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When Las Vegas-based poker pro Kami Hudson decides to do something she tends to go “full out.” From her morning meditation routine clearing her head, setting her intentions, and getting active to grinding online, Hudson’s approach to all of her passions is one of positivity and going for it. “I’m a big believer in positive thinking and in poker and in life I do my best to look on the bright side of things.” And there’s been plenty to be positive about for Hudson, who plays on WSOP.com under the screen name ‘Loco4coco’, when it comes to her poker career. More specifically, her positivity helped her in her recent victory in the World Series of Poker $320 Online Circuit Season Finale NLHE event in which she took home her first career gold ring and a payday of over $50,000. “I was really excited to win a ring,” Hudson said. “As all MTT players know, it isn’t easy to win a tournament, and all of the close calls can really start to wear on you.” Hudson had been tracking down a WSOP Circuit ring for years, making three final tables over the past three years in various WSOPC events. She also bubbled a WSOP final table in 2017, finishing in 10th place in a $1,500 event for over $23,000. But those close calls just encouraged her press forward. “Yes, I’ve had a lot of close calls and have been close to winning several events, but instead of letting that get me down, I use it as motivation and look at it as a sign that I am growing,” she said. “I don’t look at it as a failure but instead as improvement and that I must be doing a lot of things right to get so deep and close.” Hudson, who grew up in Oklahoma and earned her degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, has always found herself drawn to pursuits that lend themselves to success in the game. “As a kid growing up and throughout my entire life I have always been curious and inquisitive, into playing games, solving various kinds of puzzles, and super interested in studying people and the psychology behind everything I encounter,” she said. “I’ve been around a poker environment since the age of 18 and that’s how I began picking it up. In the beginning, it was more of just a hobby and it wasn’t until about four years ago I became more interested in it and started taking it more seriously.” At the same time that Hudson first encountered poker, she also was introduced to another life passion. In her first year of college, she was invited to go on a trip to Honduras to visit and work with an orphanage. “From that very first trip, I fell in love with the people and the place, and the rest is history,” she said. “Those kids broke my heart wide open and change my entire life in the best ways possible. Thirteen years and twenty trips later, it has become my biggest passion.” Hudson isn’t a part of an organization, it’s a personal endeavor that she at first shared with a friend but now has now extended to her entire family including her parents and sisters. Projects for the orphanage have included installing an entire water purifying system, purchasing a new playground, fixing up the building, providing greater security and essential items like bedding and pillows for the children. “But the biggest thing I have a heart for, the type of service most important to me, is investing my time and energy into the children emotionally and mentally,” she said. After her first trip, she immediately started learning Spanish so she could better connect with the kids. "I spend a lot of my time there sitting with the kids and communicating about life and their goals and what we can do to accomplish their dreams." “Each time I leave, I leave a piece of my heart there, but at least I know I leave with them knowing that they are loved, brave, smart and that people believe in them,” she said. “My days there are spent laughing, crying, playing, building, teaching, learning, starting and keeping traditions, showing consistency, capturing the good times on camera so that they can have photos of a happy childhood with people who love them with people who love them, and making memories with some of the most beautiful people on the planet.” “I know it might not look like much to some people but to these kids, it might be the first time a person has been a constant source of love and support in their life.” That love and support, when at it’s best, is a two-way street. Hudson not only has had the opportunity to change the lives of children in desperate need but in return, she found love and purpose in her own life. "I will never forget the time I heard one of my little 6-year-olds praying before dinner, and she prayed for the lives and health of her mother and father, who she had never met, and then followed that with all of the things she was grateful for. That hit me hard,” Hudson said. “Those kids have changed my life, they have given me so much. I will never be able to repay them, but I will continuously return to them, over and over, to do all that I can to try." Hudson credits her current life as a poker pro with giving her the flexible schedule and free time to continually support the orphanage and the kids. She has plans on returning to Honduras at some point after her current World Series of Poker grind. “I plan on playing the majority of the WSOP.com/USA event because I think they are amazing value,” she said, noting that one of the reasons she originally moved to Las Vegas was to have access to these types of events. “I do intend to travel to Mexico to play some of the [GGPoker] events next month, but mainly the $1Ks and lower. Winning an online bracelet would be a great accomplishment but I don’t think I will feel fully satisfied until I win one live.” For Hudson though, satisfaction in poker is one thing while the definition of success is another. “We all have our definitions of success,” she said. “Success and happiness are relative. One of the biggest lessons my kids in Honduras have taught me is that happiness isn't based on material things. Because despite not having money or many material items, they are so much happier than the majority of people I know who society would consider being "rich". In my opinion, the key to happiness and success is being grateful for what you have and always doing the best you can with what you know at the time.”
