Olivier Busquet, known as livb112 and adonis112 online, sat down with us after his World Poker Tour Borgata win to discuss how he got his poker start, the Borgata tournament, and who he thinks are the best sit-n-go players online.
What have you been up to since your win at Borgata?
To be honest, I’ve been moving more than anything else. I’m moving into a house in Bedford with my girlfriend. We’re really excited about that, but it’s a lot of work.
Tell me a little bit about getting heads-up with Jeremy Brown.
When we started I had about 8 million in chips and the blinds might have been 100,000/200,000 so I had 40 big blinds. He won a majority of the first few pots and then the blinds went up and I was down to 1.4 or 1.6 million, so he ended up having a 20 to 1 chip advantage.
What was going through your head when you realized he had such a large chip advantage over you? Did you think you could win the tournament at that point?
The funny thing is, what I do online mostly is play heads-up sit-n-goes. So at every point during the heads-up match, I had a really good feeling for where I was at and what I needed to do to come back. So I never thought, “Oh this is impossible, I can’t come back.” When I was down in chips, I realized I would have to win a few double-ups to give myself a chance again, so I knew I was going to have to hit some cards or avoid some cards and I did both of those things.
Was there a Huge celebration after you won? Popping bottles and all that?
No, not at all actually. Right after I won I went over and hugged my girlfriend and my friends that were there and then I was standing by myself for a minute or two and I was trying to take it all in. It was a surreal moment for me. It was really special and a really important moment for me.
After the interviews and everything, we just went home. We were dealing with moving the next day and we didn't really celebrate at all. I did promise my girlfriend that if I won I would take her on a trip and it has to be a nonpoker-related trip so I can't bring my computer or anything like that. I think we’re going to go to Paris in the next month or so.
There must have been some extravagant purchases?
I haven't bought anything yet. In terms of the money itself, I’m going to buy my girlfriend a ring and propose and the rest of the money I'm going to save and invest and eventually try to buy the house we’re moving in to right now that we’re renting.
How did you get your start in poker?
The first time I played, I played a home game with a friend of mine from high school and middle school. I wasn't very good and the guys were pretty confident and aggressive and I was a little bit intimidated but it piqued my interest. Then someone I worked with told me I could play on the Internet and from there I got an account on PartyPoker and eventually on Full Tilt and that's where I really learned how to play.
Did you read any books or search any forums while you were learning?
The high stakes no-imit forum on Two Plus Two was my main reading for six months. I read every single thing that was written in that forum and that really provided me with a foundation. That combined with the experience of playing a ton of hands created the foundation for me to figure out the basics and then put my own stamp on it.
When I started playing sit-n-goes, the game kind of hadn't been figured out yet and it's starting to get more and more figured out, but because it's heads-up, there’s more creativity involved. I don't think there is gonna be a way to figure it out to the extent of how Cardrunners has made 6-max cash games pretty difficult to beat. I think it's gonna take a little bit more for that to happen for heads-up sit-n-goes.
Why did you choose heads-up sit-n-goes as your specialty over cash games or multitable tournaments online?
I really like the concept of playing heads-up in terms of the competitive aspect of it. I play tennis, I used to run track and I’ve always thrived in competitive environments where I was depending solely on myself. I prefer the tournament aspect to cash because there is a definitive end to a tournament. In a cash game, it's kind of like this never-ending game that just kind of repeats itself. One way to look at all your cash game sessions is like one really long session.
Tournaments, however, aren't like that. You play until one guy wins and then you start all over so you have short-term goals that you’re always going for. That was something that helped me from a strategic standpoint.
I like multitable tournaments but there were two things I didn't like about them. When you're an MTT grinder online you're like a slave to the schedule. You can choose which tournaments you play and don't play, but other than that you play in the tournament and if you go deep you have to be at your computer for 6, 8, 10 even 14 hours at a time and if you do that on a daily basis you could spend tons of time on your computer and have very little to show for it because if you don't place in the top, you’re not making a lot of money. Then, there's the variance aspect of tournaments. You can get some momentum and you can run good in a few tournaments, then you can have this long lull period where you get close but you never make it, you bust out or get coolered and you don't make much money for a very long time. So as for sit-n-goes, you’re able to iron out variance much easier and much more consistently.
What are your thoughts when you look at your SharkScope graph?
Actually, I thought the graph was a little sicker 8,000 games ago. My run-up to the original time that I hit one million, that graph was really sick. Then I hit a semi break-even stretch for like 4,000 - 5,000 hands during a time that I was transitioning to PokerStars and I was running bad and I was playing one guy who was actually giving me some problems at the time, so now when I look at the graph I focus on that break-even stretch more that I do anything else.
My PokerStars numbers in some ways aren't better, but I look at them as more realistic going forward because the Full Tilt graph had a ton of me coming up in the stakes and most of the games on PokerStars were after I was established. One of the numbers I look at is profit per game so I can get a sense of how much money I'm expecting to make based on the amount of volume that I put in and those numbers are much more accurate based on PokerStars graph than they are on the Full Tilt one. So on PokerStars, $90 a game on average is a number I'm really comfortable with but on Full Tilt the number is less than $50 because of all the volume I put in at lower stakes.
Who are the three best heads-up sit-n-go players online?
One of my best friends, Adam [Ewenstein] who is Skilled_sox online, is either the best or he and I are the two best and we don't play each other anymore so it doesn't really matter who's better between the two of us. Yevgeniy Timoshenko might be one of the best if not the best all-around players period. He plays heads-up sit-n-goes and he’s extremely tough. There was a time a couple of years ago when some of the best players were Dario Minieri and stevesbets but I think as the game evolved they didn't adjust their game well enough to keep up. I think they’re still good but not at the elite level that they were.
What is the longest session you’ve ever played online?
It was probably back when I was still playing cash games. This was when I was still working, too, if you can believe it. One weekend I got home at like 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon and I played straight until Sunday morning at like 3 or 4. Probably like a 40-hour session.
What are five words that describe you at the poker table?
Aggressive, analytical, alert, thoughtful, and unpredictable.
What is your next tournament stop?
Festa al Lago at the Bellagio.
If you could play poker with five people dead or alive who would they be?
Phil Ivey, that would be like playing poker with God. Stu Ungar, Phil Helmuth, Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Mike Matusow.
Congratulations on your win at Borgata, Olivier, and good luck at Festa al Lago!
Photo courtesy of Borgata Blog.