He’s spoken previously about playing against Neymar at the poker tables, and now a fellow PokerStars Ambassador Rafael Moraes is confident that players like the footballing star can help continue growing poker in Brazil.
PokerNews caught up with Moraes ahead of the Brazilian Series of Poker stop in Sao Paulo to see what the Brazilian has been up to, and talk about why Brazilians love poker so much.
Excited for the BSOP
Moraes himself won a BSOP title earlier this year, and is confident that the latest stop will be an overwhelming success.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the BSOP breaks another record,” he told PokerNews. “The BSOP Millions is the most anticipated poker event in all of Latin America. It’s the one I like the most to play, so I’m looking forward to playing there.”
Red Spade Pass Experience
Moraes recently welcomed two members of his poker community to the Brazilian Grand Prix, as part of PokerStars‘ partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing.
Ambassadors and Qualifiers Enjoy Exclusive Red Spade Pass Experience at Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
“It was amazing,” he said. “I was able to award two Red Spade Passes in my home game on PokerStars. And my community went crazy — they all wanted to win one. Meeting the two winners and seeing how they react to such an incredible experience that PokerStars is giving them was just incredible.”
Moraes: “Neymar Doesn’t Play Poker for Money; He Just Wants to Win!”
Brazilian Poker Players
Fans of poker in Brazil, and indeed Brazilian poker players have long been influenced by superstars, and Moraes says that it’s the mix of poker role models and passion for poker that has enabled many of his compatriots to reach the very highest heights.
“Brazilians love all kinds of sports and competitions,” he said. “If a Brazilian is doing well in a sport you can be sure that everyone will start talking about it, watching it and practicing it here. And with poker there is no difference. Since the early days, when guys like Andre Akari won their first big titles at the tables, poker started to grow here and it has never stopped.
Akkari himself has previously called Moraes one of Brazil’s online poker elite, but Moraes himself says that a lot of the media exposure comes from even bigger names than him.
“When names like ronaldo other neymar are playing the game and getting media attention and good exposure in the media, poker just keeps on growing.
“Poker grows every year here in Brazil. I have no doubt that as poker gets even more popular in Brazil in the near future we will have some new national heroes coming from poker.”
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Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a BA in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester. He previously worked as a freelance live reporter, and video presenter for the World Poker Tour.