Raphael Eduardo de Paula has experienced the finest moments of his short career as a professional poker player over the past week. The Brazilian, who turned professional in February 2020 enjoyed two wins In less than 48 hours. The second and largest coming in a partypoker Daily Legends event.
On October 16, the grinder, playing under the nickname “FueLLeduardo”, helped himself to a $1,554 prize by winning The Headhunter. This is sum represents a career-best score.
A native of Avaré, which is a small town in the countryside of São Paulo State, Raphael currently plays low stakes tournaments and has an average buy-in of $4.87. He works hard, day in and day out, in an attempt to make magical weeks like the one he just enjoyed into regular occurrences.
From a Valet Job to a Winning Regular
Around a year ago, Raphael yearned to become a professional poker player but he didn’t know if he dream could ever come true. He then worked as a valet in a parking lot, a modest job but one that gave him some financial stability at a crucial time of his life.
Raphael, then 27, was already married to Thais. They have a two-year-old daughter to raise and many bills to pay at the end of each month. Starting a career in poker, from the ground up, was a difficult decision to make.
“I realized that I really liked the game itself. I started playing some home games with friends and then I moved to the live circuit and got some cool results. I thought to myself: I can make it”, recalls the player. “But it was not an easy decision. I have financial commitments each month, but something told me that I could be really successful, and I still think I can.”
It was not easy to exchange the stability and steady income of a fixed job for making a living playing poker tournaments, but he chose to be a grinder. Raphael received a proposal to play for Forex, a team specialising in developing new poker player, at the beginning of the year.
“I joined (Forex Team) in February 2020. They provided me with the best content, software, reviews and database analysis in addition to coaching services so I could be the best version of me and play my A-game”, says Raphael. “Without any doubt, the most remarkable moment of my career so far was being asked to join Forex. It showed me that I was on the right track”.
“I am on the right track”
In addition to being chosen by the team, his results over this past year show Raphael is on the right path. Among a series of his impressive results at partypoker include victories in the Bounty Hunter $2.20 2K GTD, for $325, in July, and one in the Powerfest 7.5K GTD, in May, for $802. His recent Headhunter win trumped those results.
These sums of money may not seem like much to someone used to trawling through the high stakes results, but these are impressive achievements for a beginner trying to build a bankroll and move up the various stakes.
Thanks to a lot of studying, Raphael has started well during his first few months of professional poker. He dedicates over 12 hours a day to grinding and studying in order to achieve these results.
“I start the day by reviewing some specific spots that I had doubts about the previous day. We also have a few days during the week where we studying strategy, both in a group and individually. I work very hard”.
Head Coach and Streamer: Plans for the Future
It has been eight months since Raphael turned professional and he’s had a solid start, be he knows in order to have long-term success in poker he needs to evolve and move up from the lower buy-in games. Raphael wants more. In a short-term, he plans to become an instructor for the team that gave him his big break in the poker universe.
“Forex provides players with a very interesting career path. One where you can become part of the coaching staff or even a team partner. Right now, I am focused on studying so I can hopefully become a Head Coach in future. This is my first step. My greatest desire is to help Forex Team to receive recognition as one of the top Brazilian teams”, says Raphael.
In addition to playing, studying and training, Raphael sporadically broadcasts his sessions live on his personal Twitch channel. This is something he intends to take more seriously and make daily videos in the near future.
“There are no recorded videos on my main page at the moment because there’s a new copyright rule regarding music you listen to on stream. At the moment, I prefer not to record my play in case I receive any kind of punishment due to the songs I listen to during the live sessions.”
“To tell you the truth, I have yet to start broadcasting at full strength, but I am thinking about a really cool project to get things going.”
Raphael puts part of his love for streaming poker down to players such Canadian Matthew Staples and Brazilian Lui Martins who are both members of Team partypoker.
Beginning of a Dream
A year ago, Raphael he just wanted to become a poker pro. As the Brazilian saying goes, “everything worked out”, at least it has so far. Raphael knows in order to continue winning he needs to continue improving his poker skills. The ‘secret’ to get there, Raphael knows well, is to combine volume, study and professionalism.
The Daily Legends schedule of tournaments, which have limited re-entry, reduced late registration, and finish at a reasonable time, were designed to offer the best possible structure for players like Raphael who want to enjoy playing poker tournaments and to improve their game. Raphael is a big fan of the MTTs he can play at partypoker.
“I have been playing all the Daily Legends regularly and there is not a single tournament I say is my favourite because I enjoy them all. With these new structures, every partypoker MTT is completely satisfying”.
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