2007 World Series: Brazil still in action

by Maria Mayrinck of the PokerStars Brazilian Blog

Day 3 of the 2007 World Series Main Event has many Brazilians still in the race, such as Christian Toth, Gualter Salles, Edson Esquio and Robert Chiró.

Christian Toth, from Rio de Janeiro, 39, is an old familiar name in the gaming world, having won several world championships in backgammon and toured with the likes of Phil Laak, Gus Hansen, and many other big names who now dominate the poker world. He is also a famous chess master. With all that gaming history, Christian's move to poker was easy. Even though he doesn't take the game of poker as seriously as he did chess and backgammon, it's all there: the math, the ability to read opponents, and the instinct to know when it's time to go for the kill. He is sitting pretty with 450K stack after having won a huge pot last night by crushing a set of queens on the river with JT offsuit on a 9xx board, Q turn and K river.

Christian Toth

Gualter Salles is a 36-year-old stock car racer from Sao Paulo, Brazil who has been playing poker for more than one year as a hobby. He decided to get off the race track for awhile, hop on a plane, buy-in for $10,000, and give the Series a shot. Good thing, too, because he has had some variance to his stack (recently going from 230K to 100K with QJ vs QQ on a Q high board). Still, that shouldn't be a problem for a guy who is used to life on the fast lane with very dangerous curves and slippery roads.

Edson Esquio, 45, is from Sao Paulo, is one of the few Brazilian poker players who didn't come to Vegas with the Brazilian crew. I found him in the middle of the crowd, proudly wearing the Brazilian flag all over his clothes, hat, jacket, etc. When I approached him, he seemed very pleased to tell me that he has a little more than 190,000. [Note to self: must tell the Brazilians about PokerStars satelites for the World Series] He seems very confident that he will not only cash, but go deep.

Edson Esquio

Robert Chiro is a known player in the Brazilian poker community, friends with all the players there, and always up for a joke. He's been heard to say, "Every time I win a pot I must remember my immigrant family squeezed in a cargo ship, coming all the way from China to Brazil!". This is obviously another one of his jokes. He is a book/magazine editor in Sao Paulo where he was born, and right now, has to stop thinking about boats or any other distracting or funny thoughts. He needs to double up soon as he nurses a 90,000 stack.

Good luck to all Brazilians still in the Main Event. A big "Vamooooo" is in order, and, rest assured, if any of them go deep (let alone make it to the final table) the noise we make here will be heard all the way in Russia.

Another big story is Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi. Ok, so Sorel is not Brazilian, but he's not American either. He says he is Canadian, but I have my doubts, since I am convinced that he is an alien of some sort who does those weird experiments on humans - even if these experiments are at the poker tables, they are still painful!

Sorel Mizzi

Sorel already has a large fan base in the online world, being the #1 ranked online player, and recently turning 21, has already cashed for over 600,000 in live winnings. Now this fan base will grow all over the world. However he is very well known amongst the Brazilian players and is certainly one of the players I follow closely online. See, you must understand that it's not like we are having the hottest live tournaments in Brazil or in Latin America (yet, because PokerStars is taking care of that), so the time we spend playing online and following the online players is large. And the time that Sorel spends giving us bad beats and outplaying us is even larger!

Known as Zangbezan on Poker Stars, Sorel is one of PokerStars' highest volume, highest winning players, who consistently wins tournaments (on weekly, and sometimes daily basis) such as the 100+R, 200+R, 100+9 freezeouts, Sunday majors, etc. I mean, basically any MTT Sorel registers for, he pretty much has a better then good chance (terrible sentence, I know, but I really don't know how to calculate the math of his advantage over the field) at winning (and usually he does).

Still, with all the winnings, he manages to keep a good head on his shoulders, and is probably the least arrogant player I've met here in vegas (he could be bluffing, but I'm telling you, he is good, so I can't tell), speaks of his online poker player colleagues with tremendous respect, fully confident that they will make much noise in the poker world in years to come (good luck trying to OUT-NOISE us Brazilians) and has a habit of losing everything: Ipod, sunglasses, hats, a 5K chip that fell from his pocket (thank God I saw that one). He seems very unattached from material things, which is surprising, considering the amounts he plays for. When he found out Andre Akkari was joining the PokerStars team, he went around the Rio until he found Akkari at his table and said "Congrats man, cmon, get up, give me a hug. This is huge. You deserve it." It's a very nice gesture from a very nice guy. He really despises trash talk at the table, conducts his game with a quietness to him that makes him almost seem like a regular easygoing guy. That is, until he three bets you with absolute garbage and then shows me a 78off and tries to explain the move to by saying "I had position. He can't call me there."

With his SuperNova status on Stars, he is gunning for the Porsche. This week he has been busy with the World Series, his #1 TLB ranking dropped yesterday to number #2, and I swear he seemed a bit depressed over it.

MI said, "But Sorel, you have a chance of winning over 8 million dollars! Who cares about rankings right now?"

He replied, "Yeah, you're right. I'll worry about the rankings next week!"

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in