WCOOP 2012: Football Manager to World Champ, Umumba tells all

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgIf you're reading this there's a good chance that you're male. If you're male it wouldn't be wild to make the assumption that you've wasted hours of your life playing the a football manager simulator on your computer. It used to be a static number-crunching game where you'd balance tactics, experienced players and new recruits to take your football team to the top. You'd always find a diamond in the rough, a 16-year-old player you could sign from Dulwich Hamlets for tuppence ha'penny who would improbably blossom into a world class super striker. André Umumba was one of those and our Umumba, winner of WCOOP-17 ($320 NLHE 10-minute levels), was inspired by his young charge to use it, many years ago, as his handle on chatroom.

"Later I found out that there is a drink and a former African dictator with similar names," said our Umumba. "But nowadays I beat those two in terms of Google hits."

Indeed he does. Umumba racked up plenty of Google hits over the last few years, not least his $90,659.14 WCOOP score of last week, and has tournament winnings breaking into six figures for the last 3 years. No-Limit tournaments haven't even been his main thrust.

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The WCOOP-17 final table

Umumba, a talented chess player with an ELO of 2220, has been a high stakes fixed-limit grinder but, like most, couldn't resist the lure of the big money no-limit tournaments, "Not the worst decision," Umumba pointed out.

The German 28-ear-old student has thus far scored five cashes in the 2012 WCOOP so far giving him 170 points putting him in 9th place on the WCOOP leader board alongside Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov. It's a solid position and should he hold that spot it would be good for a TCOOP Main Event ticket.

The thought of actually winning a major tournament hadn't fully occurred to him though, given that his previous largest score was around $15,000.

"Before the bubble I was far from that thought, holding only 1/3 of the average stack. With 30 players left I realized there was a chance to make the final table, but I had come close a lot of times before, so I just kept on playing," said Umumba.

"The moment I really knew that I had good chances to make the final table was when I tripled up with AA with about 15 players left. I moved from 14th or 15th place to chiplead or 2nd place in that hand after holding up against QQ and AKo."

Tournaments are made or broken by such moments, as Umumba knows all too well.

"My father watched me playing the EPT Barcelona last year and after I busted with AK vs JJ, for like 20 Big Blinds, he asked me, if I really had to bet all my chips at once and if I didn't take into consideration my opponent could have 'two jokers'. My mother, probably like all mothers, is always worried that I could lose everything. I can tell her now that I'm 'world champion'," said Umumba.

Indeed you can, sir.

Check all WCOOP news and interviews by clicking on WCOOP reports.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in WCOOP