My French sister-in-law has no interest at all in poker. But when I tell her that I sometimes work in the same room as Patrick Bruel she suddenly takes great interest and starts telephoning relatives. I’ve been telling her this for some time now though and worry that perhaps she’s beginning to wonder whether I’m making it all up. Actually, I also told my mother that for a short time I was on nodding terms with Boris Becker. Now, on the Bruel front at least, it’s time to prove it.
Bruel is an actor and singer of monumental fame. While to people like us he’s a poker player blessed with a talent that has lasted years in a rapidly changing game, to everyone else he is the face on the cover of magazines, or the subject of gossip columnists, as well as a principle participant in the French film and music industry.
His performing career spans more than 25 years, testimony to his talents in what is often a fickle business. The same could be said for his poker career. His first live tournament cash came in Paris in 1996. Two years later he famously won a World Series bracelet in Las Vegas, bolstering a reputation in the game that exists today.
More results followed, with the last $332,000 of his so far $1.3 million career earnings coming this year, when he took fourth place in the LA Poker Classic in March, an event won by Chris Moorman.
It’s obvious that Bruel still thrives in this environment, one that he admits he is constantly drawn to. So given that everywhere else he goes he is either mobbed or photographed, does poker give him the rare opportunity to escape the spotlight?
“Yeah, it’s good for me to get out a little bit of my usual life, usual style,” he told us. “When I come back to this area (poker) I’m just another poker player.”
Bruel described what happened recently in Los Angeles as “so strong” and convinced him that he is “kind of poker” now. Whatever happens in this €10,000 buy-in event Bruel will find a way to enjoy it. “It’s a pleasure anyway,” he said.
And with that he put on a black leather jacket, dark glasses, and he rushed off to enjoy the rest of his break unmolested.
“Who was that?” asked the dealer at his table.
“Patrick Bruel,” I told him. Not Patrick Bruel the star, but Patrick Bruel the poker player. I think now I’ve met them both.
Time to make a phone call.
All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main event page. We will have feature pieces below that.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.