Hard work pays off for Andrey Lamego
It's easy to think that winners of the Sunday Majors are poker automatons, immune to emotion, moving on from a big win to the next tournament with the prospect perhaps of some higher stakes, but nothing more. Maybe that's true in a lot of cases. But a big win is still a big thing, at least it was in the case of last Sunday's warm-up winner Andrey "Dr_Drey15" Lamego.
"As an online MTT grinder, Sunday is the most important day, the only day that there is absolutely no chance of not playing," he said. "In the beginning, this past Sunday was as any other. I woke up early, did everything off poker and started my normal grind. In the end, it was completely different."
Reaching a Sunday final table was pretty much a dream to Lamego since he started playing online back in 2013. Two years of hard work, having quit a good job at IBM, along with some pretty intense poker study, had suddenly paid off. As Lamego put it: "My day had finally arrived."
It meant a win worth $79,000 to the Brazilian, but in terms of celebrating Lamego admits to being pretty low key. So there was no jumping up and down. At least not from him anyway.
"My girlfriend was the one jumping around. Not to mention my dogs jumping with her."
But from his girlfriend Patricia Kim's position, and probably the dogs too, this was a well-deserved win for someone she knew worked hard at his game and understood too the value of a life outside of poker, as she explained.
"I lost my father on new year's day," said Kim, who was just getting to know Lamego at the time. But sometimes you get to know a little more about a person from how they react. "He was on the other side of the country with his family, but he spent his New Year's Eve at the airport all by himself, waiting for the next flight to Sao Paulo."
We might not have heard any of Lamego's story had he not got involved in a huge three way pre-flop all-in that went his way, settling his nerves and setting up what would be a run that ended with a first major title.
This proved something of a break from Lamego's usual story. In terms of his year at the tables, in in pro chair in front of two monitors, the story has tended to stay the same.
"I've done quite well in the lower stakes and having a little trouble beating the higher stakes," said Lamego. "As a friend of mine, Zareta, says: the lower stakes pays your high stakes buy-ins. And, basically, that's sums up my poker career. Never being a huge winner, but never being a huge loser.
This win, Lamego hopes, might now lend him more confidence in the higher stakes arena, while also allowing him and Kim to indulge his other passion of skiing. For both of them it will seems a long way from the days when, after making money in games with colleagues that were more about a few beers than the size of the chips, he made the decision to turn pro. That choice led him to hear, and to meeting Kim (who also plays professionally as Patchk) but one which he had to get past his parents.
"It took a while to them to accept that I was gonna play poker professionally," said the 34 year old" whose efforts now might be explaining the significance of a "Warm-Up" win. "(When I won) I was very anxious to call my parents. When I finally got a chance to call then it was like me proving to them that this is possible. They were extremely happy as well."
We like a feel-good story on the Blog. In this case one that applies to us, Lamego himself, his girlfriend Patricia, his parents, even his dogs.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.