For much of the two-day, $55 buy-in 2020 Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #41-M, things had gone well for Pedro “BigodinSagaz” Henrique.
The up-and-coming poker pro from Brazil was doing well through the first day and much of the second in the no-limit hold’em event played with progressive knockouts.
“The tournament was quite unusual,” Henrique explains. “I won a lot of big pots and had a very big stack, over 100 big blinds.” That comfortable situation lasted all of the way into Day 2 as well, until the tournament got down to the last couple of tables, that is.
“With about 18 left, my stack dropped considerably,” he says. “I entered the final table with the second-lowest stack.”
Not only was Henrique was low on chips. He was also low on information about his opponents, many of whom he hadn’t encountered before.
“At the beginning it was very foggy for me,” he says. “I didn’t know the playing style of four or five of my opponents. However, as time went by I saw how they reacted and started to get a better idea how they played.”
He began to recognize how many at the final table appeared to be “recreational” players who “were under pressure” after finding themselves among the final players left from a huge 19,125-entry field.
“I managed to collect some chips and build my stack,” says Henrique, who eventually “managed to impose my game on the ones who were passive.”
The cards went Henrique’s way as well, especially in a hand where he picked up pocket aces versus the pocket jacks of eventual runner-up “SlumKid” of the Netherlands.
The aces held, and suddenly Henrique was chip leader. Another hand in which he pulled off a successful squeeze play from the big blind holding king-ten suited proved key as he continued to accumulate chips.
A five-way chop ensured Henrique was going to enjoy a decent score, although there were still big bounties left to claim.
Eventually he made it to heads-up with “SlumKid” enjoying close to a 2-to-1 chip advantage to begin their duel. Henrique chipped up, however, and grabbed the lead. Then after about a half-hour of heads-up got his opponent all in.
Henrique had 10♠10♣ and “SlumKid” 5♥5♠. A bunch of low cards meant by the turn “Slumkid” had an open-ended draw, but the river blanked and tens held — Henrique was champion!
After adding the bounties to his first prize, Henrique took away $52,136.96 total for his achievement.
“I have been playing online poker for almost three years, and this result is by far the biggest I’ve had,” says Henrique. “This year, 2020, I’ve had my best results, but nothing compared to this SCOOP.”
The win was especially sweet given the fact that Henrique has spent those three years working toward playing poker full-time. He didn’t win a single tournament during the first year, but he kept working.
“I practically didn’t earn anything at first, but I continued playing because I had a good sense of the path I needed to follow. I still have it.”
He thanks his mother and grandmother for having always helped him in his efforts. “I have to thank my family and friends (união) for their support, and now this win gives me the chance to help financially at home,” he says.
He also thanks the Midas Team, a Brazil-based poker group. “And I have to send a kiss to Thiaguinho, Péricles, Mr Catra, Rock Lee, Léo Stronda, Seu Jorge, Djavan, Ayrton Senna, Tio ricco, and Romário,” he says, adding, “I don’t know — can I do that?”
Yes, Henrique — you sure can. Just like you can win a big tournament like this one. Congratulations, and best of luck going forward!