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To open 2015, a field of 3,181 entrants descended on the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up. When all was said and done, Stevan random.chu Chew (pictured) from Adelaide, Australia came away with $74,000 after bowing out in second place. It was his largest online poker score ever and helped grow his lifetime total to over $2.2 million. PocketFives: Congrats on your second place finish in the Sunday Warm-Up. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Stevan Chew: Relieved. I've had a ridiculous number of Sunday runs in the last couple of months, but haven't been able to convert them into anything decent, so it was nice to be able to put a solid score on the board. PocketFives: Members of PocketFives finished in the top four spots that week in the Warm-Up. Which of them gave you the toughest time and why? Stevan Chew: It would have to be vip25459, who won. The way the stacks set up at the final table, five or six of them were very similar, so he was able to exert a lot of ICM pressure and put people in tricky spots for big chunks of money. I had Kungfumonkon my immediate left and got to watch him hit miracle card after miracle card to stay alive, so I was kind of fretting him accumulating a stack, but luckily for me, it didn't happen. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the cash? Stevan Chew: I'll be sensible knowing I'll incur losses at some stage, which it can offset. I'm at the Aussie Millions to play a full live schedule and, having already satellited into the Main Event and another side event, the rest of the buy-ins are now paid. I'll also devote a chunk of the money to battling my way in the $200 and $300 Heads-Up Hyper-Turbos. I've devoted a lot more of my time recently to the heads-up format. PocketFives: Talk about the atmosphere at the Aussie Millions, which is in your home country. Stevan Chew: I do the Aussie Millions every year. It's a great series and the schedule is always fun. I don't play too much live poker during the year other than the occasional APPT and ANZPT stop, so to go to Melbourne for a couple of weeks and play a lot of live poker is a nice change of pace from the online grind. It's also great to catch up with poker friends face-to-face for dinner or drinks. I haven't really done many other big series like the WSOP. The withholding tax they charge makes the events unplayable. I'd love to travel the EPT circuit, but I have commitments back home and can't really get up and leave for six months. My girlfriend would be pissed. PocketFives: What else do you do besides poker? Stevan Chew: Watch television with the girlfriend, hang out with friends, and have fun. I play Aussie rules football during the winter and that's a lot of fun. I also do a touch of university here and there, but I've been deferring and skipping so regularly that I'm kind of worried they're going to kick me out soon. PocketFives: How competitive is the Aussie rules football you play? Stevan Chew: It's for fun mainly. I play for Adelaide University. We won a premiership in 2013 and that was one of the most rewarding things I've ever been involved in. PocketFives: How long have you been playing poker full-time? Stevan Chew: Four or five years now. Playing MTTs full-time can be a really tough proposition for those grinding in Australian time zones. During the summer, 3:00am starts every day can wear thin very fast. These days, I only play on Mondays and throw in the occasional midweek MTT session when I'm feeling it. During the week, I'll grind heads-up sit and gos and play some satellites in the evening. PocketFives: Have you ever thought of moving somewhere else that has a better schedule? Stevan Chew: Why would I ever want to leave? Australia is great. I'd love to get a place with a bunch of friends overseas for a while as an experience, but I don't want to move somewhere just to maximize my poker schedule. I'd miss my family and friends too much. PocketFives: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Stevan Chew: Shout out to my homies GINS FINEST, mjw006, and bennybunny18. I also do some MTT coaching on the side. Holler if you're interested. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
[caption width="640"] Stevan 'random.chu' Chew talks about traveling around the world for major poker tournament series like SCOOP and WCOOP (photo: ACOP)[/caption] Now that it's the end of the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, or SCOOP, players like Stevan 'random.chu' Chew who relocated during the tournament series are headed back home. The days of "poker tourism" are over, at least until the World Championship of Online Poker rolls around later this year. "I go away for SCOOPs and WCOOPs," Chew said. Last year, he went to Whistler, Canada for SCOOP and Panama for WCOOP. This year, the Australian was camped out half a world away in Mexico for the spring series. "At the start of the year, I was thinking I might stay in Australia for SCOOP this time, but after grinding a few MTT sessions in succession, my body couldn't take it," the Aussie said. "Some of my friends were talking about going to Mexico and asked if I'd be keen, so I decided to run with it. The SCOOP schedule is so early for Australian time zones. It's like torture and you get no sleep." Back in Australia, Chew regularly starts his MTT sessions at 2:00 AM. "When I'm done, I'm basically a zombie," he said. "I don't sleep, but I only travel for the big series. Normally, I just play fewer MTT sessions to avoid getting burnt out." There seems to be a method to his madness, as Chew just hit $3 million in career online tournament winnings and moved up to #6 in Australia. He was ranked as high as #37 in the world last year on PocketFives. He's also a two-time PocketFives Triple Crown winner, having won the award in 2011 and 2014. Traveling for a major tournament series, for Chew, is a business decision at the end of the day. Sure, some of the locations he's visiting are picturesque and popular, but it's really about being in a location and an environment that give him the best chance to succeed online. "Mexico was purely