Flavio Yuji Kumoto is a 26-year-old poker player who is grinding away, hoping to establish himself as a profitable “reg.” The Brazilain, with Japanese ancestry, recently won Leaderboard 2 of the Legend of the Week promotion. This is his story.
Kumoto won the $5.50 buy-in Headhunter, which stood him in good stead to walk away with the leaderboard’s top honours, but he knew he still needed to put in some consistent results over the course of the week.
“Although I knew of the promotion, I had no specific strategy. After winning The Headhunter on Thursday, I saw I was third in the standings, so I cancelled my planned breaks to go all-in for first place.”
Victory in Leaderboard 2 was assured on Saturday when Kumoto finished 12th in The Headhunter.
“It was really cool because while I was playing, I was looking for the nicknames of other competitors in the rankings to see if they stood a chance of catching me.”
More Than $400 Profit From his Free Tickets
Finishing first on Leaderboard 2 saw Kumoto bank a $111 One Shot ticket, two $150 Daily Legends entries, and a $55 Gladiator seat. The Brazilian had previously played higher stakes tournaments on his own dime, but the pressure was now off because he secured these tickets for free.
“Legend of the Week prizes were awesome for me. I missed playing high stakes events. Competing with no pressure was even better.”
Kumoto put the tickets to good use and managed to reel in more than $400 thanks to the bounty formats of some of the Daily Legends he won tickets for.
The 26-year-old is a professional poker player who grinds the small stakes at partypoker. His career was on an upward trajectory when disaster struck: the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kumoto joined the 4Bet team, a prominent poker team in his native Brazil led by Brazilian sensation Will Arruda. The coaching and professional setup saw Kumoto progress from playing $0.25 buy-in tournaments to taking shots at $109 buy-in events.
COVID-19 Pandemic Halts Kumoto’s Progress
Then the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic hit home and put the brakes on his poker career.
“My father ended up losing his job, and things got really tight, financially speaking. My family ended up being really affected by the pandemic, and I chose not to renew my deal with 4Bet. I could not commit to them without knowing if I would be able to continue playing poker like I used to do.”
His father losing his job was not the first blow Kumoto endured. In 2015, four years after being introduced to poker, bizarrely, by a teacher in high school, Kumoto dropped out of college to help care for his sick grandmother.
Personal Tragedy Inspires Kumoto
All the time Kumoto had invested into studying the game via books and by winning a poker training course with Alexandre Mantovani, looked to have been for nothing, but family always comes first.
“At the end of 2015, my family began to experience problems, and I was forced to drop out of college. My grandmother was very sick, and I practically started to spend all my time taking care of her. I managed to sometimes find the time to read something about poker or play a table or two on my phone.”
Poker became an outlet for Kumoto, a game he could play to get away from the stresses and strains of caring for a sick loved one. Even without a single cent in his bankroll, Kumoto was determined to become a professional poker player.
“At that time, away from college, it started to occur to me to dedicate myself 100% to poker, but I couldn’t play a lot of volume. I played whenever I could, and most of the time, it was on my cell phone.”
Sadly, Kumoto’s grandmother passed away in 2017. After dealing with his tragic loss, Kumoto’s desire to make it in the poker world intensified. There was a significant problem in his plans; he did not have a bankroll.”
Going Broke Before Adopting a More Professional Attitude
“I tried to raise a bankroll from $0 by playing freeroll and penny tournaments. I used to try and move up without any bankroll control, and I always ended up going broke. I went broke more than 20 times with my small bankroll. I used to build and then waste it until I became a more professional player.”
Kumoto now has an average buy-in of $11 but has his sights set far higher. The man who counts Brazilian legends Yuri Martins and Dan Almeida among his poker idols, would love to return to the 4Bet team. Until that happens, Kumoto will continue studying away from the tables while evolving his game in our Daily Legends tournaments.
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