Musings of the Serial PokerStars Qualifier
Pierre Neuville, dubbed the Serial PokerStars Qualifier by the PokerStars Blog scribes, is in the running to win the top qualifier prize at this year's EPT awards, thanks to satelliting his way in to seemingly every event this year. Here, the retired businessman from Belgium talks about his race for the trophy...
Of course I am very excited about the race for best PokerStars qualifier. There are many rankings in the poker world, but they all separate the two categories: the live and the online. It is a genius idea of PokerStars to bring these two together, mixing the online qualification and subsequent EPT results to create a points leader board.
No points are attributed when you get in the money at an EPT but did not qualify for the event online. Also qualifying but then not getting in the money has little effect - so it's the synergy of both qualifiying online and getting in the money that is a real discovery. I think of the millions of passionate players from over 100 countries who try to qualify for the EPT. So this new challenge for the award of the "best" of the mix online/live is a real world event. This new idea has a bright future. I think many players will like to take on this challenge in the future. And yes, I confess, I am very excited to be in the running for the first award!
This has a surprising impact on the players aged over 50 like me, as everybody was expecting the younger internet guys to top the ranking. The fact that an old 'Mr Nobody' from the internet is not doing all that bad is a wonderful stimulant for all the other older players who would like to play online, especially as my generation suffers a bit from the amazing results from the internet generation.
I have received encouragements from all over Europe after being the oldest runner-up in EPT history in Villamoura. But with this new challenge, I surprisingly receive even more questions and support. Questions such as:
Are you a computer specialist? No, not at all. My knowledge is limited to my small portable PC.
Do you use tracker software? No sophisticated techniques for me - my memory notes are the only support.
Are you a professional? Of course not! I am a retired businessman, with just one passion: the love of poker!
The encouraging messages I receive are moving. One may say: "My dream is to qualify one day for a EPT event. I never dared before but now I will certainly try." Another: "You realize my dream 10 times!"
Forums like 'Wallonie Poker' have even made me their member of honour. Their fan club watches my qualifications online closely every evening. They comment and celebrate my achievements on PokerStars. And they suffer my bad beats with me! Sometimes it is almost as though I am playing for a home team. They are an audience of friends and connoisseurs. After a game, we exchange our views. It is really very captivating.
It would make me very happy if I could convince my fellow 'older' competitors that, yes, we can also play poker on the internet and compete with the very best.
Even if a poker tournament is an excellent activity, well under control and quite educational for the young ones, the modern game now is overall the perfect activity for a retired person. Everybody can afford to play poker nowadays: it is either for free or for a small amount of euro's one can play all day.
An anti-aging doctor would tell you: stay active, keep your mind busy, look for a new challenge in life... continue progressing. Well, poker brings me all of that. Every day I do two hours of theoretical research to look for progress, and four hours of practice.
Who - at the age of 60 - is still trying to educate his mind? Who at that age is still looking for the challenge of improvement in various areas? For the sake of poker, I am still searching every day to upscale my physical condition (which by the way needs it) as well as my concentration capacity. Trying to push my audacity to a higher level but at the same time remain constantly vigilant!
The object is also to keep my emotions under control and minimize my expressions during (unfortunately, yes that happens) numerous deceptions. I am living in a permanent state of self-education that makes me feel younger every day!
Thanks to you all - young genius poker players, EPT organizers, PokerStars staff, and passionate reporters and photographers.
You make my day! (my days, actually).