Uruguay is home to many excellent online poker players, but one player many people are talking about lately is Francisco "paulwiter" Garcia, who in the beginning of August reached the Supernova Elite status on PokerStars for the third year in a row.
Garcia is the only player in Uruguay's history to ever achieve the prestigious goal and is also the very first to reach the Supernova Elite status in 2014.
During the course of his career, Garcia — who is a regular at the hyper-turbo sit-and-go tables — also managed to score several remarkable achievements. He won Event #19 of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) in 2013 for $143,397, along with the weekly Super Tuesday event at PokerStars for $115,668.
Garcia took some time to sit with PokerNews LatinAmerica to share his poker history and his views on the game he loves.
PokerNews: Can you tell us how you got started with poker, and when did you realize that you could make a living out of the game?
Garcia: I discovered the game thanks to my brother and friends. We used to play home games during the weekends, and I remember I used to keep a piece of paper with the rules right next to me.
Then, my first contact with online poker was completely random in early 2010. It happened on a website where I found a series of videos of a Spanish coach named Danport_SP. Since then, I kept watching more videos and I made my first deposit at PokerStars to try my luck with what I had learned. I started by playing at $3.50 sit-and-go tables, and then I continued to play and to learn at the same time.
After some time, I realized that poker could bring a significant income in, even if I didn't make it my life priority. At that time, I was still a student and I used to work as a waiter. The first big change happened in 2011, when I decided to move to a rented house with two friends to grind and share our progress in the game.
Earlier that year, I also had the first big change in my approach to poker, as I moved from the sit-and-gos to PokerStars' "CAP" tables. It was at that time that I began to familiarize with software like Holdem Manager and Table Ninja. Undoubtedly, it was right then that the way I approached poker started to change and it became something different from a fun Friday night with friends.
PokerNews: What kind of games do you play now?
At the moment I play mostly $300, $500 and $1,000 hyper-turbo sit-and-gos.
PokerNews: You recently achieved the Supernova Elite status on PokerStars for the third year in a row. How did you approach the goal this year?
One of my goals for this year was to reach the Supernova Elite status at least once. At first I thought it was going to cost me a bit more, but when I started to play at the $1,000 sit-and-go tables, things got a little easier.
PokerNews: If you compare your road to Supernova Elite in 2012 and today, do you feel it is getting harder to get up there or not?
Personally, I have to say that the process is becoming a little faster every year. By studying and by improving my game, I could climb to levels that allow me to generate more rake per hour and therefore more VPPs.
PokerNews: How about the months ahead — what are your plans for 2014?
My goal is to earn at least one million VPPs by the end of the year. I say "at least" because I love the idea of making two million, but I really do not know if that's possible.
On one hand, it is hard to get enough traffic every single day to generate the VPPs needed for that, and there also are always other things in life that end up taking time away from poker.
Other than that, I am pretty excited about the upcoming WCOOP. It is a series that always brings nice feelings and sweet memories.
PokerNews: What will you do with all the VPPs that you have accumulated this year? Are you planning any crazy purchases?
So far I have always been using them to travel to events like the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure or the European Poker Tour. I usually exchange the ones left for cash, even if the crazy idea to click on the Porsche Cayman is always there!
Image courtesy of Carlos "El Pescador" Monti