PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.
Julio Velasquez only found out about the Battle of Malta qualifier on Full Tilt Poker 20 minutes before it began but he ended up taking it down and winning a package to play here in Malta. Even cooler was how he couldn't afford airfare, but ended up getting gifted enough air miles from a friend to make the trip. BOM host Kara Scott speaks to Julio about becoming a father and living his dream of traveling to Europe to play poker.
Interviewer: Players have come from all over the world for the PokerListings battle of Malta. Julio Velasquez came from Costa Rica and he actually has a really interesting story of how you got here. So tell me about this. You're a new dad. You won a package and then what happened?
Julio Velazquez: I was told about the satellite on Full Tilt 20 minutes before it started and then I took it down. It was crazy, I triple up on the second hand. Then buddy of mine started to work my company and he gave me a bunch of miles to come here. So the dream came true basically.
Interviewer: And I hear that you feel very lucky you're gonna take this down and that it's a very good investment for your friend to give you the miles.
Julio: He didn't ask for any cut, which is great. That's true friendship. I feel really good about my game so far. I'm about average, nothing crazy. My table just turned a little bit crazy. Just hanging in there trying to look for my spot, play smart and make it to day two and then take it home.
Interviewer: And you know poker, not just from sitting at the table, but also from the other side of things working in poker. You know the Brunson family as well. I hear that you worked with them a little bit?
Julio: I did work for DoylesRoom.com a long time ago. Now we rebranded, it's a new company now. I did have fun with them in Vegas a few times. It feels so good to go to a club and say, "Hey, I'm with Doyle Brunson." And they just open the door for you. That's VIP.
Interviewer: It really is. I've done that too and he can party like nobody else, right?
Julio: True! He, it's amazing, he's the legend. He can party, play poker and be that guy. He's amazing.
Interviewer: So you won your way here. Why Malta, though? What kind of prompted you to want to come to this place to play poker? Because it's kind of far for you.
Julio: Well I heard the tournament was really good last year. So I said, "Like gonna try my hand." And I heard the food is amazing and so far I mean Malta is amazing. People is great. The atmosphere, I just spent one hour floating in the Mediterranean Sea. It was amazing! And just want to have fun. This is a destination that is exotic. So you don't get to come here often. I mean from Costa Rica. But the place is amazing, I love it.
Interviewer: And as far as the tournament, was it what you were expecting and what you were hoping for when you came here? Because it's a great atmosphere.
Julio: It is great. I thought it was gonna to be a little bit smaller now. But the tournament right now it's amazing. Every table is packed, it's full. I was told that the Italians were a little bit crazy. And so I adjust to that. There's two kids on my table there a little bit aggressive. But that's poker, you gotta deal with it. So far it's amazing, the dealers are great, the staff is awesome and I love the venue it's out of this world.
Interviewer: I'd love to see you at the final table. I'm hoping to see you there as I'm sitting there too you know. I'm gonna try and make it. So good luck out there.
Julio: Thank you. Thank you so much and just want to say hi to my son. He's turning two months old tomorrow. So I hope that I can bring the title back home and celebrate.
Interviewer: Absolutely. Hello.
Interviewer: Thank you.