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Last month, Nohaymiedo(pictured), who calls the Dominican Republic home, was part of a four-way chop of the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Upand earned $71,000, the second largest amount given away. He is $25,000 away from receiving his $500,000 cash badge here on PocketFives and is the top dog in his home country. Any time we can get a word with someone from the Dominican Republic, we jump at it! PocketFives: Awesome job in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Nohaymiedo: I feel great. This is why we grind every day: to win big MTTs. The last time I was at a big final table like this was in 2012 in the Sunday Million. I finished sixth after starting the final table with the chip lead, so I think this time my experience was key. I tried to make the best decisions I could. In the end, chopping the Warm-Up was a really good score and put the name of my country and Latin America at the top of the leaderboard. PocketFives: Can you talk about the chopand how that went down? Nohaymiedo: The pay jumps were insane. I didn't really want to chop because I thought I had an edge over the other guys, but I had the chip leader on my left who was 3betting too much. With four players left, you can't fold top ranges for ICM and the risk is higher. $71,000 was more than third place paid and put me in a spot where I could play for $81,000 so since we left $10,000 to the winner. With the chip leader on my left, I thought it was a smart decision. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Nohaymiedo: Practicing good bankroll management. I will be grinding hard every day, trying to win tournaments like this, and the money will help me do that. This is a good way to start the year. I booked some live tournaments in Latin America and I'll probably have some World Series of Poker action, so this money gives me the peace of mind to do what I want to without any problems. PocketFives: What live tournaments are you headed to? Nohaymiedo: The LSOP Millions in Panama, LAPT Chile, and the WSOP on June 26 until the Main Event ends. Then, I will try to keep booking LAPTs and other tournaments over the rest of the year like the Punta Cana Poker Classic. PocketFives: Who plays poker in the Dominican Republic and how is the game viewed? I can't recall the last time we've interviewed a player from your country. Nohaymiedo: It's a small country with a lot of players. We are trying to be recognized in the poker community. My good friend Alberto Meran(pictured, image courtesy PokerStars), whose nickname is alberto.m7on PokerStars, is another PocketFiver who is moving up fast. Don't be surprised if you contact him soon for an interview after he wins some majors. It's all about gaining momentum in the poker world, grinding online, and doing something good. It's not easy, either, because only over the last two years have we started to produce more professional players, but we are moving forward day by day. Live, we have a small poker room with a good community that has been fully supportive every day, trying to make poker a way to have fun. We are getting stronger every day. PocketFives: You told us you play four or five days a week for about 1,000 MTTs per month. What do you have time to do away from the game? Nohaymiedo: I have my own business with my father where I work in the morning and then start grinding at 1:00pm for the rest of the night. PocketFives: Is there anyone you'd like to recognize? Nohaymiedo: Special thanks to the community, my friends, my family, and my mentor who you probably know – Sergio zcedrick Aido – who gives me the support I need. The Sunday Warm-Up 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 PocketFives Training. Get started here.
Last weekend, Costa Rica's Chris Big HuniHunichen (pictured) came away with the win in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Upfollowing a heads-up chop with Phemo. His reward was $89,000 and he became the ninth PocketFiver ever to pass $7 million in online tournament scores for his career. PocketFives: Talk about how you're feeling. You're all the way up to #4 in the world in the PocketFives Rankingsafter your Sunday Warm-Up score. Chris Hunichen: For the most part, I feel great. As far as my game, I'm very happy with the way I have been playing the past year. I have worked extremely hard, put in a ton of hours, and the results are starting to come along with it. I have moved up the Rankings pretty fast lately and didn't realize I was up to #4. I have only gotten up to #2 before, but have never held the top spot, so it would be nice to take over the top spot. I plan on playing a lot of live poker in the next few months, however, so unless I hit some big scores on Sundays, I don't see it happening because my volume will be too low. PocketFives: How did the chopgo down? Are you still happy with it? Chris Hunichen: When we got heads-up, we pretty much had even stacks. It was almost 7:00am here in Amsterdam, so I was pretty tired and didn't feel like I was playing my best. I was also deep in the Bigger $109 and the Sunday 500, so it made more sense to play a $10,000 heads-up match instead of a $25,000 heads-up match. