Mario “brandon0903” Mastropietrois, an Italian player living in London, won the $2,100 WCOOP 18-H for an incredible $80,642. Even more impressive is the fact that Mario satellited into the event for just $109.

Mario often find his way into tourneys via satellite. For him, it’s a way to take on bigger events and play for huge prize pools. Now, his approach has paid off.

After six months of business disruptions, and with a $400k court case looming over his head, Mastropietro’s $80k WCOOP win will boost his bankroll and fuel his family life for months to come.

I caught up with Mario for a chat.

739% ROI, and a lot of fun

It’s not everyday that a player can say they won a WCOOP title. Less so from a satellite entry. After making it through the $109 satellite, and then the 194 elite players in the event itself, Mastropietro achieved an ROI of 739% from his $80k win. More importantly, he had a lot of fun.

“It was amazing! Finally I won one of the tournaments, and I did enjoy it, I really enjoyed the day”, says Mario, “It was exciting. I was absolutely happy, so pleased about it.”


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Relief from $400k court case

After a year marked by business complications and financial difficulty, the win really couldn’t have come at a better time for Mario.

“My construction business has gone down over the last six months and I’ve got other issues as well. I’ve had projects put on hold. I’ve had a court case for $400k with some clients that did not pay me.”

“When I won the tournament, I said to myself and my family, ‘look God did something for me’. Because last year was not the best time of my life, regarding money. I really needed to have some cash flow. For me, for my family, and my son,” says Mario.

“So I think I deserved the win. If you search for something, you get it. I’m talking in life. I was searching, and I got it.”

Mario has now won the court case, and is hoping to recover the $400k. His WCOOP prize will help to keep him and his family comfortable. He’ll also be giving his bankroll a significant boost.

Go for the bigger win

That’s not to say Mario will be rushing out and buying in directly to more WCOOP tournaments. He prefers to enter satellites to gain his entries.

“Sometimes I play small buy-in tournament, but I don’t really like this. I prefer to use $100 for a satellite and get into bigger tournaments instead and go for the bigger win. And to be honest, you know, last time it went alright…”

“Alright” indeed… Mario is now $80k better off.

Capable under pressure

Satellites are not only a way for Mario to keep his buy-ins down and stick to the limits of his account. He also says he thrives off the pressure of playing at higher stakes against tougher opponents.

“If I play smaller tournaments, I lose concentration. With the bigger tournaments, I enjoy it more and I can play slightly better. I think I’m capable of playing under pressure, and feel more confident against better players.”

Mario finds that opponents become too complacent and play too many hands in smaller tournaments. He finds that opponents tend to play more predictably when faced with the possibility of losing huge buy-ins.

“Playing bigger tournaments, I think you use more of your brain, you play much better, and people tend to just play when they’ve got good hands,” he says.

On being professional

Although he’s more than comfortable playing high stakes games with capable opposition, Mario doesn’t consider himself a professional, and has no plans to take up the game full time. Especially not if it would ever get in the way of his family life.

“If I was like 20 years old, I would play lots of tournament and try to get somewhere. Being 47, it’s not easy. The young fellas have more concentration than what I have,” laughs Mario.

“I play for enjoyment to be honest, just a way to spend my time”, says Mario.

Family man

Much of Mario’s reservations around turning pro are based on not wanting to be away from family.

“Family are more important than everything. My son is the most important thing in my life. I live for my son.”

“I would like to play professionally, but I don’t have the time. I got my family, and to play poker (professionally) would mean not spending much time with him.”

“When my son is eighteen, I will involve him in the poker,” Mario laughs, “I will be his manager.”

So watch out. In coming years, we may well see a second generation Mastropietro take the reigns. For now, look out for Mario “brandon0903” Mastropietro during upcoming WCOOP events. He’s just added $30k to his bankroll and he’s looking to satellite into more of the biggest tournaments in the series – don’t be surprised if he converts his satellite entries into full blown wins. It wouldn’t be the first time.

(With thanks to Mario Mastropietro for chatting with me and sharing your ups and downs. We’re glad that the WCOOP win has come at such a great time for you.)


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