a business decision," he said. "I'd be able to play more tournaments and play a higher quality. Hopefully I'd make more money doing so and that would offset any additional travel costs. In terms of travel in general, I think it's important to broaden your horizons. People have a tendency to forget they live their lives in a bubble, and nobody is guiltier of that than poker players. Seeing the world really puts things in perspective. It gives you a new outlook on life." Traveling allows Chew to open up his mind and, at the same time, hopefully make a few extra bucks as a poker player. Rather than grind while half asleep, he can be alert and make plus-EV decisions. "Traveling has made me really grateful for the life I have," he said. "It has made me realize how lucky I am to be born into a nice family, have good health, have good intelligence, and not have to struggle to survive. It makes you realize that so many of your problems are totally insignificant, which allows you to let go of a lot of stressors." One year ago at this time, Chew was camped out in Whistler, home of a handful of events as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics. "I really enjoyed Whistler," he said. "It was probably one of the best places I've visited. The series itself went okay and I think I broke even for the trip. I was up going into the last Sunday, but bricked $20,000 worth of buy-ins and action, so it wasn't pretty." Last September, he was in Panama for WCOOP, although the visit wasn't as productive as he hoped. "That was an interesting location," Chew said. "Panama was great to visit and it was my first real exposure to Latin American culture, but I probably didn't prepare myself as well as I would have liked to. I felt I wasn't professional enough during that series. We did a fair bit of partying mid-series and I played a few days hungover, which wasn't ideal. That's why it was important to me this series to try to remain in a good mindset and play my A-game." If you're thinking of becoming nomadic for a major tournament series or two, Chew believes the process of relocating isn't one you need to stress about. "It's pretty easy to move around," he said. "All you need is a couple of t-shirts, shorts, and a laptop. I usually pack pretty light. You also need a good internet connection. The place we stayed at in Mexico had a legit internet connection, a lot better than back home, so we're good, but usually we buy a few netsticks or something like that as backup." As soon as he's done grinding a two-week tournament series, however, he's often ready to fly back to Australia to resume life as normal, getting up at 2:00 AM to grind. "Sometimes I kind of envy the American guys who are seeing the world while playing poker," he said, "Then I get here and two weeks in I'm feeling homesick." This year, Chew took 10th in the SCOOP $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Eight-Max High-Roller for $19,000, his largest cash of the series. The largest cash of his career was worth $74,000 and came after a runner-up finish in the Sunday Warm-Up last year.
Wednesday's action in the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker featured nine different players entering the winner's circle including Canadian Parker Talbot and Australian Stevan Chew. Talbot took down event #58 High ($530 NLHE PKO) after outlasting 841 other entries to win the first WCOOP title of his career. Talbot had recently been the subject of some good natured ribbing from PokerStars Team Pro Online Ben 'Spraggy' Spragg due to his lack of WCOOP success. Talbot got the last laugh on Wednesday. Chew picked up Wednesday's bdiggest score after shipping Event #56 High ($2,100 Super Tuesday). Chew took home $149,594.83 after working his way through the 386-entry field to grab the first WCOOP of his career. The third and final player to pick up a WCOOP High victory on Wednesday did so by working their way through the smallest field on the slate. 'flong78' beat 67 other entries in Event #57 High ($2,100 2-7 Triple Draw) to win $36,707.74. And it wouldn't be a day of 2020 WCOOP action without another player joining the double winner club. Rinat 'Zapahzamazki' Lyapin won Event #57 Medium ($215 2-7 Triple Draw) to pair with his win in Event #2 Medium ($1,050 NLHE Sunday Slam). The other WCOOP champions from Wednesday were 'TheVirus217' (Event #56 Medium), 'renan141084' (Event #56 Low), 'luda555' (Event #57 Low), 'valdemaar74' (Event #58 Medium), and 'NightGuiden' (Event #58 Low). WCOOP #56-H: $2,100 NLHE [8-Max, Super Tuesday] 386 entries $772,000 prize pool random_chu - $140,594.83 thebigdog09 - $101,738.32 ludovi333 - $73,620.77 WCOOP #56-M: $215 NLHE [8-Max, Freezeout, Mini Super Tuesday] 2,069 entries $413,800 prize pool TheVirus217 - $61,739.99 Gselweckle - $44,009.61 darkmaestro7 - $31,371.54 WCOOP #56-L: $22 NLHE [8-Max, Freezeout] 7,901 entries $158,020 prize pool renan141084 - $22,292.14 blackprecise - $15,887.59 deyvsontrump - $11,325.24 WCOOP #57-H: $2,100 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 68 entries $136,000 prize pool flong78 - $36,707.74 kkopghy - $27,439.60 Talal ‘raidalot’ Shakerchi WCOOP #57-M: $215 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 317 entries $63,400 prize pool Zapahzamazki - $11,897.29 Keep3r - $8,573.20 zilbeee - $6,177.99 WCOOP #57-L: $22 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 1,076 entries $21,520 prize pool luda555 - $3,021.05* Barni_BoY777 - $2,871.06* ManOjax - $1,685.62 WCOOP #58-H: $530 NLHE [8-Max, PKO, Freezeout] 842 entries $421,000 prize pool Parker 'tonkaaaa' Talbot - $29,958.59 + $21,209.87 in bounties LoosControl - $29,957.79 + $17,366.19 in bounties dougalopes - $17,774.68 + $12,947.27 in bounties WCOOP #58-M: $55 NLHE [8-Max, PKO, Freezeout] 5,609 entries $280,450 prize pool valdemaar74 - $16,967.67 + $10,157.68 in bounties suits.sunman - $16,962.93 + $1,266.22 in bounties oNinguem - $9,817.88 + $1,826.76 in bounties WCOOP #58-L: $5.50 NLHE [8-Max, PKO, Freezeout] 11,549 entries $56,590.10 prize pool NightGuiden - $3,101.85 + $1,406.96 in bounties MFlushmaster - $3,094.09 + $396.88 in bounties turist388 - $1,835.80 + $496.23 in bounties