For 27-year-old Alessio Cappelli, poker is about freedom. He relishes the idea of living life his own way and the freedom of lifestyle it affords him. And hopes for even more in the future.
“I got interested in poker because someone told me you could win money by playing the game better than others,” he says. “Then I decided I really wanted to do this because poker can give you freedom to live your life as you want, and to do whatever you want with your time.”
If he continues to have months like he did in February, that lifestyle he covets should be a pretty easy win for this poker hotshot.
A native of Florence, Italy, Cappeli won €11,400 in the month of February – certainly a nice run. He spends much of his time at the 888.it poker tables playing everything from $50 to $500 No Limit Hold’em cash games. He also mixes in the occasional game of Pot Limit Omaha – “more of a fun thing,” he says, adding that he’s only won about €1,000. Not too shabby for a little side action.
But No Limit Hold’em is the game that pays the bills, and Cappeli plays it well. In the past, this poker shark played occasionally in some small live cash games and tournaments. Those were some fun experiences, but now he’s almost focused exclusively on online cash games. Besides, living in Italy doesn’t make it easy to hit the tournament trail or play in games with higher stakes.
“There aren’t many opportunities in Italy to play live poker for big money,” he says. “I try to play everyday. I try to have frequent breaks that help me keep playing all day long – and possibly all night. I don’t have a job and don’t plan on having any.”
February was not only a month to remember as BPC Player of the Month, but it was the best run of his life and favorite poker memory. The bad days just seemed few and far between.
“I never won a big tournament or something remarkable,” Cappeli says. It’s been a crazy month. When it is like this, poker can look so easy. I kept winning almost everyday and since I was winning so much I kept trying to play higher.”
That eventually peaked at the €500 level and things began to get interesting. It was at that level that Cappeli had his most exciting moment of the month. He says the scenario could be a learning experience for others playing online.
“I was sitting there at that level because I saw a big whale going broke at the €200 level and then raising the stakes to get back his money,” he says. “If you pay attention you can see this everywhere, so follow your big fishes.
“So I was there waiting for a hand with the fish, and two other regulars where there waiting for him as well. I got lucky enough to get dealt a runner-runner nut flush against this guy. We both were 200-big blinds deep.”
Cappeli moved all-in on the river and his opponent just couldn’t fold his lower flush. His opponent called and shipped Cappeli a €2,200 pot. Accustomed to pots no bigger than €500 or €600, raking in that pot was the biggest he’s seen at his table.
“My hands were shaking,” he adds.
Considering that was almost 20 percent of his February winnings, it was quite an important pot.
OBSESSED WITH POKER
Like many, poker has turned into an obsession for Cappeli. He doesn’t have a family of his own and still lives with his parents. The life of a professional poker player has not always gone well with his parents, who don’t quite understand his unique lifestyle.
“They let me play, but they don’t really think someone can make money playing poker,” he says. “Maybe I can change their minds.”
So far, so good on that front. When not at the virtual poker tables, Cappeli admits that he doesn’t focus on much else. He has cards on the brain 24/7.
“During this period of my life, what I do when I’m not playing poker?” he says. “I’m studying poker! I don’t really do anything else now. I’m obsessed with the game. I barely see friends from time to time to maintain sanity of mind.”
While there have been many good days for Cappeli, there are occasional setbacks. Refocusing one’s mind is key, he says, and he’s developed his tricks to get back in the right mental state and keep playing good poker.
Growing up, Cappeli was a calm child who loved observing nature and understanding how things worked. His analytical mind has helped him achieve some his poker dreams and he is hoping for more.
“I think I was considering myself a little scientist growing up,” he says. “ I remember more than one of my peers calling me ‘sage.’ Then when I started to think about it a bit at about 18 years old, I got obsessed with that freedom thing and started to look for a way out.”
Cappeli’s personal freedom is a recurring theme with this young rounder, and he plans to use his money from poker to obtain a level of success so that he doesn’t need a regular 9-to-5 job.
“I have only one big goal – to conquer freedom, and get in control of my life and my time,” he says. “To get out of this sick society with all the sick jobs and not depend on anyone for the rest of my life. I’ll start again cultivating hobbies when I’ll be a free human being, thanks to poker.”
Best Poker Coaching has been key to his success and allows him to play his best game.
“All the video courses and poker science lessons are pure gold and our Bible as BPC students,” he says. “I felt like knowing all that stuff was really making me more confident about my game.
“Then what really changed for me is motivation. That’s what I found in BPC – with hundreds of videos to learn, all the stories of other students that made it, and all the community that is there to help you. That’s great. That works!”
As an amateur, Cappeli watched a lot of poker on TV and admired the games of Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan. Now he looks up to many of his fellow BPC players that have made it in poker.
“I love all the videos and articles about success stories,” he says. “I find lots of things in common with those guys and I realize I can make it as well.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications such as PokerNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.