Two-Time Bracelet Winner Vieira Lavishes Praise on PCA Runner-Up Neves
It was a case of so near yet so far for Portugal's Pedro Neves who fell just short of winning the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event title, falling heads-up to compatriot Michel Dattani.
However, a seven-figure score — almost ten times his previous highest cash — is not a bad result, and he's attracted his fair share of admirers for the way he's played over the last six days.
One of the loudest voices came from Portugal's Joao Vieira. The Winamax Pro counts Neves among his students, and was quick to highlight the 25 year old's poise under the lights of the feature table, his passion and drive and how this result will not be a flash in the pan.
Instead, he explains how this result could be the start of something extra special for the young Portuguese pro.
Neves "Plays Like a Veteran"
"He's 25 years old but he plays like a veteran"
The two-time WSOP bracelet winner was unequivocal with praise for his student, with Vieira (pictured below) predicting a bright future for the youngster.
"He's the best student I've ever had," Vieira told PokerNews. "If he keeps working hard, which he is, he's destined to be playing in High Rollers and Super High Rollers.
"He's 25 years old but he plays like a veteran. He's composed like a veteran and he acts like a veteran at the final table — you'd think this was his 10th final table!"
Neves has smashed his previous biggest score of $120,000 — in the 2022 UKIPT London £2,200 High Roller — but Vieira says Neves rises to occasions like this with aplomb.
"He's always been like this," said Vieira. "Whenever he gets to the big moments he's so prepared, he's so ready. He plays like he's been there forever. He watches so many of these streams, he’s mentally played so many of these final tables - he just loves poker.
"He just goes out there and plays — like he's already been here before."
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Nerves? What Nerves
With $1,500,000 awaiting the winner of his heads-up match with eventual winner Michel Dattani, you could be forgiven that thinking Neves was a nervous wreck. However, Vieira said Neves rarely showed nerves in the leadup to the biggest final table of his life.
"I would talk to him in the breaks, and the first time I could sense any sort of anxiety or nervousness was when we were down to four players. He would look at me and say to me 'Did any of them study more than me? Did any of them play more hands than me?'
"He's a kid! That's confidence. He just knows. He's really good."
A Stepping Stone for the Future
Neves' performance at the final table had Vieira drawing comparisons to fellow Winamax Ambassador and one of the best young poker players in history — Adrian Mateos.
"This is just a stepping stone for him"
"In a few years time, we could be looking back at this the same way we look at Adrian Mateos' WSOP Europe Main Event winner. Or his EPT Barcelona win. If you ask [Neves] what his goal is, he says that his goal is to make this a milestone [in his poker career].
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"He's not thinking about the $1,500,000, he's thinking about playing his best and for this to be a milestone so he can create more scores, more performances and win more titles. He's thinking ahead — which is weird when you're 25 years old!
"He wants to do this for a living and reach the highest stakes in the world. That's his main goal. And this? This is just a stepping stone for him."
Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German. He also holds an NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism.