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  1. It has been a big last month for Vasilis Mantis (pictured), who is known on PocketFives as jellyfish223. Not only did he take down the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl outright for $33,000, but he also welcomed his first son into the world, who now checks in at around a month. The Sunday Brawl marked the second biggest cash we've had for Mantis, whose largest came as a result of an FTOPS final table in 2013. As he said about the Brawl, "It was my second biggest cash ever, so I am really happy. I got lucky when there where about 45 players left and sucked out twice. I played very well at the final table." He's a regular in the Brawl and plays it every week. However, up until earlier this month, he had neither made a final table nor won the $255 buy-in tournament on Full Tilt. "I haven't been playing a lot these past few months and the money will probably go toward baby expenses," Mantis told us of his plans for the money. "After all, I have a three-week-old son!" This author is a father of a rambunctious two-year-old and knows how much being a parent can change your life. As Mantis put it, "It's such an amazing experience becoming a parent – a little sleeplessness, but that is nothing." Mantis is on the verge of breaking $700,000 in tracked online tournament cashes and plays as jellyfish223 across the major online poker sites. He plays poker part-time and is trying to get a business started as well. Meanwhile, his wife takes care of the baby. You can find the family camped out in Greece, which is home to over 400 PocketFivers with PLB scores. He told us how residents of his home country view the game of poker: "It's not very popular yet. Most people think it's only gambling. The usual reaction when I tell someone is 'Wow people do that for a living?'" Indeed they do! Mantis got started in poker through a love of strategy games. He saw the World Poker Tour on Greek television and recalled, "I've always liked strategy games and gambling and thought this game combines both, so I should give it a try." This interview gives us the perfect excuse to talk about our Greece poker community here on PocketFives. We have 674 registered PocketFives members from the European nation who have combined for $33.4 million in online tournament winnings all-time, including $2.3 million in the last three months. The group has amassed almost 100,000 cashes. The Sunday Brawl runs weekly on Full Tilt. Sign up for Full Tilt 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.
  2. [caption width="639"] Greece's Alexandros 'alexangeo' Georgiopoulos is pursuing a degree in risk management and won the Sunday Million[/caption] Some people who play poker but don't plan to pursue the game professionally gravitate towards an occupation that has many of the same trademarks like math, risk, and wealth management. For Alexandros 'alexangeo' Georgiopoulos, pursuing a career in risk management and investment banking seems to have paid off big time at the poker tables. That's all poker is, right? Risk management and not going broke. Georgiopoulos won the PokerStars Sunday Million last weekend for $144,000 after a four-way deal, outmuscling a field of 6,271 players. "The win will increase my bankroll and I will take some shots that I wouldn't have taken otherwise before this win," he said. His poker schedule is, needless to say, limited. He plays two or three days a week and when he's not grinding online, he's enrolled in two universities pursuing two different degrees. "I play poker after 9:00pm except Sundays, when I start at 6:00pm," Georgiopoulos explained. "In the morning, I go to my universities if I have a class and in the afternoon I exercise. The nights that I am not playing poker, I spend time with my girlfriend." "I am going to continue studying after this," the Greek said. "I am studying to be a civil engineer at the National Technical University of Athens and I also study economics at the American College of Greece. For me, poker is for entertainment only. I want to win some money that I need in my life until I get a job in the field that I am currently studying. After the Sunday Million, I have money to spend on whatever I want. Also, having financial security will be the key for a good university to accept me for an MBA." He's all about risk management, so if he's going to take any more shots in poker following his cash windfall, it'll be in games where the risk is worth the reward. "I play only online poker, so I definitely am going to take some shots during SCOOP," he said. "I want to play all of the No Limit Hold'em games up to $700 and maybe even some $1K events." Coming out of university, Georgiopoulos, who now has over a half-million dollars in online tournament winnings, plans to work as an analyst. Then, it'll take five or six years for his career to advance further. When he won't be making money hand over fist away from the game, poker can sustain him in life. When he's done with school, poker doesn't appear to be a possible career path, at least right now. Maybe if he ships another Sunday Million, he'll reconsider, but for now he says he knows exactly what he wants to do. "While playing poker, I noticed I love making decisions without emotions," he said. "Poker is all math and strategy." Not surprisingly, so is risk management. "I realized that acting without emotions is best, and I learned that from poker. Also, I learned how to react to making big decisions such as whether to go all-in and risk big pay jumps at the Sunday Million final table or whether I should fold." Despite his hectic schedule, Georgiopoulos, who is the #6 ranked player in Greece, sticks to MTTs and tends to avoid cash games and sit and gos even though those formats may mesh better with his non-poker responsibilities. "I know it is hard to find time for everything, but I have been making it work so far," he said. "Maybe after this win I will take a break from poker for three or four weeks." That week's Sunday Million ended in a four-way deal. You'd think a player who is proficient in math and all about calculating risk would excel when it comes to figuring out an optimal chop. "I thought I had an edge against the other two players, but 'neto gol' was a good reg, but tight," he said. "It took 30 minutes to make a deal." The $144,000 that Georgiopoulos earned was the largest amount any of the final four player earned. Georgiopoulos will take his winnings back to Greece, where he's the top-ranked player in the bustling metropolis of Athens. "I don't usually talk to my Greek friends about poker too much," he said. "They approve of it, but I don't want to show up others with my achievements. I made $144,000 in one day, while some guys may have to work for $40 a day. So, I try to keep my winnings to myself." Greece poker players on PocketFives have accounted for $53.5 million in lifetime winnings, $4.2 million of which has come in the last three months. The nation's largest cash ever belongs to Alexandros 'mexican222' Kolonias, who took third in a WCOOP event last year for $365,000.

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