryman Joao Mathias Baumgarten, who himself has $8.6 million in online earnings. Simao has banked the majority of his winnings at PokerStars, but boasts $343,684 in prize money from tournaments played at partypoker. In May, he took first place in party’s online Grand Prix for a healthy $42,643 payday. The Brazilian pro is no slouch in live tournaments either, and has banked $529,646 throughout his career. At the 2015 PCA, Simao claimed victory in the $2,200 No Limit Hold‘em Six Max event for $81,720. “I am honored to join the partypoker team and am extremely excited about what I am able to do for the Brazilian poker community with the support of partypoker,” said Simao in a release. “I look forward to representing the site that has been, and I am sure will again be, the largest in the world.” Joao, and his wife Luiza, will be fixtures at the tables on partypoker.com and will represent the brand at live events, starting with the WSOP Brazil next week. “It is a pleasure to have Joao and Luiza join partypoker as ambassadors,” said Group Head of partypoker Tom Waters. “Joao and his wife are the perfect team and we are proud that they have chosen to represent partypoker in the Brazilian market.” Indeed, Simao is passionate about growing the game of poker in his home country. The South American grinder works closely with the Massari Poker School, an academy where Brazilian players can learn how to play poker and acquire the skills needed to win at the game. partypoker, as part of the deal with Simao, will also partner with the school, where it will provide training software. “We are… thrilled at the opportunity to engage with the Massari poker school, which offers the Brazilian poker community the chance to learn how to play poker in a fun and safe environment with the real prospect of winning some incredible prizes on partypoker,” continued Waters. Simao currently has his sights set on adding more cashes to his resume at partypoker’s upcoming Caribbean Poker Party, where he’ll be donning his new sponsor’s patch. The tournament plays out in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on November 19 and features a $2 million guaranteed Main Event.
  23. [caption width="640"] Poker success has opened a whole new world for 888poker ambassador Nicolau Villa-Lobos[/caption] Nicolau Villa-Lobos has made a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event, he posted a runner-up finish to Mike Watson in the stacked High Roller field at the 2013 WSOP Europe series, but rather than travel the globe seeking only the toughest competition at the higher stakes, Villa-Lobos spends much of his time at home playing in Brazilian Series of Poker events. Over the past four years, he has cashed in 14 BSOP events, most notably a runner-up finish in the Sao Paolo Main Event in 2012 and a final table appearance in the High Roller event at the same venue in 2014. While his success in Brazil has primarily come in Sao Paolo, Villa-Lobos has different reasons why another spot is his favorite on the tour. “I love the one in Natal (in northeastern Brazil). Nice hotel in front of the beach where I can surf a bit. Amazing food in that area too. Probably my favorite,” Villa-Lobos says. He has plenty of other reasons why the BSOP is worth his time too though. “Playing poker for an extended weekend is amazing. Besides that, BSOP it's an opportunity to visit amazing cities spread Brazil and meeting great friends. So, it's a combination of those factors that makes the experience amazing.” Natalie Hof Joins Team888As mentioned though, Villa-Lobos has found plenty of success outside of Brazil. Ever since his 77th-place finish in the 2012 WSOP Main Event, Villa-Lobos has been a representative of 888 Poker, which means he has played poker all over the world promoting the brand. “Traveling the world is amazing. 888 gave me the opportunity to travel to every continent playing the best poker tournaments in the world. This is a dream for every poker player,” Villa-Lobos says. “Being around of great people is such a great experience too.” What Villa-Lobos is really looking forward to is for the glamour of these major tournaments to head home when the WSOP Circuit visits Brazil for the first-ever South American Circuit series in WSOP history. Yes, it is a competition for rings and not bracelets, but the mere presence in Brazil is a big deal for Villa-Lobos and his peers. “It's massive! Huge! Having a WSOP circuit in Brazil is a great accomplishment for both WSOP and Brazil. The WSOP is now setting foot in the most successful place if we are talking about [the growth of] live tournaments. Brazil proved that we are in love to this amazing game, and our capacity to make huge events is great. On the other hand, Brazil is going to a next level if we are talking about international poker events. Having the WSOP here is mind blowing.” When you consider the spectacle Villa-Lobos experienced in Rio this summer, his words have even more weight. He was one of many Brazilians who attended the recent Summer Olympics, and his reviews for it are even more enthusiastic than those for the Circuit. “It was amazing,” he gushes.. “It was a once in a lifetime experience to have the Games in my city. I had a busy schedule and I went to almost every sport competition. I saw Phelps, judo, handball, basketball a few times, beach volley, volleyball, and football semis and final. And I’m probably missing