Frenchman tops Titan's $2.5 million tourney

The Prize Money

Olivier Lombard nearly missed out on playing in the Titan Poker $2.5 Million Guaranteed tournament earlier this month, but he's certainly glad he made time for the qualifier and the tournament after taking it down for a $500,000 top prize.

According to Titan Poker, Lombard's story is a series of near misses that could have left the 23-year-old without a seat in the tournament at all.

First, he nearly forgot to play in the qualifying tournament he'd been entered into just days before the big event. At the last minute he remembered to redeem a free token to the $2.5 million satellite, and he finished in the top five to earn a seat in the final.

Then Lombard faced another dilemma. He was taking a vacation during the time that the $2.5 million guaranteed final was scheduled.

He still went on vacation, but like a true poker player, he couldn't miss out on such a big opportunity. Through the convenience of Internet poker, Lombard was able to log in and take his seat Sept. 7 via remote Internet access from Senegal.

Fourteen hours of play later, Lombard was scooping up the last of his opponents' chips and cashing in for a $500,000 win.

"I kept the stakes far from my mind and played as rationally as I could. I made sure to change strategy often during the game, depending on the opponents and the blinds," Lombard said.

"Lady Luck also made an appearance at two key points in the tournament and thankfully turned the cards in my favor at the river."

Lombard's strategy paid off as he worked his way through the 1,596-player field and into the first-place spot.

Lombard, who plays as axp15, is a civil engineer from France. He is currently on a work contract in Africa, and when he's not working he's been building a formidable reputation as a cash-table player at Titan Poker.

Although he's been on the poker site for more than a year, Lombard is a relatively unknown player in the tournaments at Titan Poker. That element of surprise may have worked to his advantage as several more-experienced opponents fell in his wake.

"I was extremely lucky," Lombard admits. "You almost always need a lot of tournament experience to win such huge events."

He may not have much experience, but Lombard does have some good advice for poker fans who want to play in the tournaments.

"Never give up," he said. "Always go for number one. Don't content yourself with just winning satellite seats. Focus on the game, keep the stakes out of your mind and play your best."

Poker fans can follow Lombard's advice and perhaps even take him on at the tables by heading to Titan Poker.

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