Online poker has already taken Francesco “dottorsydUK” La Cognata on a journey from his small town in Italy to a new life in London. SCOOP 2021 marked yet another significant poker moment for Francesco, who earned his first ever title in the #15-M: 215 Freezeout.
Cognata gained entry via an $11 satellite, and eventually prevailed to take down the tourney for $53,045.
PokerStars Blog caught up with Francesco to find out more about the win, and his ambitions on and off the tables:
PS Blog: Talk me through your SCOOP win. Was there anything different that you did this time? What obstacles did you run into?
Francesco La Cognata: First of all, thanks for the interview. I still have to realize that this has happened. I must say that I had not scheduled to play Event #15 of the SCOOP. I started by winning an $11 satellite.
I think this was a sign. I say a sign because my biggest win on PokerStars.com was a Big $55, and even in that one I won a satellite to enter.
The SCOOP tournament was a rollercoaster up to the bubble. Then, thanks to some good hands, I got to three tables left floating around the average in chips. With 21 players left, a good bluff catch helped me to build a solid stack and target the final table.
PS Blog: How did you start playing poker? And how long was it before you played your first major event like SCOOP?
FLC: I started playing poker in 2012 on Pokerstars.it. Poker has always been a passion but, due to a full-time job, I could play no more than a couple of times a week.
A positive series of victories in 2018 gave me the strength to leave my small town in Sicily and head to London. London is an expensive city and to support myself I worked up to 60 hours a week, but I tried to keep a few days off to be able to play.
The oceanic fields of the dot.com were a big stimulus but also a big challenge due to the variance. Honestly, the free time during the Covid situation gave me the possibility to focus on my game and, since then, I started to play constantly. SCOOP is an amazing opportunity that I could not miss.
PS Blog: What things did you learn in this period that really changed your game for the better?
FLC: This is very tough time in many aspects. Considering the millions of lives lost around the world due to the virus, and the economic problems due to the lockdowns, especially for the hospitality industry, of which I am a part.
On the other hand, it gave me more free time to cultivate passions and spend time with the family, and for me the time to play poker as much as I want. This free time gave me the chance to improve my game.
After each session, I spent a lot of time reviewing to find out what I was doing wrong and how to improve it. Essential things if you want to do well.
PS Blog: What was the key moment in the SCOOP tournament – the moment you realized you could win the whole thing?
FLC: If I have to think about some key moments, it would be the bluff catch river 21 left after a huge check-raise river. This hand gave me the stack and the consciousness that the final table was possible.
A moment that I realized I could win? Honestly, I still don’t believe it, but I must say that at the final table I felt very confident, and the only player who caused me trouble in some hands was the one who came runner-up: “bigpapyboss”.
PS Blog: What now? Will this change your approach to the game? Will anything be different for you?
FLC: A bankroll booster like this will make me feel much more comfortable. I will give a part to my family in Italy, who have always supported me in all my projects and to whom I owe everything.
I think that my approach to the game will not change much. I am little more than an amateur, but I have always put a lot of effort into what I do and it’s the same in poker. I think I will continue to study to try to win more and more, and I hope this victory will become a starting point and not an arrival point.
PS Blog: Finally, can you tell me a little about yourself? Your age, your job, where you live and what that’s like. Your poker ambitions, or just for life in general.
FLC: I am a 32-year-old male who four years ago decided to take the plunge from the southern Sicilian village to the largest European metropolis, London.
I have always worked as a bartender in important structures here in London, but due to the virus have been forced to revise my plans. So, in January I decided to enroll at the university in the business and management hospitality to try to create a better future for me and combine my passion for the bar with an academic course.
Making drinks, playing poker, and watching movies are my biggest passions.
As a poker objective, I aim to be able to participate in some important live event and be able to do well, hoping that as soon as possible we can return to playing in casinos.