Breaking some news today here at PokerStars Blog. A confirmation, as it were, of a long suspected significance involving a connection between online poker prowess and cute little kitty cats.

Earlier this week Matas “NoTilit” Cikinas emerged from a tough 671-entry field in Event #25-M, the $2,100 NLHE 8-Max Sunday Slam, to win the title and a better than $228K first prize.

Not only that, the player from Lithuania also won himself a nifty 2021 Slam Package including full buy-ins to next year’s SCOOP, WCOOP, and Stadium Series Main Events.

Cikinas came onto the PokerStars live stream this week to chat with James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton about his win — in fact his second career WCOOP title after having won a $530 NLHE event in 2019.

“It wasn’t as big as this one… that was a nice experience,” Cikinas recalled when looking back on his earlier win and $64K score.

Indeed, his second WCOOP win was bigger in terms of prize money, and also featured an especially challenging group at the end.

After Patrick “pads1161” Leonard bubbled final table in ninth, Cikinas still had to contend with other top talent like Francisco “Tomatee” Benitez (who finished eighth), David “davaman” Lopez (fifth), Julian “nailju90” Stuer (third), and Christian “WATnlos” Rudolph (second).

“That’s kind of why I like this victory,” Cikinas told James and Stapes. “Because the final table was really tough. It wasn’t easy.”

In fact, the high level of competition proved to be a useful distraction, in a way.

“I’m not even really thinking about the money,” says Cikinas, referring to the need to concentrate on his final table foes. “It was enjoyable to compete in this high-level competition… and to be able to win, that was really nice.”


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A full-time poker pro, Cikinas is often grinding and constantly works on improving his game. Before signing off, he did offer something that could be considered a tip for those watching at home.

James brought up an idea that has come up before on the stream — that players with cat avatars tend to do better, on average.

Cikinas has such an avatar. How does he feel about felines and their potential to enable players pawing poker prizes?

“Honestly I’m not a big cat fan,” Cikinas laughed. “But there is a story behind that.”

Cikinas told of having “a friend who was crushing online, and I’m like why are you crushing so much? And I saw the cat avatar and I’m like okay, I’m gonna switch right now on my account to the cat avatar. And after that I’m kind of like doing okay.”

So it’s not just a theory, then. The cat avatar… it works?!

“Yeah, I believe in the cat!” grinned Cikinas.

Keep that in mind, poker players. The cat avatar is a thing. We’re not kitten around.


MORE INTERVIEWS WITH WCOOP WINNERS!

 

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