[caption width="640"] The WSOP Circuit is heading to Argentina for the first time ever and 888poker can help you get there.[/caption] 888pokeris taking the WSOP Circuit to Argentina for the first time in August, with more South American events to be announced over the next few weeks. As part of 888poker’s ongoing partnership and exclusive sponsorship with the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, this exciting new event will take place at the Casino Iguazu in Puerto Iguazú, from August 2-8. Not only will there be the expected Main Event, but the popular Crazy Eights side Event will also be heading down old South America way. Large prizes and six WSOPC rings will be up for grabs. Itai Pazner, the Senior Vice President & Head of B2C at 888 Holdings, said the company is delighted to have renewed their WSOPC sponsorship, with the ongoing mission being to expand 888poker, and poker in general, to South America. “This renewed partnership is testament to our increasingly dominant position in the industry and our commitment to making live poker accessible and affordable to as many players possible, the world over,” he said. “We are very excited and proud to be bringing the most popular poker series in the world to the renowned Casino Iguazú, one of the most acclaimed casinos in South America. This is an amazing opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest and most prestigious live tournament, from as little as 1¢. I wish all our players the best of luck!” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart also shared his enthusiasm. “We are thrilled to reach South America with this exciting event in Argentina,” he said. “We are optimistic the event will be well supported and we can continue to host bigger and better events each year”. The location chosen in Argentina seemingly couldn’t be better. Casino Iguazu is situated right on the Argentinian borders with Paraguay and Brazil, and it’s not short of sightseeing attractions. Players will be trying for a WSOPC championship just minutes way from the Iguazu falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. With the local attractions and tropical climate, it’s certainly not the worst place to bust out of a tournament. Ferando Bianchi, the Marketing Director at Casino Iguazu, said: “Casino Iguazu has been one of the most well-known entertainment centers in South America for more than twenty years. “Widely acknowledged as one of the leaders of amusement and sophistication at an international level, the luxury facilities are already in motion to welcome players who will battle for this chapter of the most important Poker Series of the planet”. As you’d expect, 888poker will be running multi-step satellite tournaments into the South American WSOPC events. And don’t forget, you could still win your way to Las Vegas this summer to take part in the Main Event. There are seven Steps satellites, starting from $1c, and a 2017 WSOP Las Vegas Main Event package worth $12,500 up for grabs. If you don’t already have an 888poker account yet, sign up through this link and you’ll get a 100% bonus up to a maximum of $700. You'll also get a free $10 on top of the first $10 you deposit available to you right away and you can start playing your way to Argentina!