some out of this list!” Villa-Lobos and friends, including fellow 888 Pro Bruno Kawauti, took in all the sights and sounds of the Olympics. If you have ever seen a Brazilian rail, you realize this was a truly epic celebration. “It was a huge party for two weeks. Everywhere was super-crowded and the arenas were amazing. Can't imagine that happens the same way in other places.” In some ways, it was making up for the missed opportunities that come with the sacrifices of a busy poker travel schedule. Villa-Lobos and many mother Brazilians had to make a choice between the WSOP and the World Cup in 2014. Villa-Lobos and most others opted for the poker equivalent of the World Cup instead of the real deal. He missed the major matches, but did manage to see some of the early games before heading to Vegas. “Went to Maracanã to watch Belgium and Russia, and that was it for me. In the end, I was actually glad to be in Vegas,” he says with a laugh. Many poker pros start playing high rollers, then never go back to the smaller stakes. Villa-Lobos is not motivated by ego though. His decisions both in what events he plays and how he spends his free time is about finding the best Brazil has to offer in tandem with international travel. He understands this is how you grow poker in Brazil. You travel to raise international awareness about all the great stops and events the country has to offer, then you come home when these events run to play in them and support them.
  24. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Bruno Kawauti is one of Brazil's biggest poker stars[/caption] Bruno Kawauti Talks Planning for the Future, and Predicting it Too There are not many things where, if you take 15th place, your life is going to completely change. That is the beauty of the World Series of Poker Main Event tough. Ever since Brasil’s Bruno Kawauti finished 15th in 2013, his life, his priorities, his opportunities all completely changed. From that point forward, Kawauti has done his best to make the most of these new possibilities while still balancing a social life with his time at the poker tables. "I used to play cash online in 2013 before my deep run in the Main Event," Kawauti recalls. “I was quitting tournaments. I used to play only cash games and decided to not play tournaments at all. Then I made the semifinal table of the Main Event, I got 15th, and everything changed.” The changes included a sponsorship with 888 poker and the opportunity to play poker all over the world. He continues to take part in events near his home, including a runner-up finish in the Brasilian Series of Poker Main Event in Sao Paolo for over $92,000. He was joined at the final table with some familiar faces, including Thiago Nishijima, another Brazilian who made a name for himself at the WSOP in Vegas. Often people will try to make a story out of the competition between women in poker or players from up and coming poker communities. Such was the case with Kawauti, who became the top Brazilian finisher in WSOP Main Event history. Shortly after his run, a question came up in an interview which threw Kawauti for a loop. "I was the best Brasilian ever [in the Main Event] and there was an interview here in Brazil. The guy asked how I felt about my record and if I wanted to keep it. I said of course not. I want this record to be broken,” Kawauti said. As fate should have it, the day after Kawauti finished in 15th, he had a dream about what would happen the following year. “I had a dream that someone broke my record and it was a friend of mine and I was on the rail,” Kawauti says. Then, Bruno Politano, a friend of his, broke his record by finishing eighth and Kawauti was on hand to watch the entire thing. “I have some sick, sick dreams.” His dreams weren’t just limited to Politano either. On the first day of the WSOP in 2015, Kawauti had a dream his friend Nishijima would win a bracelet. On June 18th, Nishijima won the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event. When not predicting the future, Kawauti spends his time working on the future of his own game. With the help of a team of players he works with, including Guilherme Cheveau, Kelvin Ferber, and Fabiano Kovalski. He previously intended to focus on cash games and shift away from tournaments, but post-2013, his mindset has completely changed. “I used to mostly play live cash games here in Brasil, but I decided that if you play lived games in general, you play against worse players, but your game doesn’t improve. Online gives you that need to be better in order to beat the games,” said Kawauti. So, he joined his team and now grinds five days a week, taking scheduled breaks every Saturday and Tuesday. His Saturdays off help him rest up for a busy day of Sunday grinding. His Tuesdays are spent away from his computer too for a pragmatic reason as well. “Tuesdays are the days I lose more money,” Kawauti admits, pointing out with higher buy-in offerings, there are more experienced players in the field, making all the MTTs a little tougher than other days of the week. From 888 poker Magazine: Poker – Is it a Game, a Sport or Both? Kawauti’s discussion of why he chose tournaments gives you a glimpse into how his competitive mind operates. As he mentioned, cash games were lucrative, but didn’t prepare you to improve and win long-term. Plus, there is an intangible reward to poker tournaments that can be summed up in a single