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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brazil Becoming an Online Poker Powerhouse

Brazil Becoming an Online Poker Powerhouse

Every week, I contact a few winners from Sunday Major tournaments for feature articles here on PocketFives. I've probably done several hundred of these interviews in my life, but I can't recall a string of successive sit-downs with Brazilian players. Ever. If you're from Brazil, be sure to celebrate and see what's new in our PocketFives Brazil poker community.

Brazil has absolutely demolished the competition in the last several weeks on the virtual felts. Thiagokkremate Crema won the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $69,000, Bruno brunovolks Volkmann won the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge for $23,000, and Julio Oliveira Lins, who goes by powerpokerbr on PocketFives, chopped the PokerStars Sunday $100 Rebuy for $39,000. Those are just the interviews I did.

But Brazil wasn't done there. Tiago tgassen Gassen (pictured above) was also among the big winners, banking $52,000 for final tabling the PokerStars Sunday Million. He beat out nearly all of his 6,279 opponents on August 12, as the tournament's champion, BeN-Cls, walked away with just shy of $200,000.

On reaching fifth place, but not coming away with a victory, Gassen told PocketFives in an exclusive interview, "It was very exciting to play at the final table. I have grinded the tournament other times and came very close to it. Was I disappointed? As soon as I was out of the table, I felt a little bit disappointed. But, it only lasted for about 10 seconds because I soon realized it was a nice hit." He banked about 105,000 Brazilian Real.

His other attempts at winning the Sunday Million on the world's largest online poker room served as tune-ups for this go-around: "They gave me experience for my game plan," Gassen conceded. "My past performances made me trust my strategy more and more, and that Sunday, things happened as expected." A total of $1.25 million was paid out to 900 spots.

When they were calculated last week, the PocketFives Country Poker Rankings featured Brazil at #4 worldwide, up one spot on the week. Although it lacks a player in the top 10 of the Worldwide Poker Rankings, the country is clearly one of the fastest risers in the world. We asked Gassen why Brazil was quickly becoming a Mecca for poker: "I believe that although Texas Hold'em is very new here in Brazil, the number of poker players we have is rising year by year. The result is that guys are studying the game more and turning the sport into a profession."

Gassen joined PocketFives last year, one year after he started taking the game seriously. Cash games with friends marked the start of his poker journey, which achieved its first major leap forward with a $52,000 Sunday Million score two weeks ago. As you'd expect, his friends and family are overjoyed: "My family is very proud of me and all of my friends are very supportive of me. They always congratulate me when I win and, of course, are asking for a party on my dime now."

A friend from his hometown of Santa Cruz Do Sul(pictured) has helped him excel in the game so far. He explained, "A friend from the same city as I am from who is an excellent online poker player and has already enjoyed some very good success in high-stakes MTTs has been a major influence on my game." Gassen is currently the fourth ranked player in Santa Cruz Do Sul, the 13th ranked player in Rio Grande do Sul, and the 127th ranked player in Brazil.

The combined PLB score of the top 20 players from the Brazil poker community weighs in at 89,584 points, about 4,000 behind Australia, which is #3 worldwide. There are just over 1,200 registered PocketFives members from Brazil, along with countless more who read the site each day.

I'm sure this isn't the last interview I'll be typing up about a Brazilian online poker player. Congrats to the entire nation on its continued success!

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