After a couple of near misses in several events this World Series of Poker, French players are moving en masse to the Main Event. We spoke to French player and poker professional Paul Tedeschi on his love for the heroes he grew up watching from his homeland and who might carry the French flag in the Main Event.
“When I started playing poker, I only played only online," Tedeschi says. "I didn’t have too much of an idea of the French stars in poker. David Benyamine played a lot at the highest cash game limits online, however. 'ElkY' is one of the most successful players in the world and our most successful players ever. It’s great to have a French representative who plays the most prestigious tournaments in the world, such as the Big One for One Drop. He made a lot of French players dream of playing at his level, including me.”
Tedeschi’s own 2017 World Series has not gone to plan so far, with him cashing in less than 10% of the tournaments he’s played. Variance it may be, but he wants to make sure he cashes the Main Event.
“I come every year for the World Series. This summer I’ve only cashed twice out of 25 tournaments, which isn’t the best start. I’m only playing the Main, that’ll be my last event in Vegas. It’s the last event of the World Series for me and I’m really excited about playing it, like every year.”
"Everybody knows everybody in the French poker community and there’s a great sense of solidarity.”
Despite powering to many late runs in the last three years, no French player has won a WSOP bracelet since Hugo Pingray took down the 2014 Monster Stack event, winning over $1.3 million by ousting 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen heads-up. Pingray battled his way through 7,861 other players that tournament. No French player has gotten there since.
“Many Frenchmen make some final tables, with second place finished, but nobody won a bracelet for three years. Maybe we’re bad!" he joked. "It’s variance of course, but one player who could win one this summer is Ivan Deyra. I think he can have a great Main Event and a French player can win a WSOP bracelet.”
Deyra is certainly the most in-form French player, with cashes in four events so far this World Series, cashing for $53,000 in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em/Pot Limit Omaha 8 Handed event, as well as three other no-limit hold’em events. Deyra is also a member of Tedeschi’s stable, Onpok, something Tedeschi is very passionate about.
“Onpok is a brand that was created by Guy Pariente, who sponsors poker players at most of the world's biggest poker tournament. With Onpok Health, in association with the laboratory Nustyl, we offer a wide range of food supplements which have been made specifically to respond to poker players needs. The products are even on sale at the booth during the WSOP at the Rio.”
Deyra has run to the final four tables of WSOP events on three occasions this summer and Tedeschi makes a strong prediction that if Deyra does make the Main Event final table, there will be plenty of French players and supporters on the rail.
“We have many players on the rail. Everybody knows everybody in the French poker community and there’s a great sense of solidarity.”
"I turn my phone off for the Main Event. There are so many amateurs; you can catch so many tells, you have to be focused.”
The Main Event is a chance for everyone to save their summer. Tedeschi thinks that applied directly to his own summer in Sin City, and is prepared for the kick-off.
“Every time the Main Event arrives, I’m excited to play. It’s the only tournament I arrive at the start for I late register all the other WSOP events. I turn my phone off for the Main Event, though. There are so many amateurs; you can catch so many tells, you have to be focused.”
Tedeschi or another of his Onpok teammates may be the player to break the French drought. Maybe Ivan Deyra could fly the Tricolore flag in the Rio. Whoever runs deep from France, they are guaranteed a raucous rail to cheer on the possibility of a WSOP bracelet after such a long wait.
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