Valdir Cordeiro dos Santos is the latest Platinum Pass winner to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in Barcelona next year, and though the London-based Brazilian does not have the most advanced grasp of English, he had all the words he needed when reporters descended on him as he clutched his new prized possession.
“I am very happy,” the 43-year-old said, time and again. His broad smile underlined the fact. “I am very happy. I am very happy.” And why wouldn’t he be? He’d just turned a £140 buy-in into £11,200 cash, plus the most coveted trinket in world poker.
Cordeiro dos Santos beat a field of 812 entries in the latest leg of Chris Moneymaker’s “Road to PSPC” tour. The event took place over two locations, in London and Milton Keynes, with players assembling through seven starting flights. Cordeiro dos Santos and his beaten heads-up opponent, Kamal Ahmed, both played the last flight on Friday. But come Sunday afternoon they were facing off for the Platinum Pass, each having already locked up £11,200 cash.
“I was very happy to play him heads up, because he is aggressive,” Cordeiro dos Santos said of Ahmed. “I wait for his big bets. When I doubled heads up I’m 100 percent I will win.”
In fact, Cordeiro dos Santos had been confident of success even longer. With three players left, he called his nephew to come down to Aspers to rail, and also came over to the media desk looking for the link to the live stream so he could share it with his family. Cordeiro dos Santos has friends, family and fans across the world, including back home in his native Brazil, and also in Madrid, Spain, where he lived for several years and ran a shop.
He moved to London five years ago and now owns a construction company. He lives in the British capital with his wife, Avis, and four of his five children. (His oldest daughter lives in Spain.)
“I’ve played for a long time,” Cordeiro dos Santos said of his poker experience, detailing how he bubbled his first major tournament in Madrid. However, he continued to improve his game playing small events, mainly in the UK, and is a regular at Aspers in Stratford, now the location for his most famous victory.
He had previously won £15,300 for fourth place in a UKIPT Super Series event at the Hippodrome, but this victory now gives him the chance to play in a tournament with a buy-in of more than that, and against some of the best in the world.
Moneymaker, the face of this tour, handed over Cordeiro dos Santos’s Platinum Pass, and Cordeiro dos Santos accepted it gleefully, with a hug from the former World Champion. Their thoughts quickly turned to the event in Barcelona next August.
“I am going to win it!” Cordeiro dos Santos said.
HEAR FROM VALDIR CORDEIRO DOS SANTOS AFTER HIS BIG WIN
Moneymaker Tour London/Milton Keynes
Dates: November 4-10, 2019
Entries: 812 (including 276 re-entries)
Prize pool: £90,200
1 – Valdir Cordeiro dos Santos, Brazil, £11,200 (plus Platinum Pass)
2 – Kamal Ahmed, UK, £11,200
3 – Rungarun Thongnonsung, Thailand, £7,240
4 – Gary Miller, UK, £4,800
5 – Justin Bateson, UK, £3,700
6 – Sinead Priestley, UK, £3,000
7 – Duncan Mackie, UK, £3,000
8 – Robert Buky, UK, £1,900
9 – Dan Spataru, Romania, £1,500