The largest tournament field in World Series Of Poker History came to a decision on the virtual felt of GGPoker.com, and out of 29,306 players, Marcelo “Marolo” Jakovljevic Pudla battled his way to WSOP gold. Pudla fought his way through adversity to take down WSOP Event #32 “The Opener,” securing the grand prize of $265,880 and his first ever WSOP Bracelet.

Winning the massive first place prize and WSOP bracelet certainly means the world to the Brazilian poker pro. Pudla has been a professional in the game for just two years, but his quick rise can be attributed to his hard work and dedication to the game.

“It’s been two years of total devotion to poker.. Since the middle of 2019 my bankroll was going up quite consistently.. So I can say that I was progressing (for) one year until I reached this result.” – Marolo

Marcelo’s poker journey dates back to around 4 years ago, while he was in college studying engineering. While studying, Marcelo started playing poker a little bit with friends and gradually became more and more interested in the game. After graduating with his engineering degree, he decided to put his engineering skills on the backburner and dedicate himself 100% to studying and improving his poker game. Making a living at this game is tough, but Pudla was consistent in his actions and stuck to it, motivated and determined to become one of the best in the game.

“The moment I graduated, I started to dedicate myself 100% to poker.. I have to go after knowledge wherever possible.”

Buying in for $100, little did Marcelo know that he would end up battling his way through the largest field in WSOP history, overcoming technical issues with the site as well, to win $265,880 and WSOP gold. During play, GGPoker had some issues on the backend and had to suspend tournament play for an entire week. When play finally resumed on July 26, 3,039 players finally made the money for the min-cash of $282, just over 10% of the initial field of 29,000+ entries. 10 hours of grueling play later, Marcelo found himself at the final table of the biggest WSOP event in history, battling it out for over 20 times his largest cash to date. When asked how it felt to be playing poker for such a large sum of money, Marcelo said that “the pressure was very high.”

“At the semi-final table, the payouts were already my biggest score of all time, for me the pressure was very high.. But when I got to the final table I was comfortably leading the tournament, and (my opponent’s) stacks were so small that the pressure was much greater on them.”

Coming into the final table with the chiplead, Marcelo “Marolo” Pudla could simply do no wrong. Shortly after the final table battle commenced, Bret Carson moved all in with A 3. The action folded to Pudla in the cutoff with 6 6, who moved all in over the top. The board ran out clean for Marolo, and Carson was eliminated in 9th place, taking home $18,524. 

The final table was very fast paced, with eliminations coming fast and furious due to the extremely high blinds. Most players had very few big blinds left, and this led to a series of fast eliminations following Carson. Jonas Mackoff was sent to the rail in 8th place ($25,986) by Ramiro Petrone, and the very next hand saw Boban Zhivkovikj eliminated in 7th, taking home $36,455. Six hands later and Roberto Turrisi fell in 6th place for $51,140, again at the hands of Petrone. 

Less than 5 minutes later, Marcelo Pudla once again chipped up with the elimination of the only other remaining Brazilian, Pablo Silva. Silva moved all in under the gun with J J and Pudla called on the button with A Q. The board ran out Q 7 3 5 A, giving Marcelo the winner and eliminating Silva in 5th for a cool $71,742. 

Nothing could go wrong for Marcelo Pudla, who eliminated Ramiro Petrone in 4th place ($100,644) shortly after. Marcelo shoved K 2 from the small blind, and Petrone called it off with A 9. Pudla was able to improve on a runout of 7 4 2 6 6, laddering once again.

Now down to 3 players, Pudla chipped down quite a bit and had to nurse a shortstack for a while until the two bigger stacks finally went to war. Dejan Kaladjurdevic moved all in with T T, only to unfortunately run into the J J of Ronit Chamani. Kaladjurdevic was unable to improve, and busted out in 3rd place with an impressive score of $141,189. 

Finally heads up for gold, Pudla had one final opponent standing between him and $265,880. Chamani had the commanding 4-1 chiplead following his elimination of Dejan Kaladjurdevic, but he couldn’t survive for long vs Pudla, who found 3 key double ups before ending things for good. 

The final hand was played out when Chamani moved all in with 6 5 and Pudla called with A 5. The board ran out T 9 3 2 7, and the ace high of Pudla was enough to eliminate Chamani in 2nd for $198,067. After 11 hours of intense high stakes battle, Marcelo Pudla won his first ever WSOP tournament and the $265,880 first place prize.

When asked about his journey to this moment, Pudla attributed his success to his hard work and consistent study. A proud Raise Your Edge member, Marcelo said the courses he studied with RYE helped him tremendously with improving his tournament game, as well as helping him make contacts within the RYE community to study with and improve.

“As I (rely) 100% on poker to make a living, I have to go after knowledge whenever possible. The Raise Your Edge course helped me a lot to improve my game, and also helped me to (establish) contacts with other people in the community who are looking to achieve the same goals as me.”

Pudla says that he plans to use the money from his big score to invest in himself and to provide a substantial cushion for his poker bankroll. The result is great, but Pudla says that he still has a lot to learn about the game, and that he will always be seeking ways to learn and improve. When asked what advice he would give for aspiring poker pros looking to move up the ranks and find success, Pudla simply stated the following:

“I’ve been dedicating myself to poker for only 2 years, however what I learned in those two years is this. You must be consistent in your actions, always looking to improve, and you must go find people who are looking for the same goals as yours, to help you along the way.”

Taking down “The Opener” was a life changing accomplishment for Marcelo Pudla, but this is only the beginning for the young poker pro. Continuing to devote time and effort to study and improvement in the game, who can say what lofty accomplishments are in store for the Brazilian pro. The luckiest people are typically the ones who prepare and study the hardest. Marcelo was able to vastly improve his poker game by studying and internalizing ‘The Tournament Masterclass’ the flagship course available at raiseyouredge.com, as well as utilizing the massive community at Raise Your Edge to study and improve with other like-minded poker players and the RYE coaches.

If you are interested in checking out the course and learning more about the tools Marcelo Pudla used to improve his game, you can do so by checking out the Tournament Masterclass using the button below.

Tournament Masterclass