SCOOP 2016: Marko "BriDg2PaiN" Neumann on the secret behind his win
SCOOP might be coming to an end for another year, but the success stories are still worth telling. Like that of Marko "BriDg2PaiN" Neumann, who won SCOOP 32-H earlier in the Championship?
"PLO is my favourite game to play, and I missed two bracelets in the last two years," he said. "During WSOP 2014 I came fifth in the 10k PLO, and at WSOP 2015 I came second in the 1k PLO. It's nice to finally finish first in a major PLO event. It's also my biggest ever online cash."
It's a familiar story, that of a successful player still searching for the next landmark to knock down. In this case an online payday worth $216,000 for the 29 year old, who in recent years has swapped his native Germany for life as a professional player by the beach in Malta.
"I'm surprised most players choose to live downtown. It's so much nicer by the beach!"
It was from there that he earned his first title.
"You obviously have to run pretty good in the right spots to win a tournament like this," he said, recounting the various hands that went his way. "I also managed to bust the bubble boy with 29 people left who was second in chips at the time. [That] gave me this huge chiplead that I never lost until I won the tournament."
That all sounds familiar to poker players. What might not be is what Neumann does away from the table.
"I built a koi pond at my old house and collected koi's for several years," he said. "Since I moved to Malta I've planted a big garden that I tend to daily. I guess these are things most poker friends don't know about me!"
As Neumann went on to explain, there was more to a garden of fish and flowers than something to simply occupy his time. Instead it emerged after a difficult period in his career, that other players might well relate to.
"I had the typical poker player struggles with stress about bankroll management and downswings, tilt, and whether or not I needed to worry about life after poker."
Then providence struck, or maybe it was cupid. Either way he started dating a life coach. You could say it changed Neumann's world.
"There are many mindset coaches out there but Renae works with a linear formula called Remind, so it's easy for someone who thinks like me to understand.
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"Right after I started working with Remind, everything in life starting coming to me very easily, without stress. There are things I wanted that I always thought I had to wait for until I had enough money, or until I figured out my next steps and had a plan. Just changing the way I make decisions in life let me have everything I want all of the time, without any stress."
Turns out the garden might be more about putting life in to perspective, slowing down and enjoying life, than something to fill the five minute break in the tournament schedule. That's why he credits not anything won at the poker table, but this discovery might be his greatest success.
"Even more so than my poker game, it's become my top priority over the last one and a half years. I would say it's a success because I feel like a new person, with the easiest, ever life."
A surprisingly calm and contented response from a man who just won $216,000. Maybe we should all give it a try?
"I hope poker players are never ashamed or afraid of life coaching," he added. "If anyone has any questions about it, they can always ask me about my experience."
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.