2012 was a tremendous year for me. I hit a high point in poker when I finished 2nd in the SCOOP Main Event on PokerStars.fr and won over €110,000. It was a three-day tournament and I made the final table as the chip leader. Although it wasn't too difficult getting down to heads-up play, my opponent turned out to be a really good player. I didn't do my best and ended up finishing runner-up, but it was still a really good result for me.
The event was broadcast with commentary on a new French Web TV venture I'm involved with called PokerStars Live. Every night, we rail all the big tournaments on PokerStars and do commentary during the final tables. It's a big success in France. While I'm usually the one doing analysis, this time I was playing. When I got heads-up, my best friend Benjamin Bruneteaux (community manager for PokerStars.fr) was right next to me, cheering me on, and more than 5,000 people were railing me on PokerStars Live. It was a thrilling experience. The whole three days were like a dream. And a big score couldn't have come at a better time, because I was about to become a father.
Two months later, my girlfriend and I had our first baby, a little girl named Eden. Since she was born my life has changed so much. I feel like a grown man now. Before she arrived I was a young kid; now I'm a father with responsibilities. My daughter makes me so excited for the future and even more passionate about accomplishing all the goals I have in my life. Whenever I'm down about something or frustrated with poker, I think of her and remember what's important. Really, the only bad point about being a parent is that I have to wake up when my daughter wakes up... and that's usually pretty early.
I've also had to scale back my hours playing poker since becoming a father. Although I made the trip down to the PCA, I had to miss out on the Main Event for the first time in several years. However, I did have the honor of serving as the captain of the French team in the World Cup of Poker. It was an exciting moment to wear a French jersey and represent my country. My mother was so excited when I told her that for one brief shining moment, I got to be the French captain in the World Cup! The format was excellent and Lee Jones ran a wonderful tournament, but unfortunately we finished last. Two of my good friends on Team Pro are the De Meulder brothers, and Christophe served as the Belgian team captain. I was glad to get to spend time with them, and their team went on to finish fourth.
I'm really motivated right now and I plan on playing a lot of poker in 2013. Now that my daughter is a little bit older, it's going to be easier for me to go back and forth to tournaments around Europe.
Julien Brecard is a member of Team PokerStars Pro