WSOP Main Event: Playing with a Champion Like a Champion--Philippe Boucher
by Craig Cunningham
Daniel Negreanu held court today on the ESPN Feature Table, keeping the crowd entertained while accumulating chips. In the shadow of the ESPN Feature Table sits Table 9, where two PokerStars players sat on opposite sides of the dealer and at the extreme opposite end of poker experience. The 1s and 10s The 1s and the 10s are often the least desirable seats in poker. Visibility is poor, you often bump into dealers as they deal their down and move on. Today, Phillipe Boucher and Tom McEvoy didn't seem to mind.
Tom is one of the former winner of the Main Event still alive on Day 2B, joining Robert Varkonyi and Joe Hachem still going strong. He is the author or co-author of six books of mandatory reading for tournament and cash game players looking to improve. His 1983 Championship over Doyle Brunson was the gem in his treasuretrove of four bracelets and eighteen WSOP final tables, as well as smaller tournament wins and cashes. He regularly plays smaller buy-in tourneys, helping to spread his knowledge and enthusiasm for the game to other players. In some ways he is the patron saint of PokerStars qualifiers as he was the first satellite winner to take the WSOP $10k Main Event. He also was the main catalyst to clear the air in the poker room pushing to have the World Series smoke-free in 2002.
The native of Quebec City started the day in good shape with $82,575, and he had steadily built his stack to $292,000 with one hour to play. "I played twelve No-Limit Holdem WSOP tournaments before the main event, cashing in two of them. It was a big help to play these tournaments first. It gave me good confidence and experience playing with people like Phil Hellmuth. When I was at the table with him in an earlier event, I was the only one talking to him. It's made me much more comfortable at the table." He studied electrical engineering in Canada but decided to play professionally a couple years ago. He and his wife Boucher brought their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks to a rented house in Henderson for the duration of the World Series, a home away from home as he focuses on the Main Event.
Philippe spends time each day on PrincePoker, a French-Canadian site devoted to improving play. "I've been going there for three years, and it's similar to 2+2 as a forum. We only have 1,000 members, but I learn something and help others with their play." He plays heavily on PokerStars, working continually to improve his play. "The no-names like me or strassa22 who play on PokerStars are really good. I play something like 100,000 hands a month. Doyle Brunson says that he thinks that type of volume of hands improves our understanding of the game. I don't have the experience of someone like Doyle, but I'm feeling good about my play right now. When we got to the last hours on Day 1, I moved from $50,000 to $80,000 in the last five hands because people wanted to get to Day 2. People were tired, but I play sometimes twenty hours in a row at PokerStars. I didn't come here to get through Day 2; I came to win."