word: validation. “I think one of the things that also made me change from cash games to tournaments is that feeling at the final table of every elimination down to heads-up. To win a trophy, to win a tournament…you really feel it," said Kawauti. "After the deep run, I started to look more for moments. It is more interesting and every hour that you study, the choice you made to be a poker pro is worth it and means so much in that moment.” The extrinsic rewards that come with winning tournaments keeps Kawauti hungry, focused, and professional about his poker player, both as an 888 ambassador and as a full time pro who grinds a dedicated schedule online week in and week out. He does find time to relax though and, like many poker pros in his home country, he returned from the WSOP in time to enjoy the recent Summer Olympics. "In the beginning I thought the Olympics would have a lot of riots. Rio is a very nice place, it is a must-visit place for everyone in the world, but it is a very small place. I thought there would be a lot of traffic jams and lines to everywhere. I thought it was going to be a mess. Then Nicolau (Villa Lobos), one of my best friends, said, ‘Bruno, you have to come here. It is one time in your life you’ll have the Olympics in your city.’” "It was the best decision I made in 2016, I think,” Kawauti claims. “I am addicted to sports. I love soccer, so I watched the semifinals and finals against Germany.” It seems Kawauti loves sports, but his life choices since he made his run in the Main Event tell you he loves any sort of competition, be it against the best players in the world, the best players in Brazil, or just competing against himself as he strives to grow and get better at the game that changed his life.
  25. [caption width="641"] Brazilian football legend Denilson found a new place to call home: 888 poker[/caption] Earlier this year, former international footballer Denilson was signed by a different club. No, he wasn’t making a comeback in the world of professional football, but he was announced as a brand ambassador for 888poker. The highly decorated Brazilian footballer, who played 61 times for his country between 1996 and 2003 said that he hoped that the move would develop his own poker skills, as well as encourage new players to get involved in the game. Denilson first started playing poker with friends and quickly fell in love, with his competitive footballing background helping him to quickly get to grips with the game. "I enjoyed it a lot, and kept learning and playing. Football and poker are both passionate games, but each has its own particularities," Denilson said. "My competitiveness is what moved me while playing in stadiums, and it’s also what moves me whilst playing at the tables." Six months after his appointment as brand ambassador, the world is still keenly watching the country of Brazil as one of the world’s most evolving poker markets. In September the World Series of Poker announced that they were adding a new WSOP Circuit event to their schedule. Taking place in São Paulo at the end of October, it is the first WSOP Circuit event to take place in South America and was met with delight by Beto Lima, the official representative of the WSOP Circuit in Brazil. He said that he was delighted to welcome the first WSOP Circuit event to Brazil. "We know that winning the WSOP is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements in a poker athlete’s career," said Lima. "Poker is growing up step by step in Brazil, but at an incredible speed." 888poker Partners with WSOP CircuitDenilson agrees with Lima, and says that a rapid increase in the quantity of tournaments and amount of regular players in his home country has only contributed to the game’s popularity. "People that used to only play in home games have been brought to the online and live side of the game,” said Denilson. Not only have normal members of the public been captured by the game of poker, but celebrities as well, which Denilson believes has helped to increase the attendance and the popularity of the game. Denilson is joined by fellow Brazilians Bruno Foster, Bruno Kawauti and Nicolau Villa-Lobos in the Team888 ranks the success of poker in Brazil is down to the different way that poker is now viewed. "Poker used to be seen as a casino game. Now that time has passed, poker has its own place," said Denilson. "Every year professional players and tournaments break records, and little by little poker has managed to change that old image." "I think that more and more, poker is being being seen as a mind game, and that's pretty much what attracts people to study, learn and play better." "I think this is very positive. Knowing and understanding other people’s minds helps you not only in the game, but also in life. I am sure that I use a lot of my poker skills in my daily life." With an enthusiastic player pool, celebrities lending their voices to the cause and room for potential expansion in both the live and online game, what does Denilson think the best course of action is for Brazilian poker in the future? "I think we need to follow the path that already exists. We need to keep bringing new people to the game, and promoting big events with attractive prizes." "Poker is a mind game. It combines passion, fun and emotion, and that is something which the Brazilian public already loves."

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