“It feels fresh to get a win in regular poker after so much Power Up grind.”
Those are the first words Sebastian said to me as we started our conversation on Discord earlier this week. The occasion was his $8,700 win in SCOOP Event #2-Low, the $5.50 Mini Sunday Kickoff Special Edition.
A 27-year-old from Paracatu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Sebastian spends his workdays grinding Power Up tourneys as “iloveyurmom” on PokerStars. He’s a member of the OP-Poker community and has been playing Power Up since the very beginning.
“I decided to delve into it as soon as I saw PokerStars was gonna start real money games,” he said. “I play the highest stakes PokerStars offers for the moment — $15 — but I’m still hoping they release higher stakes in the near future.”
If it seems like Power-Up is a bit of a niche pursuit for a pro, consider the trip that he took late last year. He began in São Paulo, the heart of Brazil, and over the next 81 days traveled to Punta del Este, Uruguay, documenting the trip on his Twitter and Instagram accounts and his own website. He said, “I started with a $90 bankroll and it became $3,500 by the end of the trip, solely through playing Power Up.
“It is a great game and people are really missing out on how fun it is.”
As you might have guessed, focusing on Power Up doesn’t leave a lot of room for MTTs. He plays during all of the big series and once finished as the runner-up in a Big $22, but he approaches them in what he calls “a quasi-recreational mindset” because his schedule doesn’t normally allow for the full days of grinding required to take down a SCOOP event.
The beginning of this year’s schedule had an opening perfect for the kickoff event, so Sebastian entered. He held a comfortable stack for most of Day 1, but fell short at the end and actually started Day 2 with a little under 10 big blinds. “I started feeling really good about it as soon as I got to 30 big blinds on Day 2,” he said. “Then when there were less than 50 players left I was feeling very comfortable playing my stack and my opponents. And at the next-to-last table, I was sure the tournament was mine.”
Soon enough it was, marking the first victory for Brazil during SCOOP 2019. There was no huge celebration, though, just an appreciation of the positive things he already has in his life. “I just texted my girlfriend saying we would eat fancy that night,” said Sebastian, “and then went for a walk with my dog in the park. Poor doggo had been waiting a couple hours to go out, so it was good getting her there.”
Sebastian’s dog is a good role model for poker players everywhere — she knows all about being rewarded for her patience. Exhibit A: this video from when he returned home after his trip to Uruguay last year.
— EVAisOP (@EVAisOP) February 18, 2019
(“She was acting like she just won a SCOOP title!” said Sebastian.)
So, what’s next for this traveling poker pro? No big expenditures, that’s for sure. “I haven’t really planned anything with it yet. I am not a big spender, so I’m just gonna put it aside and wait for whenever an opportunity or necessity comes around,” he said. “Maybe PokerStars will release some higher stakes for Power Up, in which case it would be better to have some dollars in storage!”
Taking a shot at becoming a double winner sounds like fun, too. Sebastian said, “For sure I am gonna play additional SCOOPs, but nothing crazy. I was planning on only playing the Sunday ones, but now I might step in on other days!”
With that in mind, Sebastian issued a challenge to PokerStars: if he wins a second SCOOP title live on stream, they host a “much-awaited proper Power Up Championship event.”
Thx, OP! PowerUP players are on another level, and we’re here do prove it😀
Hey @PokerStars! There has never been a 2x SCOOP champion. So, whatya think of a challenge? If I get another win ON STREAM, would you be down to giving us a much awaited proper Power Up Championship event? https://t.co/dULVvCVB1u
— 𝒔𝒆𝒃𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒂𝒏 (@riagotiao) May 14, 2019
No word from HQ on the chances of that happening just yet. We’ll check back in when Sebastian wins that second SCOOP title. Until then, look out for him at the Power Up tables — and maybe in another SCOOP event or two.