PCA 2013: Main event player turning $10 into…well, he has no idea

January 12, 2013

In the north of Portugal, there is a village called Lagares that’s not too much bigger than the Atlantis Imperial Ballroom. This very story might well serve as invitation for the town’s 2,500 residents to attend a very big party.

Joao Nogueira calls Lagares home, but he’s currently on vacation. It’s one he’s taken without Diana, his girlfriend of thee years. She’ll likely forgive him. After all, his trip the Bahamas cost him $10, and he’s likely to be going back home with $100,000 or more. Actually, he has no idea how much money he will have.


Nogueira has no real concept of what the American dollar is worth. Every time someone busts out, Nogueira turns to Ricardo Pinto, a member of Portugal’s poker media, for an update on the euro to dollar conversion.

Nogueira speaks no English. He’s never played in a live poker tournament before. He played his first satellite to poker tournament. It cost $10 on PokerStars, and it earned him a seat in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Now he has a chance to make the final table of the main event.

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Joao Nogueira

At 21 years old, this is the biggest thing that’s happened to the young man from Portugal. If he manages to win this thing, it might well be the biggest thing that’s ever happened to his village.

Nogueira installs air conditioning units with his father, a job that supports his life, but doesn’t earn him the kind of money he will pick up today. He’s already guaranteed $92,000 and has a chance at $1.8 million.

And what does he plan to do if he wins? Well, we’re told he might well just invite everybody he knows in Lagares to a party.

We’d ask Nogueira if he knew how much something like that would cost, but we already know…he doesn’t.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging


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