Normally on a nice weekend, the PokerStars player known as lebordelaii could be found on the pitch. At just 21-years-old he still has a lot of that youthful energy that poker players lose after too much time at the tables. So, a weekend of football (you might know it as soccer) helps him shake off the tension from his weekday nursing school education. And but for a football injury to his knee, he wouldn't be as bankrolled as he is today.
"I could play this WCOOP only because of a sprain in my left knee," he said. "I could not go to Greece with a friend during my holiday as planned. I had to stay in my bed for two weeks. First, I was sad, then very happy."
No big surprise about the happiness. Winning more than $111,000 and a WCOOP bracelet will do that to a guy. He earned both in his victory in the WCOOP 4-Max no-limit hold'em event.
"When I was at the final table, people offered me a deal because I was chip leader," he said. "I felt I was more than capable of winning this tournament. Prizes were already very high but the win was the only thing I wanted. I knew I could win."
Deep down, lebordelaii would love to be a pro poker player. He actually claims it as one of his lifetime goals. Still, there is a lot of uncertainty in the poker world, and he's not ready to cast caution into the wind.
"I stay focused on my career to get my diploma," he said.
From a little village in France, lebordelaii had no real place to play a lot of poker. In fact, he started out playing for coins in a little bar. By January 2008, he felt confident enough to deposit $200 online.
He said, "You have to start somewhere, right ? I really like maths and mental arithmetic. I quickly understood I could be better than many players because of that. My reasoning was that if I'm better than most of the players, I can win money."
Although their parents aren't too keen on it, lebordelaii and his brother Mrik-B are both pretty serious players. In fact, Mrik-B had the good sense and foresight to stake his brother for part of the WCOOP buy-in. The return on his small investment is something he won't forget.
"I'm glad and proud to give him 33% of my winnings," lebordelaii said. "We wanted to create a team together after our good results, but I told him I wanted us to confirm our results before doing it. I think we are one step closer now."
Speaking of steps, lebordelaii is trying to get his knee back in shape and hopes to take a run at a live tournament or two in the near future. If anything, it won't be as dangerous as football.
Congrats, lebordelaii. Here's to a speedy reocvery.