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Big holiday presents? Chris Hunichen: I really don't have many plans. I have taken a lot of big shots lately in some higher stakes cash games and was on a decent-sized downswing between that and buying action, so as crazy as it sounds, I kind of needed this to get back on the track I was on. I am constantly firing, so my swings are much larger than most people are aware of. I'm also playing around $100,000 to $150,000 in live buy-ins over the next three months in Europe, so the money is getting used to buy into more tournaments. PocketFives: You just passed $7 million in career tournament winnings. Did you think you'd be around as long as you have? Talk about a few of the keys to your success. Chris Hunichen: I knew going back to college that poker was what I was going to do with my life. I made some big decisions back then and lost some friends and a relationship because I chose poker over everything else and, once I made those decisions, there was no looking back. I always knew I would still be here, but am very thankful and blessed to have learned as much as I have since moving to Costa Rica and being able to improve my game over the past few years to become a top-ranked player. Once you put in the amount of time and money I have and once you start playing higher limits, you tend to lose a little respect for the value of money. When it's on the table, it doesn't seem nearly as real as if you are at a mall about to spend the same amount on items for yourself. It can be good and bad for poker players to have this mindset, but I feel like in order to play the highest stakes, you almost have to have this type of mindset to be successful. PocketFives: How has the game changed in 2014, from your perspective? Chris Hunichen: The game seems to change every day. Overall, it has gotten a lot harder. There are so many good players and sites putting out training videos and there are other tools like HUDs and Holdem Resources that have really advanced the overall play on average. Even the "weaker" players are much better and a lot of the spots are drying up. Unless there is a big change coming, online poker seems to slowly be dying. PocketFives: Do you have any poker goals for 2014? Chris Hunichen: My main goal is to hit a seven-figure score. I have several friends who have hit the million-dollar-plus tournament score and I am quite jealous. There are very few opportunities a year for me, though, so it's definitely a possibility it never happens. PocketFives: Do you play cash games? Chris Hunichen: I have played a whole lot more cash games the past year than ever before. I have been told by several high-stakes cash game players and heads-up regs to stay away from the $25/$50 tables, but I can't help myself. I think this is where the best players are and I feel the only way for me to learn as much as I want to is to play against the best players and learn from them. I started off running hot and was up around $55,000, but have recently given most of it back. It's all a learning experience for me, but I feel I will take some time away until I build my roll bigger and can handle the swings a little better. One other goal is to play more live. I really feel online is dying and drying up and I enjoy playing live tournaments. I am currently in Amsterdam playing the MCOP and will be heading to Prague after that. I plan to head to the Bahamas in January and hopefully to Australia for the first time for the Aussie Millions. Then, I may hit up more EPTs or take a break and go back to Costa Rica to play online until the WSOP starts. My final poker goal is to win a WSOP bracelet, which I feel like I have been so close to. The last couple summers have been very good to me in Las Vegas and I hope to keep it up, finally securing my first WSOP win. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? What else interests you? Chris Hunichen: I put in a lot of hours in poker and lately haven't had too much time away from the game. I believe balance is very important, but sometimes you have to go after it a little harder than normal. With the games getting harder and drying up, I have increased my workload because you never really know how much longer the money will be there. My girlfriend has a two-year-old named Derek who has been living with me since he was four months old, so away from the tables I spend time helping raise the kid and, apart from that, hang out with friends in Costa Rica. I have always been a sports fan as well, so I spend a lot of time watching games or playing sports games on Xbox with my friends. I also enjoy playing daily fantasy sports on FantasyDraft. I haven't had much success at it so far, but I have had a lot of fun with it. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
