EPT9 Prague: The lifetime achievement of Rodrigo Caprioli
"I'm probably not one of the best players in the world," said Rodrigo 'caprioli' Caprioli. "But I'm one of the ones that plays the most. I play a lot."
From some player's mouths, that kind of comment may seem like an idle boast. But "a lot" may even be understating it where Caprioli is concerned. The 31-year-old Brazilian has just accepted a lifetime achievement award on the stage at EPT Prague in recognition of reaching five million VIP Player Points at PokerStars. That's "a lot" in anyone's language.
The achievement earned him a certificate, a kiss from tournament director Teresa Nousiainen and a smattering of applause from his peers - plus an exclusive Tag Heuer watch, which he can put with the two timepieces he earned for winning SCOOP events. They rest somewhere on top of an enormous pile of bonuses that are on offer to the highest volume players on PokerStars.
In his first year playing "really hard", Caprioli amassed two million VPPs, mainly from sit and gos, which offer the best VPP return on time invested. These days he estimates that he plays about six hours a day, six days a week, playing 12 pot limit Omaha cash tables at a time.
The VPPs continue to rain in, and Caprioli has also mastered how to translate the numbers on the screen into cold hard cash. Put another way, Caprioli has played enough online poker over the past four years to allow him to travel to the European Poker Tour whenever he likes, trading VPPs for tournament buy ins and then, often, the riches that we all hear about.
In April, he traded VPPs for a Monte Carlo buy in and finished fifth in the Main Event for €315,000. And he has also played in London, Barcelona and Sanremo, as well as the World Series and the Latin America Poker Tour, where he cashed in the 2009 Grand Final.
"It's really great," Caprioli said. "To go to Monte Carlo, you just pay the buy in. All the costs and the hotels are covered (by the package). It's better than exchanging it for money. Nowadays I spend most of my VPPs on packages."
In many other countries, Caprioli's stash of VPPs would also be enough to earn him seven Porsches from the VIP store. And yet he drives a Citroen SUV around the streets of Sao Paolo as a Porsche is about three times as expensive in Brazil as anywhere else. (And that's before you even factor in the prohibitive government taxes in Brazil.)
But Caprilio hope one day to have the Porsche - perhaps branded as a the Brazil PokerStars car - to travel the circuit of the Brazil Series of Poker and the LAPT, taking his poker-playing friends along with him and, presumably, stashing the loot in the trunk.
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