WPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)
Congratulations on your third WSOP golden bracelet. How does it feel to be the first non-American player to win it this year?
Thank you, it feels great of course. I was the first European to win it this year and I was lucky to have won two bracelets in two years, so that is pretty amazing, too. Actually, the importance of it is not that I am a non-American, but that this is my third WSOP bracelet, which is a big accomplishment for me.
Was it a difficult task? How much effort did it cost you?
Yes, it was a difficult to win at the World Series of Poker six-handed no-limit Hold’em event, as there were more than 700 players competing. I think this was one of my best tournaments; I felt very confident during the three days of intensive competition and successfully completed the game with an amazing result.
What is your biggest motivator in poker?
I think it is the passion of the game – I really enjoy playing; I do not consider it a job, it is more like a hobby for me, this maybe the reason why it brings me so much satisfaction. The secret of success in life lies in a simple thing – love what you do to reach the top and to produce the best results. And this is exactly what I do, plus I work on myself and my game to improve and I learn a lot from my mistakes.
How many years in total have you been playing?
I started playing at the time of poker boom, 2003. Just after my studying, I went to Los Angeles for a 6 months’ English language course. It coincided with tremendous development of poker game in those days and that made the effect. That is how it all started for me.
Does your fame influence your game and how?
Well, it is hard to say, but probably I see more respect from other famous players and my fame gives me the chance to play more aggressive at times and bad players often feel the desire to knockout the pro, which also can be considered as an advantage.
Do you have many fans in Belgium? Do people recognize you on the streets?
I have people who follow me on social media, of course, and yes, some fans recognize me when they see me somewhere, but they are all boys, never girls. I am also a member of the French poker team Winamax and have plenty of friends.
Do you teach poker?
No, I do not teach because I am not a good teacher. I never even thought of coaching because it is not my cup of tea. Surely, there were many people asking about poker lessons from me, but I had to refuse as I never felt like it.
Have you participated in Merit Poker events before?
This is my second visit and I am very pleased with it. As somebody told me, after visiting Merit Poker just once, you would return there again and again – and this is absolutely true!