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Andre Akkari Wins First WSOP Bracelet, Second for Brazil
PokerStars Team Pro Andre Akkari became just the second Brazilian champion in WSOP history, winning his first bracelet and $675,117 in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Akkari defeated 2,856 players to win the third-to-last $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event of 2011.
Akkari, who has been attending the WSOP for the last four years, is generally accepted as the best tournament player from Brazil.
He now has almost $1 million in live tournament earnings, in addition to the estimated $2.2 million he’s earned playing online poker tournaments.
“Yesterday when I won I felt like I was dreaming,” Akkari told PokerListings.com of his victory.
Joining Alexander Gomes as the only Brazilians with WSOP bracelets, Akkari says we’re only going to see more successful poker players coming out of his home country.
“Poker in Brazil is like a fever,” he said.
It was Gomes’s World Series victory in 2008 that lit the match, but it was the competitiveness and passion of Brazilians that fanned the flames of poker’s growth.
“Brazilians play everything like it is soccer,” he said.
“Even if we were playing chess it would be with the passion of soccer.”
With PokerStars launching a brand new poker tour in Brazil and another victory on poker’s biggest stage, it’s safe to say the game will continue to get bigger.
Estimates put Brazil’s population at more than 200 million.
Akkari thinks that the passion Brazilians bring to poker will be good for the game.
“I think it’s good for poker,” said Akkari.
“Poker should be more like a sport with more energy and more cheering,” he added.
Andre Akkari is 36 years old and was born in Sao Paulo. He is married with two children.