Join the MicroMillions heroes
Poker can be scary. We'd like to think a good scary, though. You know, like those nerves you get just before a rollercoaster drops or, perhaps, you jump out of a plane.
It's a feeling that Czech player Jan "thorus1985" Theuer is more than used. He jumped out of a plane with a parachute... the first flight he'd ever taken. That's all part and parcel of being a soldier. The 28-year-old, from Brno in the Czech Republic, plays poker for fun, but got a lot more than that when he took part in the MicroMillions last week.
Theuer beat a field of 28,738 in MicroMillions-012: $3.30 Big Antes to win $8,208.35, which must have seemed pretty unbelievable when his brother, who successfully plays under the name "josheroP", first taught him how to play. Theuer's since taught his girlfriend and they've become a poker family of sorts.
"The big dream of my girlfriend is to meet Liv Boeree. She is her idol. I like Daniel Negreanu, he looks like a right guy," said Theuer.
Well, $8k is more than enough to come play UKIPT Nottingham in May if you'd really like to meet Boeree...
The MicroMillions brings low buy-in poker with great structures and big money prizes to players from all over the world. Joining Theuer from the Czech Republic on the winner's podium is Emerson Carlos "Pimpo4" Introvini from Brazil, Alex Lynskey from Australia, and Cristiano Oliveira from Portugal. It's a global game.
Introvini, a 47-year-old Chemical Engineer and Industrial Manager from Sorocaba, Sao Paulo, won $3,292.66 after a three-way deal in Event #24: $2.20 NL Hold'em, another fantastic return on a micro buy-in. Introvini beat a field of more than fifteen thousand players, a win he puts down to studying hard and trying to keep up with the game.
"During the game I had three moments when I was in last place," said Introvini. "One of them when we started the second-to-last table, but I tried to keep calm and to find the best spots to get chips back. So, when final table started I was very happy and I thought, 'It´s not about the money, I want to win.'"
That plan seemed to work out pretty well.
Introvini may not be a young man anymore - PokerStars Blog knows that feeling all too keenly - but the Brazilian's certainly keeping himself on his toes. Not only has he been learning how to a HUD, but he's recently completed a one-month stint learning English in the United States.
"This experience studying in the USA was the hardest thing in the last six months," said the Brazilian "At the same time, it was the best experience in my life."
A certain $3,292 may help to fund a return trip to brush up those linguistic skills. Good effort!
Grinders of the world
Elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, a 24-year-old professional poker player called Alex "lynskey99" Lynskey won Event #8: $4.40 NL Hold'em for $8,352.30. Lynskey beat a field of 9,564 to take top honours, but this is far from his biggest win. The young Aussie has clocked up more than $545,000 in online tournament winnings in the last couple of years with a purple patch last April which saw him win two $162 tournaments at PokerStars within three days for more than $60,000. We all know that poker can be a hard taskmaster at times, too.
"I have endured a brutal and confidence sapping downswing over the last 4-5 months so winning this event was a huge boost," said Lynskey. "On a scale with some of my other scores the monetary value isn't huge but to win any tournament is a fantastic feeling, especially a well-recognised tournament series on PokerStars such as the MicroMillions. It felt particularly good as it had been so long since I had closed out a tournament due to my recent downswing."
It can be a tough part of the game to handle but Lynskey's advice is to knuckle down and let your graft pay dividends: "I'm very persistent and a hard-worker, keep working at your dreams and they will materialise... As we closed in on the final five, discussions of a deal were brought up several times. As I felt I was the most experienced player at the table, I held my nerve and refused the deal. Luckily I managed to maintain my chip lead and pick up the title!"
You can't keep a good player down. And that brings us onto Cristiano "crispoker10" Oliveira. The 22-year-old Portuguese self-coined 'semi-pro' won Event #11 for $16,426.12 following a four-way deal. It's a big score, but only the second-largest of his career: he finished runner-up in a World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) tournament in 2011 for $80,994. When you work for a sports stats company, which Oliveira does, then you'd expect numbers and competitive edge to come as second (and third) nature.
"Winning a tournament with almost 20,000 people is awesome!" said Oliveira.
Yeah, that about sums it up.
There's still more than half the 100-event festival series yet to play. The MicroMillions puts big guaranteed prize pools and great structures at your fingertips for micro buy-ins.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.