We caught up with Vlad 'zallmocse' Tapu from Romania to find out a little more about himself, how he won the money, and what poker in general means to him.
PokerStars School (PSS): How did you first get into poker?
zallmocse: It was way back in 2008, hard to believe it's 10 years ago already. It all started by going along to watch some home games with friends, I didn't even play at first. Then when I started playing I soon fell in love with the game. Not long after playing my first real money game I won some dollars, then the bug really hit. Full Tilt Poker was huge back then and I created my first online poker account, depositing just $10 at the time.
PokerStars School (PSS): What do you do for a living?
zallmocse: Haha, I love to say I play poker for a living but it's far more mundane than that. In my full-time job, I am a debt collector, yes I know, a nasty job, but someone has to do it, but I am very happy with my job. I would only quit it if I got the opportunity to play poker full-time for a living. In a way, debt-collecting is similar to a poker game. You meet people you don't know, trying to guess if they are bluffing or not, but, in the end, you just want them to hand over their money. Same in poker.
'zallmocse' had a great run in the $530 Bounty Builder knock-out tournament.
PokerStars School (PSS): How do you consider yourself in poker? Amateur, semi-pro, pro?
zallmocse: Even after 10 years of playing this game I still very much consider myself an amateur player. I've never really tried to build a bankroll or take it too seriously. Poker is a fun hobby for me. In a tournament I always aim for the win, I take a lot of risks, maybe too many at times.
PokerStars School (PSS): Why do you think poker is so popular?
zallmocse: Well, because it's fun! At least it is for me. It's not just a gambling game, but a sort of psychology game too. I mean in a tournament that could last 8 hours and more you're not going to survive if you are not mentally fit, right? And for those that do take it seriously, there's a huge plus, they can make money at it too!
PokerStars School (PSS): So you won an entry into a $530 8-Max Bounty Builder event on PokerStars. Tell us about how you did that.
zallmocse: Remembering this makes me smile. I'm a fan of Spin & Go's and one Friday I got back from work and fired up a few games. There was a special Spin & Go promotion where you could win tickets to the Bounty Builder series of tournaments. I was hoping for an $11, maybe, $22, or if I was really lucky maybe a $55 ticket. You can imagine then how I felt when the wheel stopped on a $530 ticket and the table turned golden. The Spin & Go itself didn't last that long, just a couple of hands, and I emerged victoriously.
PokerStars School (PSS): That's awesome! So you then played the $530 Bounty Builder tournament. How did that go for you?
zallmocse: I remember that we started with 50K in chips and that I was down to 30K in the first couple of hands. As it was a bounty tournament having a shorter stack is not a good thing, everyone was after my bounty, or so it felt. Then I got dealt pocket 8's, a shorter stack shoved, I reshoved, and nobody else called. Luckily I flopped a set and took down my first bounty. For the most part, I played aggressively and picked up some more bounties. In the end, I busted about 30 mins before day one completed, I would have like to reach day two. It was a great result for me as I cashed for $613.00 and picked up an additional $562.50 in bounties, so a total of $1,175.50 which was a huge boost to my poker bankroll.
PokerStars School (PSS): What is your best result so far? This one?
zallmocse: Well, As I said earlier I'm just an amateur player, but this isn't my biggest score. My biggest cash to date was on a depositors freeroll. I remember that beautiful Sunday lasting six hours in the tournament and cashing for $1,440. It was extra sweet because it was a freeroll.
PokerStars School (PSS): You've had some good results then. Do you follow a strategy when you play poker?
zallmocse: Not really, maybe that's why I'm still an amateur player. When you sit at a poker table you really need to step out of real life and totally focus on the game. You need to believe in yourself. Sometimes during the breaks I stand up and do a few exercises to energise myself, that helps eliminate some of the stress. And yes, even though some might not agree, I listen to music while I play. It helps me focus.
PokerStars School (PSS): How is this prize going to affect your poker career?
zallmocse: As with all big wins this will probably 'force' me to believe that I can do it better, that I can play better poker, and with some work, I can build a solid bankroll. Speaking of bankroll I cashed out most of that win and surprised my girlfriend with some gifts, so it was a win-win if you know what I mean.
PokerStars School (PSS): In what way did the School help you improve your poker?
zallmocse: The poker forum has helped me a lot over the years. I've learned a lot from the hands that have been posted there for reviews. I'm always checking for what's new in there and looking to find new ideas and inspiration. My girlfriend has just started to learn poker too and she visits PokerStars School several times a week to check for new articles and videos to help her learn more about the game.
PokerStars School (PSS): What tips or advice would you recommend to beginners?
zallmocse: Don't be like Vlad! Bankroll Management is, in my opinion, the first and most important thing that you don't need to forget. If you really want to have a career in poker you really need discipline. But if you are a beginner just start off by having fun.
Player 'zallmocse' has been credited with T$ 20 as a token of thanks for sharing his story. Would you like to share your story? See here for more details.