Victory Lap Part 1
I have recently been asked to write a column on how life can change, when you become the world champion of poker. I know firsthand that it changes many things! Sometimes for the best and sometimes for the worst. In this blog, which I will split in three parts, I'll try to show you how this can change your life, and what adjustments end up being very important.
On my way to the 2010 World Series tournament, my goal was simple: to do the best that I could. I didn't expect to win at all. Of course, I dreamt about it, and in my wildest dreams I won it, but the reality is that I only wanted to take part to the tournament, and play the best poker of my life, making the right decisions, and letting the rest follow. And you all know what happened next: I managed to win the tournament! It was madness everywhere, especially in Quebec!
In this situation, you must be able to adapt, fast. There is media everywhere, you become instantly famous, and everybody recognizes you. It is essential to become extremely disciplined in order to perform the many tasks expected from you. I think I've been able to adapt quickly, for which I feel very lucky. There are so many requests all at the same time that you don't have time to deal with them all!
After winning the Main Event, I couldn't play poker for one month due to the high volume of requests from international and Quebecois media. Not a very big problem you'll say; yes, in most cases. To be recognized and congratulated by the public is heartwarming. You become proud. Proud of your achievement, proud to represent Quebec and Canada on the international stage but at the same time, you become a target. Some people are waiting the smallest mistake from you to shout from the rooftops that you are not perfect.
Nobody's perfect, everyone can make mistakes; the most important is to know how to deal with them and how to recover afterwards.
One month after my victory, I signed a contract with the giant PokerStars.com. Wow! Another dream which became reality - getting the chance to represent the biggest poker room in the world is just fantastic.The tournaments and promotional activities are organized. Interviews, TV show, press conferences, you name it!
Once again, it is essential to be able to adapt, as now you have to be able to adhere to a strict schedule, to be present, and in good shape, for all activities requested. But more than anything else, it is essential to enjoy the present moment. You won't win the WSOP Main Event every year. So for me it was very important to appreciate every moment and to have fun. I enjoyed the present moment, had fun with interviews, and smiled to the cameras.
This approach has been highly motivating. I knew that I had to play several tournaments in early 2011, starting by the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, so I was really motivated to make a good result again, to win another tournament if possible, to become the best poker player that I could possibly be.