The 2015 WSOP Main Event November Nine is set and there is one player who stands out for several reasons.
Just four months ago Pierre Neuville received a standing ovation at the European Poker Awards in Malta upon being presented the jury’s special prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In his speech he expressed his thankfulness for the appreciation but also pointed out that he’s in no mood to quit the game.
He finished his speech with the words “the best is yet to come," foreshadowing his amazing run to the November Nine culminated last night.
The 72-year-old Belgian has already shown the world there are no limits in No-Limit Hold’em. And he's not done yet.
A Poker Player Who Didn't Play
Poker brought Neuville back to life.
The former “Friend of PokerStars” and president of Hasbro (producer of the game Trivial Pursuit), Neuville is one of the most popular players in Europe.
He also has an amazing life story to tell. After making some side money playing Seven Card Stud during his studies in the 1960s Neuville stopped playing poker altogether to pursue his business career.
Taking over as the face of a family oriented board game company in several European countries he was told to keep his image "out of the casinos."
For over 40 years he was a poker player who didn’t play. Then he fell seriously ill and decided that if he managed to recover he’d stop working and only do what he loves for the rest of his life.
He told his wife about that decision while he was in a hospital bed. She thought he was delirious because she had no idea about Pierre’s passion. But he was serious, and he found a new life.
A few weeks later Neuville took his wife to the Bahamas where he played the PCA Main Event. He made the last two tables (from over 1,100 runners), busting only to eventual winner Bertrand Grospellier.
Neuville then went on to become famous as the Serial Qualifier, qualifying online for 23 main events of the European Poker Tour in a row.
He had several deep runs and finished as runner-up twice. He was listed in the Top 10 of the all-time EPT rankings for several years.
Neuville Shares His Secrets
Always one to think of the best interests of the game Neuville produced a seven-part article series exclusively published on PokerListings to show readers how to succeed in the different satellite formats and experience the magic of the EPT themselves.
Fourth in chips; first in hearts.
Over time there's been a feeling in the community that poker had become a game for the young people and that the older players couldn’t keep up with the aggression anymore.
Swedish poker legend Chris Björin even told PokerListings’ Ken Lennaárd that “nobody over 50 will ever win the main event again."
He could be wrong. Very wrong.
Neuville seems to get better with every passing year. In 2014 he had eight cashes at the WSOP, among these a second-place finish to Kevin Eyster in the ultra-aggressive $5k NLHE 6-max event.
In 2013 Pierre Neuville also received the Living Legend Award at the first PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards at the Battle of Malta (see the video here).
Amazingly, he also said “the best is yet to come” when Kara Scott spoke with him during the awards ceremony.
He's now proved it several times over.
Pierre Neuville will go into the November Nine fourth in chips with the world title on the line. But it's hard not to think he's already a champion of the poker world.