Poker success sometimes follows an unpredictable road. Since he started in poker, 12 years ago, the semi-professional poker player João Maureli has probably pictured himself winning a six-figure prize hundreds of times.
What this player from Porto Alegre – now a resident of Cachoerinha (Brazil) – had no idea is that he would get his first massive score at the age of 40 and after taking down a $22 tournament with an added $3,200 WPT Ticket by partypoker.
Last Tuesday, João took third place in the WPT Knockout Championship – a tournament with 1,035 entries of US $3,200 – and won a total prize pool of US $174,510, between bounties and the prize for third place, achieving a return 7,932 times greater than his investment.
The news went fast around the poker world. Rob Yong celebrated the Brazilian’s achievement. YouTuber and grinder Joey Ingram said, “GTO to promote these kinds of stories.”
It was, so to speak, a Cinderella story. Hard to believe when you hear it. Even harder to assimilate when you are the main character.
A final table like the WPT Knockout Championship, with a massive $ 400,000 expected for the champion, will have more than a few high stakes players spending the night awake. Our Brazilian player was no exception. In the 14 hours between the end of Day 2 and the beginning of the Final Table, he had a hard time getting any sleep.
“It was complicated to sleep already when I qualified for day 2, even more, when I made it to the final table”, says João, who gave an interview this Thursday to partypoker.
“I spent the night replaying the spots in my head. Impossible to sleep, my family was also apprehensive, my wife knew from day one about my dream of becoming a Pro. She was always by my side, and that tournament could be the beginning of a new reality … It was the greatest night of my life…”
Ups, downs and redemption
Although Maurelihas accumulated important results in his career, the largest being $35,000, our protagonist had an average buy-in of $20 when registering to the Mini Master.
A bankroll that can’t guarantee you a seat to a $3,200 tournament, but was good enough to sign up for the $ 2 Mini Masters $ 15K GTD – a great entry point for bigger dreams.
“I remember this tournament very well, when I arrived at FT I realized I had a great chance of winning that tournament and getting, in addition to the $4K prize, that dreamed $3.2K WPT WOC ticket”, says João – who could have chosen any Championship tournament, but opted for the Knockout one for a chance to win bounties – even without reaching the ITM.
“What partypoker did by distributing WPT tickets in their regular daily tournaments was a wonderful strategy. It is a satellite that in addition to the ticket has prizes. partypoker is to be congratulated,” he says.
If $20 was his average buy-in by last Tuesday, it will now increase. From now on, João will play bigger tournaments, in a decision taken in partnership with the Step Team, a team led by Thiago Grigoletti, which was instrumental in recovering the career of this Brazilian, who was running bad in 2014 and 2015, but never gave up on the dream of being a full time professional.
“This award will certainly change my life, and it is also the first step for me to move from semi-professional to professional”, says the player. “I will certainly raise the bar, the team has already made me a proposal to join the PRO team”, says João.
Until Tuesday, João Maureli was alternating his persona between Software Engineer and poker player. From now on, he wants to live out his passion. This Brazilian made the world know its history, but he wants to write new chapters as soon as possible.
WPT World Online Championships
After his Tuesday performance, a small break was well deserved! He shared with us his decision to stay away from the tables until Sunday where he said he would reevaluate his goals and keep playing upcoming WPT events on partypoker.
João also described satellites as a “golden chance to play in big tournaments and get big payouts,” and making it far in a tournament you’ve satellited into is a wonderful Return On Investment for the player.