Online poker room Titan Poker player Olivier Lombard is counting his blessings that a weekend trip around Africa did not end up costing him half a million dollars, thanks to a last minute decision that irrevocably changed the course of his life. It’s an intriguing series of near misses and close encounters that brought the 23 year-old to the final $2,500,000 GP tournament table on Sunday 7th September, culminating in his hard-won triumph in the early hours of Monday morning after fourteen consecutive hours of tournament play.
Olivier has quite a story, considering he won his seat to the September 7th tournament just four days before in a qualifying tournament he ‘nearly forgot’ to play in. After redeeming a free token to the last $2,500,000 Satellite, the French player finished a top five seat winner. Suddenly faced with the last minute dilemma of whether to reschedule his holiday or take part in the monumental tournament, he did what any true poker enthusiast would do. The trip came to an abrupt end and Olivier took his seat at the table on Sunday evening – via remote internet access from Senegal.
The Civil Engineer from France, otherwise known as player ‘axp15′ had already forged a formidable reputation as a cash table player after a year of playing at Titan Poker, but relatively little was known of the newcomer’s tournament strategy. Using the element of surprise to his advantage, the young player emerged from the wings triumphant over his more experienced opponents. Olivier readily admits ‘I was extremely lucky. You almost always need a lot of tournament experience to win such huge events.’
Arriving at the final table on Monday morning, the Titan Poker player recalls ‘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. Lady Luck also made an appearance at two key points in the tournament and thankfully turned the cards in my favor at the River’.
Olivier stuck to his guns through fourteen hours of grueling ups and downs and finished number one out of a total 1596 players who competed on the day. Currently on a work contract in Africa, the 23 year-old will return to France half a million dollars richer, and en route to his very first home.
His winning tenacity and determination is evident in his final words of advice to other players. ‘Never give up’ he says to other tournament hopefuls. ‘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.’
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