Uruguay's 'pasula09' battled through a 10,232 field in the PokerStars $109 Sunday Million to turn $109 into $106,859. The guarantee was hit after the prize pool was set at $1,023,200, with a place at the final table of nine worth $7,632. After the field had been cut to just the final three, Brazil's José 'neto gol' Queiroz da Costa Neto picked up his second Sunday Million bronze medal three years after his first, and this time collected $55,238. The final battle saw former SCOOP champion Fedor 'ftruncev' Truntsev just missed out on adding another accolade to his poker CV, and departed as runner-up for $76,826, with 'pasula09' crowned the champion. Paul 'topdoll827' Newey defeated the recently unmasked 'bencb789' to win the PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $37,895. The prize pool was set at $156,000 after 78 entries took part. Canada's Sam 'Str8$$$Homey' Greenwood took fifth place for $14,345, with Thomas 'WushuTM' Mühlöcker banking $18,288 in fourth. Mustapha 'lasagnaaammm' Kanit collected the bronze medal for $23,315, before 'bencb789' who this week revealed his identity to the world for the first time via his 'RaiseYourEdge' youtube channel, fell at the final hurdle for $29,724, as Newey picked up the win. The PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller title went to 'schocer' after they topped a 829 player-field to bank over $53,000. 'schocer' defeated 'ZiZZi_7707' heads-up to win the final bounty battle and collected $28,527 + $25,300 in bounties following a money-deal. 'ZiZZi_7707' added $32,178 + $18,167 to their bankroll as runner-up, with 'leitalopez' taking third place for $18,820 + $2,273. Jordan 'JWPRODIGY' Westmorland took down PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $25,485 after topping a 250 player-field. Thailand based American player got the better of 'LeslieGroves' heads-up, with the latter departing as runner-up with $18,494. 'LaurinKing' collected the bronze medal alongside $13,421. 'SchelampigaUhu' won $21,600 after beating Thomas 'onehundredeyes' Mühlöcker heads-up in the partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller DeepStack. The prize pool just crept over the $75,000 guarantee after 76 entries took to the tables, and 'mogvision' took away $10,260 in third-place, paving the way for 'SchelampigaUhu' to win the final battle, and eliminating Mühlöcker into second-place for $14,820. Over on GGPoker, 'LaurisL91' and 'ImLividBuddy' both added Sunday Blade $5k titles to their names. Both players came through 32 player-fields to claim their respective wins and were each awarded with a top prize worth $64,840. 'LaurisL91' defeated 'pDNA' to claim their victory, while 'Olekonjole' fell as runner-up at the hands of 'ImLividBuddy.' Below are this week's results: PokerStars $109 Sunday Million $1M Guaranteed 10,232 entrants, $1,023,200 prize pool pasula09 - $106,859 ftruncev - $76,826 neto gol - $55,238 sk8erisz - $39,717 daBuStar - $28,556 jartza1984 - $20,532 MR Plumber - $14,763 fengikareh - $10,614 Dante63s - $7,632 PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller, $125k Gtd 78 entrants, $156,000 prize pool topdoll827 - $37,895 bencb789 - $29,724 lasagnaaammm - $23,315 WushuTM - $18,288 Str8$$$Homey - $14,345 Remi Lebo_10 - $11,252 Sphinx87 - $8,825 Kesjan - $6,922 neymar-jr - $5,430 PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller, $325k Gtd 829 entrants, $414,500 prize pool schocer - $28,527* + $25,300 (in bounties) ZiZZi_7707 - $32,178* + $18,167 leitalopez - $18,820 + $2,273 doutorlucky - $13,795 + $4,143 peterwhooo - $10,112 + $6,615 Vlada2108 - $7,412 + $5,310 Vladga50 - $5,433 + $3,332 nsmirnov - $3,982 + $4,215 ijsj2003 - $2,919 + $1,085 PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up $150k Gtd 750 entrants, $150,000 prize pool JWPRODIGY - $25,485 LeslieGroves - $18,494 LaurinKing - $13,421 07Papi - $9,739 CrazyLissy - $7,068 newguy89 - $5,129 Simi1602 - $3,722 aJarov - $2,701 tp_raichu - $1,960 partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller DeepStack $75k Gtd 76 entrants, $76,000 prize pool SchelampigaUhu - $21,600 onehundredeyes - $14,820 mogvision - $10,260 PhileasFogg - $6,840 itmitmitmev - $10,260 Arwizz - $4,180 shhhhhhhhhhhhh77 - $3,610 mwallem - $3,230 partypoker $2,100 Sunday High Roller Gladiator $150k Gtd 73 entrants, $150,000 prize pool PhileasFogg - $15,725 + $22,091 z-booooo - $15,710 + $7,128 Chelsea72 - $10,881 + $10,057 KONY2012 - $7,254 + $2,460 x_zola25 - $5,642 + $0 onehundredeyes - $4,433 + $4,987 WWWpartyCOM - $3,828 + $1,771 mwhldwn - $3,425 + $2,690 partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Terminator - $100k Gtd 108 entrants, $110,160 prize pool Souftfw - $10,166 + $19,524 savageplenty - 10,155 + $3,631 SHHHHHHHHHHHH77 - $7,258 + $3,737 somar181 - $5,080 + $3,510 GreenNaugahyde - $3,774 + $1,803 CrazyLissy - $2,903 + $910 Tartaruga13 - $2,322 + $2,015 c43rus - $1,887 + $650 888poker $100,000 $109 Sunday Sale Mega Deep 1,103 entrants – $110,300 prize pool sekta14 - $19,964 NZhero007 - $14,339 TattiTope - $10,754 gkareckas - $8,051 Tschi11i - $5,680 BlacKK_DucKK - $4,577 Multilift - $3,474 elberger8 - $2,437 Elemetal - $1,411 GGPoker Sunday Blade $5k 50k Gtd 32 entrants, $152,500 prize pool LaurisL91 - $64,840 pDNA - $38,311 PokerBluff1 - $24,114 SasukeUchiha - $15,178 HE22 - $9,554 GGPoker Sunday Blade $5k 100k Gtd 32 entrants, $152,500 prize pool ImLividBuddy - $64,840 Olekonjole - $38,311 MiMosa1 - $24,114 Picasso16 - $15,178 HectorHermano - $9,554 *denotes money-deal