Interview with Gabriel "verve.oasis" Goffi

Gabriel "verve.oasis" Goffi
Verve's results Feb 10th to March 10th 2012

HighstakesDB recently caught up with the young Brazilian hotshot currently tearing up the high stakes PLO tables at PokerStars where he has won the best part of 3/4 of a million dollars playing in the past nine months.

Already a live poker legend in his home country at the tender age of 22 Gabriel Goffi, more commonly known online as "verve.oasis" has now made it his goal to take on and beat the best in the online poker scene. With a $300k profit already in the bag this year, we certainly wouldn't bet against him reaching his goal.

Hi Gabriel, how are you today?

- I'm fine thanks, especially after some good sessions this week.

We've seen you around the high stakes online scene for the past year
and a half or so but unusually for such a young player (Goffi is just 22)
you played high stakes live a long time before you did online - why is that
and how did it come about?

verve.oasis's biggest hands so far in 2012
Feb 23: $88k
Feb 12: $84k
Feb 12: $74k
Feb 12: $63k
Feb 13: $62k


- When I started to play poker I was an online grinder playing mostly nl 0.25-0.50 6-max then nl100 hu. But one day I dropped 10 buy ins and for some reason that really tilted me so I started looking for some live games here in São Paulo. I eventually found one near my house and started to play 1/2 NLHE. The games were very soft and I won a lot. I was studying in a prep-school at the time and decided to quit that and become a professional poker player. At the time I had already gained some experience from playing online and it helped me crush the live games here in São Paulo.

- My goal was to be a high stakes player and that drive made me move up pretty fast from 1/2 to 5/5, then from 25/50 to 100/200.
Talking about your live high stakes action - you were known to play as high as $100/$200 live while at the time playing as low  as $2/$4 online - didn't you find it hard to take $2/$4 seriously when you were playing 50 times high live?
- A lot of people at that time asked me about that. I was really crushing live games, and I was thinking about the game all the time and was feeling very good about it. So I didn't want to get into high stakes online and face the variance and the different aspects of the game online. I just wanted to play online to improve my thought process and make some money, but my real focus was on the big live games.

You've made a few live tourney scores at the BSOP but nothing outside of Brazil - do you plan to put that right or are you quite happy playing live and online in Brazil without the desire to chase overseas tournament glory?
- Nah, my goal is to play the biggest games all around the world. This year I plan to go to Vegas to the WSOP and play 100/200+ PLO games. Last year I went to two EPT's, Barcelona and London. I will try to improve my tournament game and hopefully hit a big tournament/bracelet in 2012.

When you go to the WSOP if you are entering any events will you be trying any of the events other than PLO and NLHE and are you interested in playing the (sometimes very big) draw/HORSE games?

- This year my main focuses are playing in the big cash games the PLO tournaments and eventually some big NLHE tournaments. I do not plan on playing any horse/draw at all during the series.

In the poker world at large you are of course known in the high stakes community but your profile is still relatively low around the world. You are however something of a poker celebrity in Brazil - what, for example are "Goffi Facts"?
- Ha Ha! "Goffi facts" are just jokes that a couple of my friends made up (a la "Chuck Norris Facts"). It's all because I play high stakes so I'm suppose to have some money. They say stuff like "Goffi dropped his wallet and then bank of brazil was created" lol. Its not even funny anymore.

We don't hear of too many high profile Brazilian poker players - other than you there is Andre Akkari and of course Alexandre Gomez flying the tournament flags, do you think we'll see more players coming through with the success you guys are having?
- Yes, there are some very good Brazilian players that I know and if they run good and have discipline they will inevitably show up in the world poker community. Poker as a profession in brazil is a bit new, so a lot of players are still struggling and having to learn a lot to compete with the top players.

Having played a good amount online and had a decent amount of success which player(s) games(s) do you respect the most, and why?
- I have a lot of respect for ben86 (Ben Tollerne) and Phil Galfond. They are very solid and have some sick tilt control. I never see them spewing around, which is something that is very hard to avoid doing when you play high stakes and face the variance day in and day out.

What's been your biggest winning days both online and live?

- My best day online was 160k up and live 100k
You had not long been playing high stakes at Full Tilt Poker when Black Friday hit - did you lose much in the wake of Full Tilt's implosion?
- I played some high stakes there, some 25/50 50/100 PLO HU. But luckily I had sent most of my funds to stars and as a result I was barely playing on Tilt. I think I lost something in the region of 15k-20k.

What are your goals for 2012 and how are they going so far?

- My goals for 2012 are very clear to me. I'm going to focus on balancing my life, eating well,  going to the gym every day and constantly analyzing and improving my game. By the end of the year I want to be playing regularly in the 100/200 and 200/400 games online. The beginning of the year was tough and turbulent and I was in the middle of a big downswing that started at the end of 2011. This past month things have started to come my way again and I'm as confident in my game as I've ever been, so I can only expect that 2012 will be my year!

You say your goals are to move up to be regularly playing 100/200 and 200/400 PLO. Is this because you want to earn more money or is it primarily about the challenge?

- To tell you the truth, for me, poker has a lot more to do about challenge then the money. This game is so crazy, it really gets inside your head and it has so many ups and downs that if my only drive was money I would have stopped playing this years ago, or maybe I'd be playing 24 tables of mid stakes gunning for supernova elite every year.  What makes me want to study the game everyday, analyze every single variable of a hand, identify tendencies of everyone who sits with me for more than 500 hands, and pretty much use all my energy to be the best poker player of the world is definitely the challenge of solving this almost unsolvable problem that is poker.

On that subject it is often said that many 25/50 players are theoretically skilled enough to compete in the nosebleeds but many feel uncomfortable with the variance at higher stakes - right now if you played 200/400 (your goal this year) do you think the possible variance would affect your game or are you already mentally prepared for that challenge?

- The way I think about this is that when I sit to play nosebleeds I try to prepare myself and think of every scenario that can happen in the next hour or so and I always have a stop loss so that the variance and the loss doesn’t affect my game to much.  I am a strong believer that it’s not wise to keep playing when you are losing a lot, because even though you might think you are not playing any different, you always are.  Another thing that I have learned playing high stakes is that there’s always tomorrow and the action never stops so if I’m losing a lot I’ll just take a break and come back fresh in an hour or so.

- The variance at nosebleeds is really crazy and that’s why you have to build your bankroll to play comfortably at that level and be willing to stop playing if things aren’t going your way. What I like to think is that I do have an edge in most games that I play and that at some point the variance will even out and ill be able to come out as a winner.  But you have to always be reassessing the situation. Analyzing if you really have an edge and what that edge is so that you always have confidence that you will outlast the variance and come out on top.

If poker ended tomorrow, what skills do you think you'd be able to take away from your time in the game which you could use to become successful in another field?
- I think the skills I developed the most during my poker carrier are my discipline, my mental control and my ability to analyze behaviors and patterns.

Had to ask, who's your favourite disbanded UK supergroup - The Verve or Oasis?
- I created my nick when i was 18, I was living in London and really liked oasis/verve. Right now i don't listen much, but my favorite is definitely Oasis.

- Before I go, I just want to congratulate Highstakesdb for the great job you guys are doing at tracking the results of high stakes action with very good precision and for the great news and interviews that are posted at the site everyday. Keep up the good work!

- My twitter is @ggoffi but i always tweet in Portuguese, sorry for that hehe.



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