Earning SuperNova Elite (SNE) status on PokerStars is a celebrated feat. But when you become the youngest player ever to hit the milestone, the poker world takes notice.
That's what happened three years ago when Luca Moschitta earned the status in just eight months, an accomplishment that earned him a spot on Team PokerStars Online. Since then, he's made SNE three years in a row and is primed to make it four.
Moschitta has also made headlines in numerous other ways, including becoming one of only two players — the other being "Actaru5" — to achieve SNE on PokerStars.it, and using his FPPs to buy two Porsches. He's also accrued $261,318 in live tournament cashes, including a runner-up finish to Oleksii Kovalchuk in the 2011 Italian Poker Tour (IPT) Nova Gorica € 2,000 No Limit Hold'em — Main Event for $140,590.
Moschitta recently sat down with PokerNews to talk online poker, his virtuoso rise, and what it's like to be a part of PokerStars Team Online, among other things.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born 23 years ago in Catania, a city in southern Italy. I'm the son of two teachers and have one 29-year-old brother. I study Business and Economics at University, which I find very interesting, so I'm eager to finish it even though poker is my main job right now and takes nearly all my time. I live in Catania most of the time but I spend a lot of time in Sweden, where my girlfriend, Sofia "welllbet" Lövgren, lives and of course traveling around the world playing poker also takes time.
How did you learn to play poker?
I've been playing different Italian card games every Sunday with my grandparents, mom and my brother, Piero, since I was very young. This probably gave to me the attitude of the card player. Then I've always been a person who wanted to try different things and I think one of the main skills of a poker player is to be able to change the way you do things according to the situation, not only in poker but especially in life.
How were you introduced to online poker? And can you tell us your online poker story? For instance, how you progressed through the stakes, important lessons you might have learned, things like that?
Before I was 18, I watched the first European Poker Tour final table on TV ever. It was EPT Barcelona and I immediately fell in love with the game. It seemed amazing with the possibility to travel around the world and at the same time win a lot of money. So I decided to start playing poker online. Before that I never played poker and didn't know one single rule. So I studied the rules, opened an account on PokerStars.com and made a deposit of $50 the same day I turned 18.
I don't remember why I decided to play $5 buy-in heads-up sit-and-gos, but my start was incredibly good. Some days I could win 15 to 18 heads-up games in a row and was cashing out frequently. After the first two months of poker, I was able to buy a scooter and drive to school in 15 minutes instead of taking the boring bus 50 minutes one way as I used to do every day.
All this encouraged me to step up in stakes month by month and after one year was regularly playing $100 HU sit-and-gos and that was only the beginning. After a while I stepped up to $500 and continued to win. Last period of my career on PokerStars.com I also made some decent tournament results, like a second place on a Sunday Warm-up for almost $50K and a third place in a WCOOP 6max for $15K. I was starting to take a few shots at $1K heads-up and my online poker dream was to become a winner in all levels of heads-up sit-and-gos up to $5K buy-in. Then suddenly one day three years ago, PokerStars.com became unavailable for Italian players.
After that I changed my strategy totally. I started to play on PokerStars.it where the highest buy-in was €100 and the rake was very high. The only way to continue winning like before was to multi-table a lot and become something like a rakeback pro. That's when I decided to become a Supernova Elite player. That year I started with 80,000 VPP in May and made 920,000 VPP in eight months playing €100 heads-up Sit-and-gos! I was playing around the clock, multi-tabling 9-to-12 heads-up sit-and-gos — it was crazy! That year I made tons of VPP, still made profit and became the youngest Supernova Elite in the world ever.
On top of that PokerStars gave me the big honor of being a Team Pro Online. I continued to play online with the same targets for three years: making Supernova Elite playing heads-up sit-and-gos, which I also managed to do. This year I've made a change focusing much more on cash games. So far I have a very good big blind/100 in heads-up cash games playing NL400-600-1000. Lately I've also been playing six-max with good results making a lot of VPP helping me to become Supernova Elite for the fourth consecutive year.
My main game is of course online, but the last three years I played 10-to-15 live tournaments per year and made some good results for almost $300K. I have to admit I have not been as successful live as online, but I'm still happy about my attitude and skills as a live poker player. I could of course develop my game a lot and feel I'm on the right way.
Can you tell us what it's been like being a PokerStars SuperNova Elite for three years?
I must admit that playing such a high volume of poker and surviving against the variance is really mentally tough. I guess that's why there are just about 300 Supernova Elite in the world of 50 million total accounts on PokerStars. Being a Supernova Elite is like getting a poker license. Of course it's also about earning €100K every year of bonus with FPP as extra profit. I was able to buy a Porsche Carrera 911 with my FPP the first year and I bought a Porsche Cayman two years ago again using my FPP.
You were the first in the world to buy two Porsches with loyalty points (FPP). Why did you need two Porsches and do you still have them?
Of course I realize there are much more important things in life than money and fancy cars, but I have to admit that buying a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera at the age of 19 with loyalty points was awesome! I suppose that for most guys, a sports car like Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini is always a dream and so it was for me. After some time I felt that this car was more for older gentlemen so I sold it to a friend and after a year I bought a Porsche Cayman instead, again using FPPs. This is a car I love to drive and I'm using it a lot when I'm in Catania. I don't know if I´ll buy another Porsche in the future, probably yes, because I really like the newest Porsche Cayenne [laughs]. Actually, right now I could almost buy three more Porsches with my 8 Million PokerStars FPP but I prefer to buy my own house instead.
Will you be a SuperNova Elite this year? What's your daily routine like playing online?
Yes I will! I'm going to make Supernova Elite for the fourth year in a row. It's a lot of work and I'm working on it right now. When I'm home in Catania I have the routine of doing some exercise in the morning. I have a personal trainer, Fabrizio, who follows me to the gym and for swimming. After lunch I usually start my poker sessions and when I need to put in a big volume I usually continue to play in the evening, which in fact is the situation right now. Otherwise I like going out with friends. Usually we go to watch a movie or a night club a couple of times a week. When I'm not in Catania, I travel, either to my girlfriend in Sweden or to play live tournaments somewhere in the world. Being a poker player is a big opportunity to travel and discover new places!
How did you become a member of PokerStars Team Online?
My first and only poker room has been PokerStars. I'm only 23 years old but feel that I know almost everything that has happened to PokerStars the last 7-8 years. I've followed PokerStars growing up and feel that I'm part of it and that PokerStars is a part of me as well. They decided to sponsor me in 2010 after making the Supernova Elite in eight months as the youngest ever in the world. I also think it was positive to make an IPT final table the same year. After three years I'm still a member of the PokerStars Team Online and I am doing my best to constantly improve as an ambassador of poker for PokerStars and for my country, Italy.
What's poker like in Italy? Has PokerStars.it affected how you were able to play online given it doesn't share the same player pool as PokerStars.com?
The day PokerStars.com became unavailable to Italian players was a revolution for my poker. On PokerStars.com I was mixing heads-up sit-and-goes high stakes and some main MTTs. I was able to play any game whenever I wanted to. In Italy it was suddenly very different. Only Italian players meant higher rake, a maximum buy-in of €100 (now 250€), and no cash games at all before August 2011.
I forced myself to find a solution because I refused to leave PokerStars. I decided to try to become a Supernova Elite, which for sure changed my poker life. I often ask myself if it was better to be "£uca", my old screen name, playing regularly heads-up sit-and-gos on Pokerstars.com or as "L.Moschitta," my new screen name, on Pokerstars.it, sponsored from the best poker room and Supernova Elite three years in a row. I still really don't know, but I'm quite sure I could have made it either way.
What makes you so good at heads-up sit-and-gos?
I started to play heads-up sit-and-gos and since then I've spent seven years studying and improving myself in this discipline. I really think heads-up is the ultimate format of poker and I don't know any great heads-up players who are bad in other kind of games, like MTTs for example. Heads-up you can play much more active hands, especially post-flop, and this makes you develop your skills much quicker. I think this could be a reason why I feel very confident also playing MTTs. This year, for the first time ever, I started to play cash game heads-up and six-max. It's a bit different for sure but I'm happy with my results so far. I still think heads-up cash games are my main game for profit and I play six max mostly to make volume and VPP's
I recently did an interview with your girlfriend, Sofia "welllbet" Lövgren. What can you tell me about her?
I'm not a big fan of some girls playing poker honestly. I have a feeling some of them are there more because of their beauty than their poker skills. Saying that, of course there are exceptions and I'm very proud Sofia is one of them. As you understand I've got to see her playing a lot. I really don't think there are many girls, if any, in this world that played more hands than Sofia online. She has played poker online a lot and with very good results.
She is actually also starting to make important results live too. In the last four months she cashed in three World Series of Poker events with huge starting fields and an EPT Main Event. She has also been extremely close to the final table for big money in a couple of them. I think she has a good sponsor and very good skills, so don't be surprised if she wins a big tournament. I just wished she would spend less money on new clothes. Then she would soon be richer than me!
Is it intimidating dating a girl who is very good at poker?
No, on the contrary; it's very good because we share the same interests, the same work and understand each other. I think it would be very difficult to date a girl who is not playing poker with the kind of life I live right now.
If you and Sofia made heads-up in a tournament, who do you think would win and why?
This could in fact happen and it would be very exciting! Of course my Sicilian male pride wouldn't allow me to lose! Joking aside, since heads-up is my main game I suppose I should have an edge but in poker you never know. Whatever happens I guess we would have to make a deal where we split the money!
You recently had the chance to play the EPT Sanremo alongside Sofia and you both made deep runs. What was that like?
To be honest, I don't like to play against people I know very well. In Sanremo Sofia and I decided to play the best we could against each other. I three-bet her a couple of times in good spots and she did the same as well, but fortunately we didn't get any big hands against each other so no big clashes in this tournament!
Do you like playing live? If so, what do you like about it over playing online?
Most online players do not like to play live poker but I must be honest, I just love it! Traveling the world playing live tournaments is probably one of the best reasons to spend so much time in my life on poker. I clearly remember when I was dreaming to play poker tournaments like PCA in the Bahamas, WSOP in Las Vegas and EPT's. That's exactly what I'm doing now so I really feel fortunate.
What's your proudest live poker accomplishment?
As a Supernova Elite I don't have a lot of time to play live poker so I play like ten live tournaments every year. My proudest live accomplishment was to be one of the best players at Italian Poker Tour. With buy-ins of €2,200 and usually big starting fields, I actually think it's become one of the most important poker series in Europe after EPT. In the three years of the series I've made seven cashes and two final tables, the best being a second place last year where I lost heads-up against Oleksii Kovalchuk.
What's your proudest online poker accomplishment?
To become a member of Team PokerStars Online is my proudest online accomplishment. It feels great to be playing in the best poker room in the planet at the same level as players like Dario Minieri and Luca Pagano.