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Two-time Olympic medalist Fernando “Xuxa” Scherer made a name for himself as a swimmer but now he's turning his attention to poker and the WSOP in Las Vegas. Scherer is at the World Series of Poker with a huge group of Brazilian poker players and media and PokerListings.com met him at Andre Akkari's house for the quarterfinal FIFA World Cup match between Brazil and Columbia. Scherer explains how he got into poker, why he finds it so fascinating and what it's like hanging out with some of the greatest poker minds in his country. Keep watching PokerListings.com for the latest news and video from the 2014 World Series of Poker.
My name is Fernando Scherer. I was a professional swimmer and I was invited because Ronaldo usually played poker with his friends. And one day, I was in a night club with him and we chatted. And he invited me to play poker with him in his apartment. And then I started playing with the friends and then people talking about the positions and it feels like I was thinking only about the cards, not the structure about the table, how do you play the person. And then I thought that I have to learn if I want to win, because if you just play and lose and you don't know what you're doing, then it's hard. You're just waiting for the card.
And then I started learning and then I had a coach to play the BSOP in Brazil first time. And then I loved it, because when I retire from swimming, I need the feeling of adrenaline. And in the poker game at the same time, you're not racing but you're competing against each other. And the adrenaline, the heart rate goes up, and that reminds me a lot of swimming.
Let's say we go to the Olympics. The basketball team, they're playing together. The swim team, they're playing. Everybody's learning how to play poker. I think the soccer team right now playing the World Cup, they are playing poker inside of the concentration.
A lot of people in Brazil think about poker not a way of living because you could lose money, but I always felt... Because when I was a swimmer, I have to pay the fee to get into the races. I have to pay. The federation needs the money. If it's not me paying, it's the confederation from Brazil playing for me to swim in the Olympics. Someone has to pay the fee to play, and the poker game is the same. You pay the fee to enter a tournament. And then if you win, you make a lot of money. You cannot lose a lot of the money. You lose the interest fee. Then during the tournament, you lose the chips you have.
I think poker can be a way of living. You can have sponsors, but you have to train, you have to practice, you have to focus, and it's a lot of stress because everybody thinks it's okay just to sit in the table, get two cards, then you don't have to think about it. You have to think a lot during the tournament, and you have to be focused 12 hours a day. And it's a lot of mind stress also. And then I think poker is a really way of living. You can make a lot of money. But it's like soccer, it's like swimming. To make money, you have to be the best. And if it's your dream to be a professional player, go after it.
I want to tell everybody in Brazil to keep cheering for us here in Vegas. And for the World Team, play well, win it for us, because everybody is cheering for you guys. Big kiss.