If you have ever played in the live events qualifiers at partypoker then we can all but guarantee you have bumped into this week’s “Meet The People” subject, “Bingo Buddy” Viilaluz.
Buddy discovered poker during the Chris Moneymaker boom and the NHL strike in Canada more than 10 years ago. There were a number of poker games starting up in bars and restaurants near where Buddy lived and he quickly became a regular in a number of poker leagues, including the partypoker-sponsored Red Hot Poker Tour (PHPT).
It was in this league that Buddy earned his nickname “Bingo Buddy” after his opponents believed he was luckier than them thanks to the aggressive strategy he employed due to the fast blind structure adopted by these fledgling live events.
A few years later, in 2008, Buddy saw an advertisement for a live poker event that was sponsored by partypoker and set himself the goal of qualifying for it. After depositing $500 and creating his account “Bing0Buddy,” Buddy went on to win three packages to the tournaments taking place there before going into to reach the final table of the televised main event.
Buddy has continued to qualify for high profile events at partypoker including the 2014 and 2015 WPT500 Main Event in Las Vegas, the inaugural WPT500 UK at Dusk Till Dawn in 2014 and will be jetting off to the UK once again having won his way to this year’s upcoming £1,000,000 guaranteed WPT500 UK.
Other live events that Buddy has won his way to include WPT Valkenburg, WPT Fallsview, WPT National London, WPT Amsterdam and WPT Vienna. It’ s easy to see why he’s feared at the partypoker virtual felt.
Although not a partypoker event, Buddy says his best poker achievement came in the summer of 2015 when he put together a great run in the Seniors Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). After outlasting the majority of the 4,193-strong field, Buddy’s run came to an end in 31st place for $14,906 – a superb performance we’re sure you’ll agree.
We asked Buddy which of his live events stand out the most, and both were partypoker run tournaments.
“Since family is #1 for me, the ones that my family were able to experience the VIP treatment of the partypoker WPT events are the most special. For example, the WPT Celebrity Invitational was not only special in that you cannot even buy-in for $10,000 for the invitational event, but my family was able to travel with me. My wife and daughter were driven to Universal Studios and given VIP passes by partypoker. They also went to Disneyland and even met actress Loni Anderson when partypoker took us to Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills.
“The first-ever WPT 500 event at Las Vegas was also special as my travel-hating wife again agreed to go. My wife, daughter and I spent nine free days at my favourite resort of Aria. My wife and I would hang around the VIP Player Lounge, or dance the night away at the Players Party at the Aria nightclub. My daughter enjoyed driving around Nevada in a Mustang convertible, including Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon.”
While Buddy has been a Palladium VIP for many years, he plans to play less poker for the rest of the year so he can spend more quality time with his family, including his daughter who has just started high school in Canada.
“It’s hard not to take advantage of poker promotions, though,” said Buddy.
Those of you who are planning to head to WPT Montreal, WPT Fallsview or WPT Canadian Spring Championship should look out for Buddy as he is attempting to qualify for them at partypoker. He’s also going to be present at WPT Georgia, this year’s WPT500 UK and WPT Philippines!
Buddy signed off by giving the readers of the partypoker blog a few tips for success and maximising value.
Firstly, he says if you’re Canadian you should be aware of the 30% tax imposed on Canadian residents for winnings in USA-based live tournaments and instead focus on tournament taking place in Canada. He’s also not a fan of re-entry tournaments, preferring to spend the money saved on not firing a second bullet to enter a different tournament – the choice is yours! He’s also an advocate for taking advantage of the various promotions that are exclusive to players part of the Canadian Facebook Community.
Finally, and possibly the most important of Buddy’s tips: “Please don’t berate other players. It’s important to have a pleasant atmosphere so those “bad players” will keep playing and give chips back to you.”
So there you have it, a brief insight into one of our most loyal customers, Mr “Bingo Buddy” Villaluz. Be sure to say hi to him at the partypoker tables and wherever you see him plying his trade around the globe.