“I wouldn’t be a professional poker player if it weren’t for PokerStars,” says Rafael “GM_VALTER” Moraes. “So, I’m realizing a big dream.”
What’s that dream? Becoming the latest Team PokerStars Pro, that is.
Today PokerStars is happy to announce the Brazilian poker pro joins the team of ambassadors who together represent the red spade around the world.
Moraes explains how PokerStars was where he got started with poker 12 years ago. “It was the site where I got to know poker. It was where I made my first cash, my first final table, my first title.”
Indeed, Moraes has collected a number of impressive scores at PokerStars over the years he’s been sitting at the virtual tables behind his avatar and “GM_VALTER” username.
His biggest win came during the 2016 SCOOP, a victory in a $2,100 no-limit hold’em event worth just over $300,000.
Add to that a couple of WCOOP runner-ups, Sunday 500 and Super Tuesday wins, and multiple final tables in the Blowout Series and Turbo Series. According to PocketFives, Moraes has won more than $6 million online over the years, mostly on PokerStars.
That’s not even mentioning Moraes’ live accomplishments. Those include a third-place finish at the 2016 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo for €568,200, a victory in a Super High Roller at the WSOP Circuit São Paulo in 2017, and another trophy win at the 2017 PokerStars Championship Panama.
Even with all those accolades, Moraes views his new role with PokerStars as a kind of “crowning achievement.”
“Everything I’ve done during these 12 years, and now being relevant enough to become an ambassador for the biggest poker site in the world, that was exactly what I was looking for,” says Moraes.
He describes how being part of Team PokerStars will not just help him continue down his poker pro path, but give back as well.
“It will definitely give me the possibility to create new projects, to bring more things to the community and to continue looking for the growth of Brazilian poker.”
Along those lines, Moraes is already full of ideas.
“I’m really excited about the future!” he says. “We’ll definitely have more live streams, more poker content, and more YouTube videos.”
“And when the live events come back, then we’ll have a flood of content,” Moraes continues. “I’m going to make vlogs, ‘GM Comments,’ new ideas for raffles and promotions, things related to Platinum Pass… there are many ideas coming out there. For sure it will benefit the Brazilian poker community.”
That desire to contribute further to the growth of Brazilian poker aligns Moraes with his countrymen and (now) fellow PokerStars ambassadors André Akkari and Neymar Jr. Of course, Moraes already has deep connections with both.
“My relationship with Akkari is like family,” says Moraes. “I know his whole family, he knows my family, sometimes he is like a father to me, sometimes like a brother. He is one of my best friends in life, he has done many things for me that I will be forever grateful for. I love the guy.”
Meanwhile Moraes has known Neymar Jr for some time as well, although more recently they’ve gotten even closer thanks in part to spending time over the virtual felt.
“In the last year we were playing poker online, talking, exchanging ideas… I would give him some tips, he would ask about hands, and the friendship became very close,” says Moraes. “He’s tough in the game,” he adds. “He has improved a lot with my classes and Akkari’s…. If we’re considering celebrities that play poker, he’s the best by far.”
Look for Moraes, Akkari, and Neymar Jr all to help grow the game around the world and especially in Brazil. Welcome to the team, Rafa!