2013 PCA: Pierre Neuville not going gentle...
By today's poker standards, Pierre Neuville is an old man. He will turn 70 while here at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Neuville has felt the physical strain of getting older--the mental fatigue and the deviations from life's routines that come with everything else that surrounds advancing age. Even he, an optimist among optimists, will admit he probably isn't as good as he wants to be.
"I am convinced I have not taken full advantage of my potential," he said.
This comes from at a time when Neuville sits at #6 on the all-time European Poker Tour leaderboard. He's in the Global Poker Index's top 300 and is the oldest person among those top players. He played 42 consecutive EPT events without missing one. He's won $1.5 million in live tournaments over the past five years. He created a commercial board game in his late 60s. He is an unstoppable machine, if one that might be a little rusty.
Today Neuville plays in Day 1B of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He is one of those PokerStars players who is so often on our radar that he almost blends into the background like a painting you see on a wall every day. It took offending him to make his radar blip start flashing on our screen again.
Neuville, one of PokerStars' most loyal friends and a man we once dubbed the Serial Qualifier, took umbrage at the fact he wasn't included in the select list of players in the PCA Last Longer promotion.
"It seems that you forgot the elder of the team," he said.
It was all explained away quickly (the contest was made up of just a few players), but it evolved into a discussion of Neuville's age, something that is clearly at the front of his mind. His advance into the world of septuagenarians came as sort of a shock.
"I can hardly believe it myself," he said.
But, Neauville has a secret. He's been working with a coach that's been helping him improve his physical and mental health. Neuville has lost a few pounds and cut back on a lot of the outside stressors that had been bugging him. He works out three to five times a week, even when he's on the road for a tournament.
"Who knows?" he said with a trademark wryness. "Maybe I will be the Last Longer Team PokerStars player at the PCA."
He's not just talking about poker. Neuville doesn't see himself leaving this world anytime soon. Not only does he plan on keeping his heart beating for a long time, but he's treating his poker game like it is a new study, reworking his technique, analyzing his notes, and adapting to the ever-changing game.
"My objective is not really to be compared to other seniors," he said. "I want to proof to the senior players among us that our potential has no limits whatever our age. It is time that we get rid of that age complex."
Neuville's fellow seniors are taking notice. They get in touch to ask him his secrets. They are the people he wants to reach. As he sees it, seniors are a huge and often untapped poker market--people with more time and money than younger people. But, he says, they are afraid of playing the younger set...and they shouldn't be.
And so he battles on, continuing to climb up the EPT leaderboard, maintaining his spot in the GPI, and working to secure a title for his generation.
"Poker is a world where youngsters are winning," Neuville conceded. "However, it is certainly positive to prove that poker can help improve the physical and mental condition. It's never too late to win."
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging