Scrolling Headlines:

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

UMass alum wins poker jackpot

barboza

(Courtesy Brian Barboza)

If you play your cards right, you might get rich. At least it worked out that way for one University of Massachusetts alumni.

Brian Barboza, 2001, recently won $100,000 on a Pokerstars.net tournament, “Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge,” which aired on Fox. Based on his performance in the top five of contestants on the show was selected to fly to Los Angeles to play in a $1,000,000 tournament with the other top contestants and poker extraordinaire Daniel Negraneu.

Barboza said that while he had learned to play conventional poker as a child, his rise to the top of the online poker world had been a fast one.

“I didn’t get on the site until March, I think it was,” he said of his online experience.

“At that point, I kind of knew how to play. It’s basically a free site. It’s all fake money, and I picked it up for an hour here, an hour there,” Barboza added.

Barboza said that he began practicing ardently when he saw an advertisement for a chance to appear on the renowned World Series of Poker tour, though that fell through.

From there, he was determined to poke into the top echelons of poker, and when his computer flashed with a promising pop-up ad, he was ready to make his break.

“I think it was in July,” he said. “A window popped up when I was playing that said ‘click here for a chance to be in the Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge,’” and with that, Barboza’s road to riches began.

“I won this pre-qualifier. It was like a 10,000 person tournament,” he said.

From there, the producers of the Fox mini-series Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge contacted the pre-qualifier winners and asked them to produce a video discussing why they deserved to be on the show.

Barboza and two friends made a short video, which Barboza said they did not take seriously, only to get a call back from the producers, who told him they enjoyed his video and asked him to fill out a questionnaire to appear on the show.

“About a week after I sent the video, I heard back from the Pokerstars people,” he said, “they said they really enjoyed the video, sent me a questionnaire, and then I didn’t hear anything for a month and a half, so I thought it was over,” he added.

But the hand Barboza had been dealt was a promising one.

“Finally I got contacted by one of the casting directors who said I was one of 12 who was going to go on the show,” he furthered, and so his run to poker prominence began.

“Me and my two friends went out (to Los Angeles) the first week of October,” he elaborated, continuing that he was unsure at first what to expect and highly nervous.

The sports marketing alumnus who originally hails from Raynham, Mass. was still in for more luck.

In the first round, the contestants play a celebrity, and Barboza’s opponent was 2008 Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole.

“She was pretty good,” Barboza said of his photogenic foe. “I was pretty nervous that first round and almost lost. I kind of snapped out of it and won,” he said.

Barboza explained that poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, a featured guest on the min-series, was allowed to advise him in the first round, but not to see his cards.

For his first round win, Barboza was rewarded with a trip to the Bahamas.

After he felled Nicole, Barboza was met by Pokerstars.net’s pro poker player Vanessa Rousso, a tough opponent, for a pot of $25,000.

In the second round, Negreanu was not allowed to be in the room, but was able to inspect Barboza’s cards over closed circuit television and advise him of his moves over earpiece.

Perhaps it was fated, but Barboza took round two and the $25,000 bonus and was faced with a decision. go home $25,000 richer, or take on Negreanu himself for $100,000.

Barboza took the risk and went after the champion himself, and his decision paid off, as he felled the legend and took home the prize.

Thursday Barboza will fly to Los Angeles to play in the final round of the series, which features the show’s top five winners vying for a chance to take on Negreanu for $1,000,000.

With any luck, and maybe a few good hands, one UMass alumni will head home to Bridgewater to his liquor wholesaling job a million richer. Talk about a jackpot.

 Sam Butterfield can be reached at sbutterfield@dailycollegian.com.

Leave A Comment