The 2021 World Series of Poker Online Bracelet Events on the GGPoker Network have been dominated by poker players from Brazil. Throughout the first 12 out of 33 tournaments, 11 Brazilians reached the final table and turned that into seven top-three finishes. Four of them went on to win poker’s most elusive prize and among them was also Joao Simao.
The Power Couple Joao and Luiza Simao
With more than $3 million in live tournament earnings, the 32-year-old from Belo Horizonte has been crushing the tables for many years and it earned him a sponsorship from partypoker. His wife Luiza is also playing poker as well and there was an interesting scenario in 2018 when both ended up on the final table of the partypoker LIVE Latin American Poker Championships Uruguay.
The most-expensive buy-in of the schedule was a $5,300 Super High Roller with a $200,000 guarantee. Only the top five spots were paid and Joao as well as Luiza made the final three. Uruguay’s Fabrizio Gonzalez held a massive lead and the husband and wife duo eventually clashed. Luiza got her last ten blinds in with ace-six suited and Joao called with king-ten to spike a king on the board.
For Luiza, the third-place finish came with a payday of $30,000 while Joao was unable to overcome the big lead of Gonzalez and finished in second for $50,000. Whether or not he had to sleep on the couch or in the hotel lobby that day has not been made public.
Joao Simao Ranked 1st in Pocket Fives Online Poker Rankings
All jokes aside, he is one of the most well-known poker pros in the South American powerhouse, which has produced a tremendous amount of talent and passion in the world of poker as of lately. Back in 2016, Simao reached the first place in the Pocket Fives online poker rankings, showcasing that his success wasn’t a fluke by any means.
“I guess reaching the number one spot in the Pocket Fives worldwide was a cool thing, since its not just one lucky day that gives you that. It was in a very important moment of my life when I was only playing poker full time. It gave me a lot of pleasure and made me realize that it’s enough to make it and start splitting time with my other businesses that challenged and excited me more than poker at the time.”
Simao Plans for WSOP 2021 in Las Vegas
It turned into a success story on and away from the tables as he is now running multiple businesses. In order to take part in a large portion of the 2021 WSOP Online on Natural8, Simao re-arranged his ventures to entirely focus on the online grind during the series.
The Brazilian is also hoping to take part in the in-person festival in October and November as well but that is not set in stone just yet. After more than one and a half years without live poker and the international circuit, the craving is certainly there.
“I hope to go to Vegas. I miss the city, I miss live poker, I miss the travel with my family. I spent 4 years traveling with my whole family and even though it can be very expensive, it was one of the best money that I have ever spent. It isn’t easy to find things that make you happy 24/7. But for me it is very cool to play the WSOP. If I bust it doesn’t matter, I have my wife and my kids just waiting to do some nice stuff with me. Since it is already great losing, imagine how it feels when I win?”
On Winning His First WSOP Bracelet
In his poker career, Simao had plenty of deep runs and the latest victory certainly gonna have a special part in his heart and memory. Not only in his home country but for poker enthusiasts from all over the world, it is a dream to claim the elusive gold bracelet. The Brazilian has crossed that goal off his bucket list after overcoming a field of 1,584 entries in Event #2: $1,111 Caesars Cares Charity Event.
Simao was one of 20 contenders that returned for the final day and they were already down to the nine-handed final table within one hour of play. The always dangerous Andras Nemeth was in the mix but had to settle for sixth place when he went from hero to zero within two major confrontations. Fortune was on the side of Simao when his pocket sixes got there to beat Nemeth’s queens.
Once the Brazilian also overcame Espen Sandvik in heads-up to lock up the top prize of $206,075, the first person to know about the victory was younger son. His reaction? “Okay dad, now let me watch my movie.”
Strong Poker Community in Brazil
He was one of several Brazilians who entered the winner’s circle during the first third of the series and Simao considers the hard work within the community as one of the biggest advantages and reasons for the success. More often than not, the player known under his online moniker “IneedMassari” is the one being asked for advice and he happily obliges.
“I try to give as much information as possible and lead by example not only as a player but as a person for the Brazilian community. They supported me so hard in the last 10 years that I feel I owe it to them.”
For Simao, hard work is one of the key ingredients in order to be successful in poker. The life of a poker pro isn’t always easy and requires constant study of the game and various concepts. “If you want to be great, you will probably work more than in many other jobs,” he admitted.
Poker Enthusiast, Husband, Father, Businessman, Sports Fan….
His journey in the world of poker started during his spell at the university. He studied civil engineering and the favorite free time activity of everyone was playing poker. To make friends, Simao joined the fray and ended up being one of the biggest losers in the games.
It wasn’t the most thrilling introduction to the game and he even used to hate playing cards prior to that. But the experience also provided valuable lessons, which then turned into a change of mind.
“Later I realized that it wasn’t just about luck, and that with studying, I could achieve two of my goals at the time, competition and money. So I decided to go all-in on poker,” Simao acknowledged.
As it turns out, that was indeed a wise decision. These days, the Brazilian can be found in mid and higher stakes tournaments. He doesn’t mind cash games either but tournaments are certainly his passion. With two kids and six businesses, there may not always be time to spend the entire day at the poker tables and that’s where cash games come in handy.
Away from the poker tables and like pretty much every Brazilian, Simao is a big sports fan and loves to share time with his family and friends.
His merits in poker also go beyond the traditional No-Limit Hold’em, as he can often be found in Pot-Limit Omaha competitions. If you happen to face Simao at a live poker table, the odds are quite high that he will regularly have a big smile on the face while splashing around with the chips.
Don’t let the friendly impression and South American passion fool you, because he is indeed an experienced card shark. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see yet another deep run or final table appearance for Simao in the weeks to come. The international portion o the 2021 WSOP Online on Natural8 runs until September 12 and a total of 33 gold bracelet are up for grabs.