A sense of place for Super Tuesday winner Gambler4444
To Gambler4444 poker is an obsession. He discovered the game nine years ago and that was that, from then it was a case of total dedication. But then it had to be. That's just the sort of person he is.
"When I find something interesting I sometimes really get obsessed with it," said Gambler4444. "The first thing was geography."
Turns out that, aged seven, his mother bought him an atlas. He'd sit and look at the pages for hour after hour learning about countries and their capitals. Pretty soon he could name them all. Then at 13 he discovered a new passion after he began to play chess, which as a teenager captured his imagination and monopolized his time. In his words a blessing and a curse.
"I dedicate too much time to things that don't really matter," he said. "And my school career wasn't the best, because I always had other things on my mind. Needless to say, I became obsessed with poker."
But then, after a Super Tuesday win, and the SCOOP win a week or so before that, this latest obsession could be a lot worse.
The evidence is pretty compelling. A string of solid performances moved him up to 24th overall in the SCOOP Player of the Series leader board this year. Perhaps more significantly he topped the "Medium" leaderboard, helped there by reaching three final tables, one of which he won in Event 34-M, $215 NLO/8.
"I played every day except one," he said. "I also played almost every game, even though no limit hold'em is the only game where I consider myself a good player.
"I like the other games and know some basic strategies in every one. During my deep run in the NLO8 event I learned more and more from every showdown and was pretty confident when the final table started. To get to play some other games is one of the reasons I like SCOOP so much."
But this is an obsession remember, one which drove him straight back to work. Just days later he was winning again, this time the Super Tuesday, possibly the toughest event of any weekly contests on PokerStars.
"When i won the scoop event it was nice because of the title," said Gambler4444. "The title means almost as much as the money does to me. The Super Tuesday win was great because I haven't had a big NLHE score in a while."
Gambler4444, 27, is among that new wave of German players who now call Vienna home ("Vienna, Wien, Austrian capital, population: 1.7 million" if you're following on your atlas at home), having moved their more than two years ago. In his words, it's becoming a capital of European poker, with the likes of Fedor Holz and Ole Schemion having made the move across the border.
"To be part of this fantastic Vienna poker community is another thing. I feel really blessed to be around these young geniuses."
Gambler4444's story is not unlike many of his peers, one of vindication after a giant leap of faith. Turning pro is not an easy decision, at least for Gambler4444 who suffered a downswing in the months after he turned pro which were enough to make him wonder if he hadn't made a terrible mistake.
On that point though he can rest assured. Big results are almost routine. Even his mother checks his results every day. So as he slept she knew he'd won a SCOOP title. No doubt it was the same story with this latest triumph.
So an obsession yes, but this one seems to be paying off. Much like that one with the atlas, which you could say helped a little on that move to Vienna.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.