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Generation Next -- Julien Brecard

Brecard Breaks Poker Boundaries

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Aug 01, 2010

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Julien BrecardYou could bet your bottom dollar that ninety-five percent of the people you meet in the poker media are players of some form or another. A love for the game has led many to the industry, whether as a player, reporter, journalist, or one of the many other cogs of the wheel that help to keep the business going. Many people in the media often end up trying their hand at the big time, but it is not every day you see a colleague having success on the other side of the rail. Frenchman Julien Brecard is doing just that, and Card Player wanted to find out how he got there.

Rebecca McAdam: You recently moved from poker media to poker pro. Tell me how you got there.

Julien Brecard: I was hired by Everest Poker about six years ago to be their events co-ordinator for France and I did that for more than two and a half years. Then I had the opportunity to be the manager of the Dream Team so I was taking care of them for about eight months and then I was contacted by Winamax to take care of the sponsored players, one of the best European teams. I spent one year with them and we had a lot of success. It was a good time.

Then I went to Vegas last summer and I wanted to play a little bit because I had learned so many things from those guys. It was so successful — in the first tournament I made a deal with three left in the Venetian for $50k, then I had my first cash in the World Series of Poker in a small event. I was still working, it was a very weird period — I had like $50,000 in my pocket and I had to go to work the day after. But I think I did my job quite well. And then in the end we had the main event and all the guys from the team told me that I had to play because I was playing good and I was really on a rush. I played and I finished in the top 100 and that was so nice because I had all the guys from the media sweating me. And I can say today that that was one of the best experiences in my whole life.

In the end I had to choose if I wanted to stay working or go play. It took a while for me to make the decision, maybe six months. And I’ve just recently had the confirmation that PokerStars want to sponsor me as a Team Pro. So, now I think the decision has been made (laughs). I’m going to be on the circuit for the next season, which starts in Vegas. I don’t know how long but I want to take the shot for the next two or three years and see what I can get from poker, and if I’m not as successful as I imagine I can go back to work and it will be an experience.

RM: It must be strange for you now to almost be in purgatory, somewhere between being a player and working in poker?

JB: Well, it’s tough to go to an event when I’m not playing, for example in Monte Carlo I had to work. So it’s quite difficult to enter a poker room and see all the players. I mean I am part of them right now, so it’s tough. But I take profit from it as I spend so much time watching the tables because I’ve so many things to learn. It’s better when you’re not involved in hands, I mean you can think about the hands with a very objective angle.

RM: So you’re getting a read on people for when you are actually playing them?

JB: Yeah actually that’s one of my skills right now because I know pretty much all of them and the edge I’ve got is that they don’t really know how I play. I’m not the best technical player, I know I’ve so many things to learn, but I do have some qualities because of my background in the poker industry. I know pretty much all the situations in tournaments, for example the first time at the World Series during the bubble in the $10,000 event. It was the first time I was playing but I’ve lived that situation so many times in the past, I knew what I had to do. I’m a young player poker-wise but I think I have a lot more experience than other players.

RM: Do you play online?

JB: Yeah I try to play online because I know that I have a lack of technique so I need to improve my game. I have to say I’m not really as successful online because I’m not as technical as those guys. Now I’m playing big events it’s tough to play a $10 tournament online, so I used to play $200+ events and all the best players in the world are playing those ones. But I always did that, I tried to practice and learn in the most difficult situation because if it’s too easy I will never learn anything.

RM: Where did the interest in poker come from initially?

JB: I discovered poker seven years ago when I was living in the south of France alone. I left my girlfriend because I had to be there for one year with my job and she was living in Paris, so every evening I didn’t know what to do. I started to play online, freerolling, for maybe six months, and my goal at this time was that I would never ever put a cent online until I won a freeroll, and as soon as I would do that I would put like $10 or $20 on. Finally I won one of them and put $10 on.

Around then I started working in the industry and learning the game differently with some pro players; watching them, talking about the hands, asking a lot of questions, and listening to them talking about hands during the break and at the end of the day.

RM: Lots of inside information then.

JB: Yeah and just by listening, I mean I know I’m not a genius but I tried to redo the same thing that they did and apparently it worked. So I thought why not learn more just by listening to them, but now I’m reading a lot of books and watching a lot of videos because I know I have one more step to pass. Now that I’m turning pro I will have a lot of time to improve my game and to play with ElkY (Bertrand Grospellier) and Arnaud Mattern, I’m really close to them.

RM: How are you finding the life as a poker player now, do you like it?

JB: I like the poker industry but I don’t really like being lazy all day long and the fact that you have to play. I like to go on the circuit and play live events but at this time I’m not really happy to play online just as a job, but it will come, as soon as I am winning every time online I will love it.

RM: Will you play a lot of WSOP events?

JB: My budget for the WSOP is $35,000 but I will play a lot of Venetian deepstack events as well because there is so much value, more than the WSOP. Media-wise the WSOP is good, but it’s too tough, the fields are so big, so I prefer to play smaller events as it’s easier to achieve first place. The thing is every time I go to Vegas I win a tournament, so I hope that this time it will be the same. Spade Suit