Poker’s Mid-Major circuits are home to some of poker’s brightest up-and-coming stars. Each month, PocketFives breaks down the big winners from the WSOP Circuit, WPT DeepStacks, Heartland Poker Tour, and Mid-States Poker. World Series of Poker Circuit Elik Vodovoz Takes Down World Series of Poker Circuit Hammond Main Event The World Series of Poker Circuit was seemingly everywhere in the month of March, holding no fewer than four different series in different parts of the U.S. The first saw the WSOPC travel to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Illinois where Elik Vodovoz took down the 1,050-entry field of the $1,700 Main Event for a career-high score of $294,290. The event crushed its $1M guarantee, generating a prize pool of over $1.59 million, awarding eight of the final nine players their own career-best cashes. Sean Yu Dominates Los Angeles WSOPC Event at The Bike South Korea’s Sean Yu bested cash game grinder Andrew Moreno heads-up to capture the $1,700 Main Event WSOPC title from the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. The $210,585 score helped Yu, who currently resides in Los Angeles, up over the $2M mark in career earnings. It was the second circuit ring of the series for Yu, who has seven rings total as well as a WSOP bracelet. Moreno ended up with $130,295 as the runner-up. With the event being held in Los Angeles, plenty of well-known names made the money including Scott Vener (6th, $40,910), Ralph Wong (8th, $24,815), Mohsin Charania (15th, $12,890), Joseph Serock (20th $8,855) and Joe Kuether (22nd, $7,470). Ryan Eriquezzo Wins Fourth WSOPC Event In Atlantic City On the East Coast, veteran tournament grinder Ryan Eriquezzo picked up his fourth WSOPC ring when he finished atop the 357 entry field of the $1,700 Main Event at Harrah’s in Atlantic City for $124,397. With the win, Eriquezzo now has more than $1.5M in career earnings. Phillip Pope Takes Down Tulsa WSOPC Event Phillip Pope captured a career-high cash when he picked up the win in the $1,700 WSOPC Main Event from the Hard Rock Hotel & Cainso in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pope outlasted the field of 533 entries to take home $215,000 after beating Kou Vang heads up. Vang walked with a six-figure cash of $132,930, also a career-high score for the well-traveled grinder. Superstar WSOP Circuit grinder Maurice Hawkins just missed out on what would be a record-tying 12th ring after finished in third place. Hawkins added $97,110 to his over $3.5M in career earnings. World Poker Tour DeepStacks Vitor Coleho Wins WPTDeepStacks Jacksonville Tampa resident a former restauranteur, Vitor Coleho secured the fifth six-figure cash of his career by besting the 446-entry field of WPTDS Jacksonville. The score propels him up over $1M in total recorded earnings. “In my mind, I was going to win this tournament,” Coelho said after his victory. It marks his ninth WPT cash where he’s accumulated over $423,000 in earnings. Simon Brandstrom Takes Down WPTDeepStacks Barcelona Sweden’s Simon Brandstrom posted only the fourth recorded cash of his poker career when he won WPTDS Barcelona for €270,000 plus a €2,000 seat to the WPTDS Europen Championship. The 1,232 player field was the largest ever outside of North America and ranks as the fifth largest ever in the history of the tour. WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg & Vietnam Crown Champions You Zeng took home the $69,451 first-place prize and the trophy after surviving the 452-entry field of WPTDS Johannesburg. The score marks the South African resident’s second career recorded cash. Thailand’s Vincent Chauve eliminated each of his final five opponents to take home a career-high cash of $99,000 as the top prize of WPTDS Vietnam. Justin Liberto Adds WPTDS Title To Resume In Maryland Accomplished tournament pro Justin Liberto finally captured a WPT title, after 14 cashes, by finishing in first in the WPTDS Maryland Main Event for $116,363. Liberto, who has over $3.3M in career earnings had a near-miss in this very event two years ago when he finished in fourth place. Noah Shefrin finished as the runner-up, taking home $81,472 as a consolation and popular poker vlogger Matt Vaughn wrapped up in eighth place for $15,026. Felix Schulze Is The WPTDS Amsterdam Champ Felix Schulze wrapped up an incredible run at the Holland Casino Amsterdam Center after winning the €1,200 WPTDS Amsterdam Main Event for €104,304. It was his third tournament victory of the week after, earlier in the series, Schulze bested a 50 player field in a €330 Hyper and 61 entries in the €330 Short Deck event. “I feel good, it’s been a decent week,” Schulze said after finishing off the 507- entry field of the Main Event. Heartland Poker Tour Bill Byrnes Bests Heartland Poker Tour in St. Louis Hailing from Wentzville, Missouri, 47-year old criminal defense attorney Bill Byrnes picked up a career-high cash by defeating the 444 entries in the Heartland Poker Tour $1,650 Main Event in St. Louis. With the win, Byrnes moves into fourth place in the HPT Season 15 standings, siting right behind Nick Davidson, Nick Pupillo and current leader, Greg Wood. Kou Vang, who finished as the runner-up in the WSOPC event in Tulsa, finished in fifth place for $31,978. Mid-States Poker Tour Steven Federspiel Wins Mid-States Poker Tour Iowa 409 players flocked to the Meskwaki Casino and Bingo Hall for the Mid-States Poker stop in Tama, Iowa. North Liberty’s Steven Federspiel made his way to his second career MSPT final table and took home the title and a career-high cash of $86,949. The score helped push him over $250K in lifetime earnings. It was Federspiel’s sixth MSPT cash of his career.