Pierre Neuville is the living proof that successful poker players don’t always have to be young, multi-tabling, internet whiz kids.
The 69-year-old Belgian PokerStars Team Pro holds a record for qualifying online for EPT main events 23 times in a row.
Today he'll start to reveal his secrets in an exclusive poker tournament strategy series on PokerListings.com.
The Pierre Neuville Story: Almost Too Good to Be True
Pierre Neuville first showed up on the EPT circuit early in 2008 when he made the last two tables of the PCA main event.
He was eventually busted by eventual winner Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier but his 18th-place finish for $48,000 made for his starting bankroll and foreshadowed the big things to come.
Pierre decided to commit to poker, a game he has loved since he made enough money to pay for his studies in the 1960s, and started working intensely on poker theory.
After his second EPT main event six months later in Barcelona, won by Sebastian Ruthenberg, he started his amazing run of 23 consecutive qualifications by winning a package to EPT Warsaw in November 2008.
What followed sounds like a story almost too good to be true.
In April 2009, Pierre came 9th at EPT San Remo and half a year later he was runner-up to Antonio Matias at the EPT Vilamoura in Portugal.
He cashed seven times in EPT Season 7 alone.
From ranking below the top 1,500 on the EPT all-time leaderboard in 2009, he skyrocketed to 25th place in 2010 and reached his best position after the EPT Grand Final in Madrid 2011, when he was in 6th place.
In October 2011 he reached the money in the WSOPE main event and busted in 64th place.
A Teacher Helps His Students Become Better Than Himself
Neuville's success story didn’t go unnoticed and he's often approached by players of all ages and asked for advice.
Until now, though, he's stuck to his plan to never to coach more than two students on a regular basis.
Despite his success, Pierre has never lost his humble, down-to-earth attitude.
“You don’t have to be better than your students”, he says. “In the long run, my best students will become better than me.
"It’s like the Chinese say. ‘It’s the goal of the teacher to help their students to become better than himself’.”
Learning to get better in poker and helping others is a reciprocal process, according to Neuville.
“Your progress in poker should be a constant exchange of information. To become a good player, you have to communicate with other players as much as possible.
"And teaching also means learning from your students.”
Staying ambitious is also essential for success, says Neuville and the Olympic fan motto “being there is everything” doesn’t apply.
“You have to give something to get something,” he says.
Not everybody has the proper mindset to keep his head above the water in the poker business,either.
Some don’t have the perseverance you need to survive the dry times, and some just can’t take the success.
“For some players, success backfires," Neuville says. "They win an international tournament, and then they think they are now better than everybody else.
"These players often vanish again and never get a second result.”
Neuville Shares Secrets of Success in Seven-Part Series
After establishing his record of 23 consecutive EPT main events, Neuville is now going to reveal the secrets that helped him do so in a seven-part strategy series published exclusively on PokerListings.com.
He explains his motivation:
“As a player I want to get the best possible results. But as a fan of poker, I also want to be part of its history.
"So I have to get involved and give back, and that means helping players and helping the game.
"The more players get better, the more players will love the game. And the more players that love the game, the better it is for the game in the long run.
“I want to give something back to the game that has given me so much. And this means more to me than winning a tournament.”
For the future, Neuville isn't just aiming for personal success. He's also convinced that poker will reach new levels.
“One day," he says and smiles, “poker will be part of the Olympics.”
Read the Pierre Neuville strategy series exclusively on PokerListings starting today. Click through to the strategy section for Part 1 here.
Read more about Pierre Neuville on his website www.pierre-neuville.com.