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Generation Next - Lefrancois on Living the Dream

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Nov 01, 2010

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Almost every poker player dreams of winning a World Series of Poker event. Most never will. Some simply wish for the opportunity to go deep. Again, many might not. How about if you won a WSOP event and then went super deep in, say, the main event, all in the same Series? Well, that’s what 23-year-old Pascal Lefrancois did. The hockey-loving, finance student from Quebec, Canada took down event no.8, a $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament for $568,974, and then came excruciatingly close to the November Nine, exiting the main event in 11th place for $635,000. Every now and then a player comes along and there is something exciting about them. Full Tilt obviously thought so too as they have signed him up as a Red Pro. He now takes to the international circuit to see what further damage he can do.

Rebecca McAdam: Do you want to play poker professionally full-time now or what is your plan?

Pascal Lefrancois: To be honest, I don’t have a clear and definite plan for the future. In the very short term, I want to travel and play poker around the world and I don’t see myself quitting poker. I feel like I have accomplished a lot but I know I can still have very good results. The most important thing is that I still enjoy the game. I also want to graduate soon so I plan to start my last semester this winter or next September. After, I will decide if I’ll continue as a professional poker player or if I want to keep it more as a sideline.

RM: How did you get into poker?

PL: I’ve been playing poker for five years, and more seriously for three-and-a-half years. I started playing in my friend’s basement with hockey teammates just for fun and I immediately enjoyed the game.

RM: What is it about it you like?

PL: The first thing I like about it is the competition that you get involved in when you play. I also like the psychological part of poker (guessing which level of thinking your opponent is on for example). Another thing that I like is that you can fix your own schedule when you do this as a job.

RM: Did you start online or live? What stakes and games do you play?

PL: I started live, but I really improved online. I spent a lot more time playing online than live in my poker career. I play several times a week online. I play live more occasionally and only when there are big tournaments such as the WSOP. The number of hours per week that I spend on my computer on the poker tables varies a lot but I think my average is 15-20 hours. I have also been playing online cash games for one year. I play from $2-$4 to $5-$10 no-limit hold’em. The buy-ins of the tournaments I enter are between $50 and $10,000.

RM: How would you describe your style?

PL: Describing your style is always tough for a poker player in my opinion but I have to say that I’m pretty aggressive. If the table is weak, I will try to “abuse” my opponent and I will open almost every pot when people fold to me (especially when there are antes). If I have good players on my left, I will try to pick my spots and I will usually play tight.

RM: What was your biggest result up to this year’s WSOP?

PL: My biggest win was a Sunday warm-up on PokerStars for $101,250. One month before this year’s WSOP, I also won the $1,000 Super Tuesday on Stars for $69,500. I didn’t have a big finish live before this year.

RM: What was the experience of winning a WSOP event like?

PL: In my opinion, winning a bracelet is the biggest accomplishment possible for a poker player. It’s like winning the Stanley cup I guess! The feeling is even better because it’s live and the WSOP events are very big. At the end of the tournament, you feel exhausted but when the tournament director gives you the bracelet, you can’t feel better.

RM: What’s the story behind your shirtless winner’s photograph?

PL: I think people asked me this question at least 1,000 times! It was an inside joke with my friends. They were all wearing the same very low cut V-neck for the last day of the event to make me laugh because it’s not their usual style. When I won, I took off my hoodie and I was wearing my lucky v-neck underneath (another inside joke!) and a woman shouted “take it off, come on” so I just look at my friends that were cheering for me to take it off and I was excited so I just did it to make them laugh and to thank them for supporting me for a long time.

RM: Do you think winning an event had an impact on how deep you went in the main event?

PL: Obviously, I would have been more nervous if I never went deep before. I didn’t have very much experience in big live tournaments before this year’s WSOP, so winning an event before the main really helped me when we were getting deep.

RM: Did you play against many of the November Nine?

PL: I played against most of them since I finished 11th. I played with everyone except John Racener and Michael Mizrachi.

RM: What would your prediction be?

PL: I think Jonathan Duhamel is going to take it down. He has a ton of chips and he’s playing very well. He has an aggressive style and he’s going to put a lot of pressure on the other players. Joseph Cheong and John Dolan are also very solid. I played with them the last day and I also like their chances.

RM: Did you learn anything from this year’s WSOP? What has the win done for you?

PL: I learned what the feeling was to win a WSOP event! I also experienced the situation of being deep in the biggest poker tournament that you can play in. I want to continue to improve every area of my game. Even if you have success, you always have to look to improve if you want to keep an edge on your opponents. I signed as a Full Tilt Red Pro after the main event which is a very big accomplishment for me.

RM: What have you been doing since your win?

PL: I haven’t played much poker since the WSOP. I wanted to take a break and I spent my time with my friends and family. I also went on a Euro-trip with my friends for one month in August. I’m looking forward to playing a couple of events at the WSOPE and on the EPT. I want to play a lot of tournaments around the world in the next year, and obviously to win a couple of big events! I also want to continue playing online tournaments and cash games. ♠