888Poker’s Bruno Kawauti on solidarity, startups, and service

TAGs: 888poker, Brazil, bruno kawauti

Lee Davy spends 20-minutes bending the ear of 888Poker’s Brazilian ambassador Bruno Kawauti and the pair cover topics such as solidarity, startups and service.

Whenever I look at Bruno Kawauti, I always picture a humble man dressed in goatskin drapes, crook in hand, following a big bright star – and when I sat down to chew the fat with him, his mannerisms didn’t fracture that picture one bit.

888Poker‘s Brazilian ambassador abhors insolence an888Poker’s Bruno Kawauti on solidarity, startups, and serviced covets universal love. He is an entrepreneur who invents things, not for the money, but because it brings him joy.

While some poker players like to spend their winnings visiting the great pyramids of Egypt or purchasing a Rolls-Royce Sweptail, you are more likely to find Kawauti spending his money buying toys for children who have leukaemia.

Here are my 20-minutes with the man.


Who is Bruno Kawauti?

 “I am 31 years old and have been playing poker professionally since 2008. Before I turned pro, I spent a lot of time working for big corporate companies, and I always wanted to do something on my terms.

 “Back in the day, poker was much easier. I wasn’t studying at all and was still doing great. I started to play higher and realised I had to study to beat the games. I became addicted to studying and improving so I could play higher stakes and become more competitive with the best players in the world.

 “I switched from cash games to tournaments because I love the emotion and adrenaline at the end game. Tournaments are way more fun for me. If tomorrow I don’t have these feelings anymore and fall out of love with poker I will do something else.”

 Could he ever envision himself working the nine to five?

 “I used to work for Whirlpool managing the in-store marketing, so I have had jobs before poker. If poker gets boring and I wake up every day not wanting to play, I won’t. I am involved in a few startups and am always thinking of new things. I like building things.

 “Nicolau {Villa-Lobos} and I have an app for schools. We also have a DraftKings style Fantasy Sports business in Brazil – translated from Portuguese it would be called The King of Round.”

 Tell me more about the school app?

“The school app facilitates the conversation between the father and school. The father can see grades and is made aware of absenteeism. They get a warning if their child is not in school. In Brazil, it is good because there is not enough technology in the schools to make these sorts of apps.”

Startups and poker have a lot of things in common, don’t you think?

“In poker, you are alone. You analyse your game, your data, your numbers, and you have to show improvement. When you start the business of poker, you have to be around people who are good. You need a group of people who have the motivation and the skills because you invest a lot of money and time.

“You have to be around a lot of good people in poker and business. You don’t have to be friends with great poker players, but you need a good study group. They don’t need to be the best players. They need to be motivated and have the will and desire to improve. It’s important for a poker player. When I began, I used to study alone. When I began studying with a group, I developed a lot and quicker.”

888Poker’s Bruno Kawauti on solidarity, startups, and service

 Are you proud of your country?

“I don’t think too much about my country. I used to, but what I have learned in the years I have spent travelling and the people I have met – it doesn’t matter where we are from. We are all human beings. There should be one flag. I don’t believe too much in countries. Germans don’t like the Dutch. The French don’t like the English. Guys, wtf we are in 2017, we have so many problems why add more?

What do you think about when you see the world?

“I love to see people thinking more about people – helping them and forgetting about earning money to buy things. I am someone who doesn’t purchase a lot of clothes. My clothes last a long time. I don’t have this need for materialism. I am changing. I wasn’t always like this. I used to do things that I think today, ‘what are you doing?’

“The word culture is important. I want to see a change in this point of view. The world needs that. The environment needs that. We are destroying the world. Some parts of the world, like India, there is slavery with people working for $1 per day, so we can have nice clothes. 

“The world is still like this in 2017! It’s crazy, and we are in Barcelona and Dominik is playing in a $300k buy-in soon, and there is poverty in the world? How much does it cost to cure hunger in the world? Trillions of dollars? We have that kind of money, and we can make a difference, but people don’t want to.”

How do you make a difference?

888Poker’s Bruno Kawauti on solidarity, startups, and service

“I used to help a project with a friend of mine, Ruly, called CAJEC. It’s a support house where children with cancer live when their parents can’t afford to care for them. They leave them there midweek, and see them on weekends or take them home on weekends.

“When I go back home I go to help. I don’t always give money. The children don’t care about money. I spend an afternoon with them and play with them. The last time I went  I gave them a PlayStation and ten games and the kids loved it. If I gave them a million bucks, they wouldn’t care, but they loved playing those games. I was like Uncle Bruno. This is genuine. When you do something good for someone, it’s a genuine feeling. Sometimes, we do good things, but there is no genuine feeling. It’s always genuine with children. They are heroes. They have nothing. They are so authentic. No mask.”

And 888Poker poker?

“It’s my fifth year with 888Poker. They always respect me and try to make everybody close like a team, and I like that the most. They are growing the market. That’s a necessity because there is a space that 888 are filling. The best part of being a poker player is meeting people, and 888 allow me to do that.”


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