The poker players of Brazil turned in a dominant performance at this year’s Spring Championship of Online Poker. They won 36 titles in all, 17 more than any other country, and none of them was bigger than the victory claimed by the player known as “Jack Wastes” on the final day of the series.
He turned $109 into $315,955, outlasting a field of 33,987 players over two days to win this year’s SCOOP-Low Main Event.
It was a stunning moment for the grinder from south of Rio de Janeiro, who told us by email this week that he’s always been “a simple guy with a simple lifestyle.”
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do with your time when you’re not playing poker.
Well, my name is Jean Fillipe, I’m 30 years old and from Brazil. I live alone in a small city south of Rio de Janeiro. My most remarkable characteristic is an obsession with information. I like to watch documentaries, read scientific articles and such things, trying to spend my time off from poker gathering knowledge from diverse areas.
When and how did you first get into playing poker, and what’s your regular game?
I think it was back in 2005/2006 when I just started studying engineering. I have played professionally since the end of 2017. I play all NLHE MTTs ranging from $0-$33.
What was the rest of SCOOP like for you prior to the main event?
I played some micros and some $22-$55 events. My only event above these limits was the low Main Event. My most remarkable results — excluding the Main Event of course! — were a 117th place finish out of 12,655 entries in Event #61-L ($22 NLHE) and 248th out of 58,565 entries in #1-L ($2.20 Phase).
The Main Event featured a large field and a slow structure. How did the early stages of the tournament go for you?
Mainly I tried to avoid doubtful spots. I finished Day 1 with something like 2.6 million chips, already very happy by having made it so far.
Did you feel that you were executing any part of your game plan particularly well?
Yes, I had a solid game plan by using bet sizes that are usually seen as “value heavy” by players at my average buy-in against mid- and high-stakes regulars and players I judged that were better post-flop than me. This way, I could finish hands early on the flop, avoiding too much post–flop play against them.
Did you have any close calls along the way where you nearly busted from the tournament? At what point of the final table, or the event itself, did you think you had a good chance of winning? What was the heads-up match like?
Not really, I lost with a pair of queens pre-flop against nines for about 30 blinds, when there were like 60 players left. That left me with about 17 blinds behind, which was a tough moment. The closest was when I joined the final table short-stacked. I called in a blind-vs.-blind situation with my tournament life on the line with no eliminations yet.
This wasn’t just any tournament win — it was a SCOOP Main Event. How did you react when you finished heads-up play? What was life like for you in the days afterward — how long did it take to “come down” from the win?
I was shocked with no reaction for some minutes, then I raised my hands to thank God and cried when remembered all the tough moments, the choices, the doubts. Normally outside the online life, I always was a simple guy with a simple lifestyle. It took a week to figure out what I had achieved with this win.
What does a win of this magnitude mean for you, both as a poker player and in your life away from the poker table?
I will keep playing the games which I played, when I feel it has come the time to try higher stakes I’ll do it. I plan to play some live tournaments, though I prefer online games. It means the beginning of a new life in every aspect, I’m very confident in my new projects on and off poker.
Brazil has a very passionate base of poker players and led all other countries in victories during this year’s SCOOP. What do you think it is about poker that captivates Brazilians so much? And how does it feel to be at the forefront of this recent wave of success?
Hard to tell, it is an intense passion, you learn to play and right after fall in love with poker. I’m pretty happy obviously, it was 36 SCOOP titles for Brazil in this edition. I’m very proud of having my name remembered on the history of this series and I hope to be able to use this success to help the community to grow even more.
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