SCOOP 2016: A winning perspective inside and outside poker
Its 6am, you've been playing online through the night. You're exhausted, but happy, because you just won a SCOOP title and $21,578. So you log off feeling pretty good about things, and watch the sun come up with your wife from your balcony.
If you're thinking that sounds like a pretty good deal, Vasilis "5dioresta" Vasileiou would probably agree. To him, while poker brings him an income, having these moments is what life is about - a place in the world, spent with the people you love.
So that's how he celebrated his win in the early hours of Tuesday morning last week. When he'd logged on he said he'd hoped for the best. He got it, and more so.
Vasileiou, 30, is the type of man to appreciate what he can, when he can. "I believe [in having] a sound mind, in a sound body. Poker can be stressful when you are losing, having the support of my wife, being active and enjoy life is my defense- like poker skills are my offense."
Vasileiou, a fan of heads-up tournaments, began the day in a fashion that might sound familiar to a lot of SCOOP players.
"I started playing both $109 and $1,050 heads-up events and as you could imagine my focus was primarily on the big award."
Vasileiou busting out in the fourth round of the $1,050 level but had beaten five players in the $109. He closed the day with mixed fillings.
"I was losing money," he said. "But I had potential to win a lot tomorrow."
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That meant playing into the final day and ultimately for the title.
"It took much mental effort to stay focused and positive," said Vasileiou. "When your playing for a lot of hours it's easy to let yourself make mistakes.
Vasileiou though had a plan.
"As anti-stress action I have my dog nearby, his adorable and keeps me calm :)"
It's common theme when talking to Vasileiou, a vital support network to ease the strain that can be an inevitable by-product of playing poker professionally, for four years in his case. When not grinding online he spends his time either with his wife and dog, or riding trails on his bike, racing up and down the local mountains with friends for a different kind of adrenaline rush.
"I like the competition and getting involved in races for fun. I also like doing kite-surfing in the summer, and drinking beers!"
Back at the table, his route to the final was not exactly easy. Card dead in one encounter, he relied on bluffing to cling on before an all-in with ace-four got past an opponent's king jack.
That put him in the final and full of confidence. Soon after he and his wife were on the balcony ready for a new day, and with a little help from the prize money, a new future.
"I will be a Dad soon, so this would be the perfect gift for my daughter."
Few causes count as being better than that. Still, if there's a little left over...
"But maybe I'll buy a super- bike to race with my friends!"
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.