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Footballers Struggle but Brazilian Poker Primed for Tag Team Gold
For decades Brazil has been a dominant force in International soccer.
Then, the 7-1 shellacking at the hands of Germany happened in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup 2014 – in their home country, no less.
Yesterday, the National team failed to reach the quarter finals of the Copa America.
But while it might be a tough time for "the beautiful game" in Brazil, the vast South American country has also become one of the top growing markets in poker and begun producing some impressive young stars.
Former professional footballers are also turning to poker as Ronaldo, one of the greatest Brazilian football players ever, has already made a few waves and now Denílson de Oliveira is officially a representative of 888poker.
The World Series of Poker is hosting a tag team event for the first time since 1983 and Denílson, a former player on the Brazilian national team, and his countrymen are looking to gain some redemption at the felt.
Brazilians Understand Team Format Well
The list of talent Denilson and friends can put together for a run at the Tag Team bracelet is strong, and experienced.
André Akkari and Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos have taken the lead in setting the poker bar high and the country has already produced a November Niner in 888poker's Bruno Politano.
Fellow 888poker stalwarts Nicolau Villa-Lobos and Bruno Kuwaiti are also in the conversation as the $1k event, #61 on the WSOP schedule, allows for 2-4 players per team.
As an added advantage the Brazilians also have plenty of experience in team formats:
“In Brazil, we have this state competition," says Villa-Lobos. "Six players each state and we play different types of Sit & Gos -- NLH full ring, 6-max, heads up and PLO 6-max.
"It's a lot of fun and my state, Rio de Janeiro, won the first ever. One of the best feelings ever was when I won the final full ring.
"Entering the heads up I already knew that I had to win so we could win the whole championship. It was amazing.”
Politano is no stranger to this format either.
“Yes. I played two times in the National Brazilian Tournament. I play every year for the Fortaleza team (Ceara state).”
Denilson Dark Horse for WSOP Gold
While Denílson would definitely be happy to see Brazil win Tag Team gold, he recognizes he's still a beginner in poker and has no issues admitting it.
“A WSOP win is something that hasn’t even crossed my mind," he says. "I’m just starting the sport.”
While he might not make the final cut for the squad he'll definitely be on the sidelines supporting his compatriots wholeheartedly, as the Brazilians are known to do.
The 2016 WSOP Tag Team event kicks off on July 6 at 11 AM and is scheduled as a 3-day event.
If you can’t be there for the team event you can always try your own luck at the WSOP’s official sponsor site, 888poker.