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Capture the Flag: José 'Girah' Macedo (Latest News About Casino, Poker, Baccarat in Philippines)

Capture the Flag: José 'Girah' Macedo
Article ID 00041264
Author Brian Pempus
Date JULY 27 2022
Portuguese poker pro José “Girah” Macedo is still a high school student, but he is already trying to compete in poker’s most expensive contest — Full Tilt Poker’s Durrrr Challenge . In late March, Macedo Tweeted to Tom “durrrr” Dwan : Are you taking any more Durrrr Challenges after [Dan] Jungleman [Cates] and Patrik [Antonius]? Dwan responded receptively, but as of early April there has been no indication as to whether or not a battle between the two will take place. Playing as high as $300-$600 no-limit hold’em, Macedo has amassed more than $2 million in profits on the virtual felt. His story is the quintessential play-chip grinder to nosebleed regular fairytale. Over the course of his two-year career, the 18-year-old Macedo estimates he’s already played about 1.4 million hands online. Macedo has obtained a cult following on the web and has been nicknamed the “Portuguese Prodigy” by the online community. Talent and a furious work ethic have turned the former competitive football player into one of the best young players in the poker world. Card Player caught up with the high stakes newcomer to talk about his start in poker, possibly playing in the Durrrr Challenge , and what has made him so successful so quickly. Brian Pempus: How did you get started in poker? Why did you choose to start playing? José Macedo: I started playing poker in the summer of 2009 and began by playing for play chips, where I lost constantly and pretty much believed the game was all luck. Then, through my friends, I heard about Dwan’s story: the broke college kid who had turned a small amount into millions using only his intelligence and hard work. I wanted to buy a house in Hawaii, so it seemed like the obvious solution. I wanted to start playing poker, make a few million like Dwan and then buy the house. I wanted it because when I was little I had a babysitter who was one of the top surfers in Portugal, and she had gone to Hawaii and really loved it. She brought back incredible pictures of beautiful waterfalls, beaches and forests and said the locals were all amazing too. She basically said it was the best place on Earth, and her dream was to live there. I was about eight years old then and deeply in love with her, so I promised that when we got married I’d buy us a house in Hawaii. Since then, Hawaii kind of stuck, even though the love didn’t. BP: Can you talk about your experience as a kid competing in football? Did the game help you develop a competitive nature? Can you talk about your knee injury that caused you to stop playing? How did having to give up football change you as a competitive person? Where did your interests shift? JM: My knee problem was due to playing sports too much and doing too much exercise as a child, which caused me to develop a condition called Osgood-Schlatter disease. I don’t know enough about the medical specifics of the condition, but the consequence was that I was in a cast for two months to prevent any stress on my knee, and I was advised not to play football ever again. Before the injury, football was basically my life and I reflected my self-worth on it, so not having it really harmed my confidence and self-esteem. However, I had always been a very competitive person, so I quickly found alternatives to dedicate myself to and become good at, such as tennis, rugby, and my schoolwork. BP: What about poker captivated you from the start? Did you read any poker books? What did you learn from outside resources? JM: I just find poker incredibly thrilling and fun to play — it’s pretty much the thing I most enjoy doing. Ever since the beginning it’s been that way for me, as I see every hand as a puzzle that I have to decipher and find the optimal solution to. Also the money factor of it always fascinated me, as it adds a whole new dimension to the game. You are constantly winning and losing “points”, except these points have direct and noticeable consequences on your life outside the game, which is a characteristic that no other game possesses. About two months before I started playing, I read several different poker books. I’d try and read them at the bookstore, and when the workers started getting suspicious I would flee to the bathroom to read them where they couldn’t bother me. I think people I tell this story to really misunderstand it. I did not read this way because my family was poor, but because as a teenager I wasn’t given much money, and I really didn’t want to ask my mom for money to buy poker books. I didn’t think she would take it very well, with poker being generally associated to degenerate gambling and such by the public. I read a lot of books in there: David Slanksy’s Theory of Poker , Harrington on Hold’em , Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed , and Mathematics of Poker . To my then primitive poker mind, they were all incredibly insightful and interesting. With the benefit of hindsight and having read them all repeatedly and also a few others, I feel that Sklansky and Harrington’s books, although outdated, lay out the groundwork for having very solid poker fundamentals and should definitely be read by any beginner. BP: Can you give some basic heads-up strategy that you’ve accumulated over the years? What kind of bankroll rules do you implement? JM: I always make adjustments during my heads-up sessions. That’s my big strength in poker and what I do better than most players. A lot of people wait too long to adjust because they don’t really understand Bayesian probability, which basically means that no matter what simple size you have, you can still make adjustments according to what you see, as long as any time you acquire new information, you keep adjusting. In a nutshell, my bankroll management involves taking lots of shots with 10-20 buy-ins at my disposal, with firm stop-losses and moving up and down in stakes depending on how much I win or lose. For example, if I have $20,000, I will probably be playing $5-$10 no-limit as my main game. This may seem like fairly aggressive bankroll management, but it really isn’t. This is because if I drop $4,000, I will move down to $3-$6, and if I drop a certain amount there I will slide to $2-$4, and so on. Similarly, if I win $4,000, I will probably take a shot at $10-$20 with a two buy-in stop-loss. Generally, I will have a four buy-in loss rule, which I rarely break unless I’m playing a huge fish or if I believe I have a massive edge on someone. BP: Can you talk about your idolization of Dwan when you were first rising up the limits? What about his game was so fascinating to you? What about his story was so alluring? JM: Well, it was Dwan’s story that brought me to poker in the first place, even before I knew anything about him or his playing style. I was fascinated by his journey. I found it really heroic how a broke college kid could battle it out against the best in the world. Then, as I began to watch the televised cash games and the highest stakes online games, I also began to admire his fearlessly aggressive, creative style. I read a very interesting analysis of him that someone had: Basically, he plays in a way that is hard to quantify objectively as “good” or “bad” using a standard theoretical hand-by-hand analysis, as he makes plays that are exploitable if you understood them, but they seem to be unique or once-off plays, making him extremely tough to play against as it is impossible to discern his real range. I spent many hours noting down and studying his hands, running simulations, doing Hold’em Manager work to try and comprehend the reasons for his unusual lines. I think it helped open up my game tremendously. BP: What would it mean for you to play him in the Durrrr Challenge ? Do you think you could beat him? Do you have the bankroll necessary to compete against him? Would you pick hold’em or Omaha for the contest? JM: I would definitely pick hold’em in the challenge, as not only am I not rolled for $200-$400 pot-limit Omaha swings, but I am also outmatched in it because I have limited experience. The Durrrr Challenge would be a pretty massive shot for me, but I believe it’s worth it and plus [expected value] for me, as I think a variety of combined factors lead to him playing worse than his best game. For example, he’s been playing a lot live in the past year, coupled with reportedly massive Macau pots that make the $1.5 million for the challenge seem like peanuts, he’s also been playing a lot of pot-limit Omaha so his no-limit game might be rusty, he seems really busy in real life so he plays on airplanes and such places without preparation, and even more importantly, he knows nothing about my game and I know a lot about his. Ideally, I would take all my own action, but currently I don’t think that’s feasible, so I would probably sell 20 to 40 percent. It would still be a huge shot for me, but it’s worth it as it would be an honor and the peak of my poker career. I’m looking to put more pressure on him to accept. Fans can follow Macedo via www.girahpoker.com, or his Twitter account .

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