Even after 10 years of professional poker, Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos hasn’t lost a hint of the drive and energy that has propelled him to be one of the game's best players/ambassadors.
Directly related to that success: the most important thing in poker for him is neither money nor titles.
Ramos has come to Prague for the first time this week, not because it’s the last EPT but because he’s decided to go to places he hasn’t been to before and enjoy the moment.
After a recent series of deep runs that didn't result in a win, Ramos felt overwhelmed by frustration. International sightseeing helps him realize what the important things are.
He proudly shows us some photos he’s taken in Prague’s Old Town at night. “You know,” he says, “young players don’t do that s***. But I like to go to new places. And although I’m a beach boy I like it here very much.”
Ramos won the Spirit of Poker Most Inspiring Player Award in 2016 - a year that began with Mojave catching our attention at the PCA in January when he and André Akkari fervently promoted poker in Brazil. It's ending in much the same way.
PokerListings: At the PCA you claimed that Brazil has the best pizza in the world ...
Felipe Mojave: It’s true! My family is Italian, originally. I’ve been to Italy a couple of times and I tell you our pizza is much better.
Once I was told that the best pizza is in San Remo. I didn’t have time to go but a week later, when we were all at EPT Monte Carlo, I took a car just to go back to San Remo and try the pizza. Not even very nice.
PL: You're very passionate about things. Tell us what happened after you received the Spirit of Poker Award.
Felipe Mojave: Just this year I’ve been celebrating 10 years of playing poker for a living. The award is something that really works for me.
It means more than winning a tournament because look what happens. Any time I post on social media that I’m going somewhere people get back to me to support me and cheer me up.
It’s not about the amount of money or a title; it’s about living this life, it’s about looking up to people and follow them, feel for them. That’s the beauty of it, not the winnings.
PL: Some people say there are too many awards and the SOPA isn’t even attached to money. For us, it’s really meant as an appreciation of something that goes beyond numbers.
Felipe Mojave: And that’s exactly what makes it so special. Imagine this; there are people who vote for me on the internet! These people don’t even know me!
These people are from all over the world and they think “oh, Felipe is a nice guy, he’s got my vote." That means so much to me!
It’s different if you know me and what I can do. I feel deeply connected to my followers and I think I owe them to share as much as I can.
I try to give something back. This year at the BSOP I hosted a live freeroll with R$50k and three seats to the BSOP main event. Over 5,000 people got back to me and wanted to play.
PL: You missed the GPL finals because of the BSOP. With PokerStars joining in, you’ll probably be back for the second season?
Felipe Mojave: I hope so. I really like the concept and playing with the best in the world, so I’m very supportive.
PL: The GPL did lose some traction over time. Many have already suggested changes but the one thing that’s clear is they have to change something.
Felipe Mojave: Completely right, and I’m pretty sure they already have a long list of improvements to be made. I hope they will carry through with them as I think the idea is phenomenal.
PL: As you mentioned the BSOP, PokerStars is going to Panama next year with its new schedule. I can’t help but think this is a Brazil surrogate.
Felipe Mojave: I think that’s semi-true. Panama is in the center of the Americas and offers easy access from the North and the South, which makes it a good venue.
On the other hand Brazil is the largest country in South America and we want big events there. Maybe because PokerStars already has the BSOP there they’re not bringing the new series next year. Or maybe they think the events are too close one after another.
However, I disagree. The market in Brazil is growing and we should have as many events as possible -- even if they are not too big in the beginning.
We used to wait a long time for events and to have a big event just three weeks after the last one ended is a dream come true. I’m hopeful that to have a PokerStars Championship in Brazil will be the next step and I’ll be glad to help to make it possible.