PokerStars Class of 2001: Francis Naud

While PokerStars celebrates its fifth anniversary, it is also celebrating the Class of 2001, the people who have been around since the very beginning and have stuck around to make PokerStars the biggest and best online poker site on the planet. I've tracked down a few of the old-timers. Over the next few days, I'll be bringing you some of their stories.

Here's the thing about Francis Naud: He has been playing at PokerStars as long as just about anybody. What's more, as a Supernova member of the PokerStars VIP Club, he plays more than most people. Who is he? Well, that will be up to you to figure out. He doesn't mind that you know his real name. His screen name, however, will remain a secret.

Oh, and this is what he looks like:

So, he may not be the biggest of mystery men, but he is an old-timer here who embodies PokerStars history.

Back in 2001, Naud got word from a friend that there was a poker site just starting up with an interesting interface.

"I jumped in and never quit," Naud said.

Since then, Naud has been a regular player on PokerStars, with fond memories of every year.

"I remember one magic streak when starting my career on the site. I won two consecutive $200+15 MTTs back-to-back," he said. "Back in those days, the field of players was less impressive--a little more than 100 players. Still, it really gave me the kick that I needed to start my poker career."

Like many players, Naud's poker life didn't start off with lots of huge wins. After college, he went to work with his father.

"I worked pretty hard for my money and I lost a part of it in online poker," he said. "Trust me, I paid to learn!"

But poker was a passion for Naud. He didn't focus on his losses. He focused on what he knew he would win. And win he did.

"Pokertars is where I really developed my poker skills, online and live. I traveled the world playing live poker, paying for my trips with the money I could win out of both ring games and tournaments," he said. "In fact, I'm really better as an online poker player. Who knows, I still dream of a final table at a major live tournament for which I would pay the entry via a satellite that PokerStars offers on its site."

Thanks to Francis Naud for making PokerStars his online home. And Francis, I'll plan on seeing you at the final table of a live event very soon.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in