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At 72 years old Belgium's Pierre Neuville is not your average November Niner. Neuville has 20 previous WSOP cashes to his credit and he's been crushing the European live circuit for years. And, surprisingly for a man his age, he's a successful online player. Now for the first time his poker skills will be on display to a huge worldwide audience at the final table of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event. Neuville had a 40-year career designing board games for Hasbro and when he retired he returned to his true passion, poker. Now Neuville sees his November Nine appearance as a chance to inspire elderly people around the world to use poker to keep their minds sharp and to promote social interaction. Neuville enters the November Nine fourth in chips and is already guaranteed a $1 million payday. Watch the entire video with Neuville and check back on PokerListings.com in November to see if he can become the next world champion of poker.
It was a good feeling. It's above any expectation, any realistic expectation. I had a dream for many years to be able to participate in this Main Event once, and now to be in the November Nine, I enjoy every second, every minute. I enjoy this much more than anything in 40 years of business. It doesn't compare to anything else.
When I woke up this morning, I was afraid. For ten or twenty seconds I thought I had dreamed it during the night, that it wasn't true. I woke up and thought, “Oh no.” And I turned to my wife. I know it's real but for a few seconds it was terrible. I really thought that. The mind was so tired and confused after 80 hours of poker.
Now I'm in the first day of the three best months of my life because I will enjoy each minute, each hour, each day. It's wonderful that we have three months. It's a marketing invention but also for the players I think it's really it's fantastic.
I must admit I am very proud of the accomplishment because poker media are not really in contact with senior people who are at home just watching poker. The number of letters, email and contact from senior people, especially from their wives. So many wives are writing to me, “Sir, excuse me to disturb you but you are accomplishing the dream my husband dreams. He is at home and he doesn't dare to go and play. How is it possible? We think it's only for young guys. How did you start?”
They're asking for advice and for that I have a real mission to help millions of seniors to go out and start to play online. They think they're going to lose because the young ones are too smart but I'm pretty sure id I can hit it, it could be a real boom for seniors. Seniors are 50 to 90, because now I'm planning the next 20 years.
I'm very proud to be in much better health than I was five years ago. I'm working with Universities and making all the tests each six months and each six months they are telling me I'm 18 months or 12 months younger than you were six months ago. They make some tests with my mind and say now I'm beating the average reaction tests. When retired people just stay at home in a chair and don't do anything, life is going away.
My wife is a fantastic help for me because she is practicing a lot of fitness and yoga and she pushed me to look at my health. It's a big war against the past poker reputation. When we first got together her friends were telling her, “Are you not ashamed to be with a poker player?” The past reputation was there. It was alcohol and smoking and drugs. I'm proving now that poker might be one of the best activities for seniors to help them keep in better health, not the opposite. It's really an interesting mission.