This July, 888Live headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil for 6 days or poker fun and excitement. It was our second big event, following close on the heels of the very first-ever 888Live Brazil back in December.
For Brazilians, poker has become the mind sport of champions, with many former football legends hanging up their boots for the thrill of the poker cards. It was with this great desire for poker in Brazil in mind that we set out to bring more bespoke poker events to the locals.
The Past Meets the Present
The first Brazilian tour spanned 6 days from December 10-15 and had a Main Event with a R$490 buy-in and R$500,000 guaranteed. Held in the mythical Mineirão Stadium, in Belo Horizonte, the tournament series was almost surreal – bringing together the ghosts from the 2014 World Cup and the modern day, and very much alive, poker enthusiasts.
This year's event also ran for six glorious days but, this time, the battlefield was not the almighty Mineirão Stadium, it was the equally magnificent Allianz Parque, Palmeiras Football Stadium in Sao Paulo. Although the stadium was built to provide Palmeiras with a new modern home, it also caters to shows, concerts and corporate events. In fact, the multi-purpose building opened on December 2nd, 2014 with Paul McCartney headlining a concert.
The 888Live Brazil Events
888Live events are known for two things: a great atmosphere and a massive poker presence. This event was no exception as many Brazilian sports stars came out to celebrate and be part of an incredible event in an even more incredible infrastructure. It was truly one of the greatest 888Live ever. And that's taking into account that the tour has also held events in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Spain, UK and many more.
With a guaranteed prize of R$1,000,000 in the Main Event and a schedule which included 8 other tournaments, 888Live Brazil was shaping up to break its 2015 records:
Date Tournament Name Buy-in
- Main Event – R$1,000
- NLH Super Turbo - R$150
- 888Live for Good Charity Event
- PL Omaha – R$700
- NLH Turbo Deep Stack - R$300
- 888 Ladies Event - R$250
- NLH High Roller – R$3,000
- NLH Second Chance - R$300
- NLH Last Chance - R$300
In total, more than 2,500 players came out to play in the 888Live Brazil series. They battled it out for great prizes and also got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to hang out at one of the most modern stadiums in the world.
Here is a quick roundup of the numbers from the Main Event and the High Roller tournament:
• There were a whopping 1213 entries
• R$1,213,000 total collected in buy-ins
• R$1,000,000 in prize money up for grabs
• R$200,000 up top for the champion
• There were a respectable 116 entries
• R$348,000 was the total collected
• Generated a R$286,000 prize pool
• R$75,000 went to the champion
The Winners' Podium
First-place finisher in the Main Event, Viktor Onizuka, had this to say about his win:
"I am a professional online poker player. I play poker every day, but this is the first big live tournament I play. So, it's an incredible feeling to win - even more beating a great player such as Ricard on the heads-up. I'm really happy right now. Even before my win, I was thinking the 888Live SP was amazing... now I'm pretty sure about that."
Third-place finisher in the Main Event was Murilo Henrique Reis. His story was a little unusual because, unlike the majority of tournament runners, he won he didn't have to cough up the R$1,000 entry. Instead, Murilo won his ticket in a $1 with add-on 888poker online satellite. He managed to turn that $1 into a R$93,000 payday. Talk about ROI!
Other champions in 888Live Brazil's sophomore event were:
• Wagner Ornellas, who won the Pot-Limit Omaha for R$15,000
• Bruna Sobreira, champion of the Ladies Only event
• Ricardo Valentim, who collected R$75,000 for his 1st place finish in the High Roller
Here's the list of Main Event Top Nine:
1 - Victor Onizuka - R $ 200,600
2 - Ricardo Tavares - R $ 133,000
3 - Murilo Henrique Reis - R $ 93,000
4 - Felipe Beltrane - R $ 71,400
5 - Lucas Leite - R $ 52,500
6 - Lucas Iglesias - R $ 37,800
7 - Matheus Dias - R $ 29,000
8 - Geraldo Rabelo - R $ 20,400
9 - Rudnei Martins - R $ 14,000
888Live Gives Back
As was the case last year, the 888Live for Good tournament was a big success. The benefit event sought to raise money and awareness for the Edmilson Foundation, a non-profit charity organisation that works with endangered children in Brazil. The event raised R$10,000 for the foundation and added another dimension to the tournament.
Among the 60 sports stars and celebrities that came out in support of the event were, Edmilson (the charity's founder and former football player, who won the 2002 World Cup with Brazilian National team). Also, joining in were Team 888 Pro Denílson and his wife, Luciele di Camargo, Olympic gold medallist Rodrigão and many other famous football players and stars.
Last year, 888poker ambassador Denílson said about the charity and the 888Live for Good event:
"I know Edmilson since our days at São Paulo FC. We’ve played in a World Cup together; he is like my brother. And the Edmilson Foundation I know well, it does a great job! It’s great to see 888poker help[ing] the institution. Poker is growing a lot in Brazil, and it's very good to use this growth to help others."
The Winners' Podium
Allianz Parque was built to entertain. So, even if you didn't make it big during 888Live, there are lots of things to help soothe the pain. Palmeiras Stadium has an extensive range of restaurants, bars and shops to keep even the fussiest (bad beat) poker player happy.
And, the winners in this year's 888Live event will have plenty to spend their money on; there's no doubt about that!
Now that it's all over, we're ready to do it again!