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Brazil: The growth of poker in the country of football

I want to talk about something that is making me very happy as a professional poker player: the growth of poker in Brazil!

In the last few years we saw countless happenings that show the development of this captivating sport in the country so dear to my heart. The subject "poker" is getting more and more constant in the media, and the subject is being treated correctly. In other words, it's being treated as a skill sport and not as gambling. A lot of the misconceptions have been overcome, and a variety of tournaments are spreading under the consent coming from the Brazilian Ministry of Sports that recognizes poker as a "mind sport." That's not to mention the players that are coming up and representing our colours majestically both live and online.

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The last Brazilian LAPT in Sao Paulo last April, showed how strong and big poker is in Brazil. There were 750 players in a main event with high technical quality and an excellent prize pool. The final table was filled with stars like Team Pros André Akkari and Léo Fernandez and several other great Brazilian players.

But, among all of the players, there's no denial that one in particular stood out. His name? Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, better known as Ronaldo "The phenomenon."

Yes, the ex-football player that got elected the best in the world three times, biggest World Cup scorer in history and the terror of every defensive player. It was his first live appearance as a Team PokerStars SportStar. Ronaldo is one of the biggest Brazilian idols not only for his great success, but also for his capacity to overcome major injuries that culminated in his great performance at the 2002 World Cup where he led the Brazilian team to its fifth championship (just in case you guys forgot, Brazil is the only team with five World Cups, ok? Haha!!). The fact that a sportsman like Ronaldo is now representing poker brings even more credibility to the sport in Brazil! Thanks, Phenomenon!

With this evolution happening, I'm sure that Brazil is going to be even more appealing to live players around the world, especially because we have what most of them are looking for: great tournaments and scenery!

Besides the LAPT stops, I'd like to highlight two big events that take place here. The first one is the BSOP - Brazilian Series of Poker, sponsored by PokerStars. It's one of the biggest tournaments in Latin America and it grows every year. Just to give you an idea, the main event of the closing leg from last year's series (2012) had 1,612 runners, the second largest field ever seen outside of USA. That's amazing! And do you want another reason? It's possible to win full packages for the event through daily satellites offered by PokerStars.

The other event is called MasterMindas, which is more than just a series of tournaments. It offers challenges, lectures, courses, and live coaches. In its last edition, I participated in a heads up battle against the Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero that I needed luck to win, lol!

After joining the PokerStars Team Online, I started to attend more live events. Live games are a lot different than online, and I admit that sometimes I get a little impatient playing live. Being an online grinder accustomed to playing multiple games at the same time, I, sometimes, get mistakenly over-aggressive, but I'm working on fixing that leak. Even so, I'm satisfied with my live play and on my last five tournament, although I'm still waiting on a big win.

While waiting for that to happen, I keep grinding online at PokerStars. Soon, I will be playing for a title in one of the many beautiful Brazilian cities.

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