TCOOP 2013: Sex Shop owner inspires TCOOP winner
This is a story about Christian "iPUNI$H" Bauer, a German man who won TCOOP event #19 for nearly $47,000, a player who uses Sesame Street's Cookie Monster as his PokerStars avatar, and a dreamer who found one of his greatest inspirations in the owner of Ronnie's Sex Shop.
To understand Bauer's story, you must first understand Ronnie. See, Ronnie had a dream. He bought a broken down old building in South Africa along Route 62. The plan was simple. He would sell fruits and vegetables at the roadside. He was to call it "Ronnie's Shop."
And so, Ronnie splashed some red paint on the side of the building with the new name and continued to work on fixing up the joint. That's when his meddling friends thought it would be hilarious to paint the word "sex" before "shop." The result: "Ronnie's Sex Shop."
Ronnie wasn't pleased, but he was too busy working on the building to paint over the crude sign. By and by, people started coming around. They'd have a beer or two. Before long, someone suggested Ronnie open a pub.
Ronnie's Sex Shop is now an institution.
We'll get back to that in a second.
This story is about Bauer. A year ago at this time, he was basically poker-broke. Down on his luck. Nothing seemed to be going right. He'd left his job with an international firm to study economics. He knew he couldn't spend the rest of his life behind a desk. He also found poker and realized he could do well at it.
And he had done well, but again, by January of last year, his bankroll was nearly in ashes. When the first TCOOP came around, it was sort of like a last gasp.
And, of course, Bauer final tabled. He won $7,000. It got him noticed. It got him a backer. It made him (and his backer) a bunch of money. And all of that got him a backing deal for this year.
Now, he's won another $47,000 in TCOOP, a feat he feels he owes in part to friends and family who spend all night with him on Skype as he grinds it out.
But, I'm sure you're screaming by now, what about the sex?
What about the sex, indeed?
"In general, I would say I am an open-minded person. I am down-to-earth, but at the same time, I love adventures and action," Bauer said this week.
And so, Bauer found himself trekking across South Africa. It happened six months after his first TCOOP score in 2012. Before long, Bauer was sitting across the bar from Ronnie of Ronnie's Sex Shop.
"We talked about life and how lucky things turned out to be for him, and at some point I said how much I fell in love with the country and the people of Africa and that I seriously think about staying or at least coming back soon," Bauer said.
Ronnie looked across at the young German and said something.
"Why not?" Ronnie said. "If you feel like it, just do it!"
It may not have been the most profound thing ever uttered, but it struck Bauer in a way that he declared "life-changing."
"The point was, I learned in that moment, that I can do whatever I want if I just put in enough effort and work to achieve a goal," Bauer said.
The past six months of effort have paid off to the tune of the $47,000 TCOOP win. And, as you might expect, it has Bauer thinking about Africa again.
"Maybe I will take this advice now," Bauer said. "Just book a flight and enjoy life down there."
If you'd like to get a look inside Ronnie's Sex Shop, you can check out the video below.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging