Two coin flips away from being a member of the October Nine herself, Norway's Elisabeth Hille was this close to a shot at changing her life forever.
Still, with a $590k score for finishing 11th overall and a sponsorship deal with Betfair Poker, the 26-year-old from Bergen has had a few doors open since her amazing performance.
Surprisingly, she still works as a waitress from time-to-time, but by the sounds of it is on the verge of making poker her true full-time gig.
On the brink of the WSOP Main Event final table, PokerListings caught up with Hille via email for her thoughts on her amazing run, how it feels to be on the outside looking in and who she thinks has the upper hand once the cards hit the air.
PokerListings: The final table at the WSOP Main Event is at hand. You were so close to getting there yourself. How would you describe your run during the WSOP?
Elisabeth Hille: It was an amazing experience! The days were long and intense but as it was always exciting to watch others play or being involved myself, time went quickly and suddenly I was bagging up chips for the night!
Every level brought new challenges and things to consider -- table image, stack size, bet size and so on. My brain never got much rest.
But this is much of what I love about this game so always very happy to be part of it.
PokerListings: Your achievements during the Main Event were remarkable. How did you feel being eliminated just before the final table? Do you regret anything in your play during the tournament?
Hille: Being eliminated knowing I was so close to the final table was of course not pleasant. But in light of it all I was just really happy to have made it that far!
My biggest regret is not winning the two important flips at the end. :P I also see some hands I should/could play differently, but all in all I lost flips to end my tournament life.
PokerListings: How has your life been after this summer ́s WSOP? Both regarding your poker and on a personal level (work, studies, etc.)? What have you done and has anything changed?
Hille: Life’s been good! I signed my contract with Betfair and I am now part of Team Betfair as a Poker Ambassador!
I now get to travel a lot more and play big and small tournaments and I’m learning all the time! When I’m home I try to play as much as I can online to improve my cash-game play.
And now with a decent bankroll on Betfair I hope to make this my new job. :) I still work at the restaurant, but with my travelling schedule and hours put into online grinding I’ve had to cut down on shifts.
PokerListings: Some say your achievement during the WSOP is the biggest one in Norwegian poker of all time. What do you think about those kind of statements, and do you agree?
Cutting down on restaurant shifts.
Hille: Wow, it’s a pretty heavy statement! I suppose as a single event it could be one of the biggest, except for Annette Obrestad’s "Gold medal" in the WSOPE.
But I feel better achievements are made by the people who make deep runs again and again, having several cashes and final tables to their name. I hope to do the same!
PokerListings: Are you cheering for any player in particular among the October Nine? If so, why?
Hille: I suppose I’m rooting for Greg Merson! I sat with him a few times during the event and he’s a great guy, and an amazing player!
PokerListings: Who do you reckon is the favorite to win the Main Event and why?
Hille: I’ll say Merson again. He’s not afraid to play big pots and pile on the pressure.
He consistently makes good decisions and, in fact, in the hands I’ve played against him I don’t think I’ve seen him make any mistakes?!
PokerListings: What are your personal goals regarding poker? Do you have any plans for where/what you would like to play in the near future?
Hille: I’ve had a lot of success offline this year, but right now I’m focused on improving my online cash game. With all the good games running on Betfair, I’m getting all the practise I need.
My next tournament stop with Team Betfair will be the Prague Poker Festival, where I plan to play the WPT, GSOP and probably some smaller tournaments running in between.
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