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Tournament Trail Q and A -- Antony Lellouche

Chip Leader Speaks about Event so far, Sponsorship, Travelling, and his Problem with Day 2


Antony Lellouche has been doing France proud over the past few years on the live poker tournament circuit, particularly during season IV and V of the European Poker Tour. He excels on Euro turf and his talent can be clearly seen by looking at his recent finishes — sixth in season IV’s EPT London for $182,105, second in season IV’s EPT San Remo for $792,850, and most recently, eighth in this season’s EPT London for $143,039. He spoke to Card Player on day 1A of the EPT Polish Open, after hitting the top of the leader board with 57,000 chips. With such high hopes, and sheer determination to win some major tournaments, this young man is definitely one to watch in the future.

Antony LelloucheRebecca McAdam: Tell me about how your day went today.

Antony Lellouche: We began with 99 players, not a lot for an EPT. The first time for a long time that we have had so few people. Maybe tomorrow we’re going to have 150, so I think it’s a good spot to win an EPT more easily than other EPTs, and the skill level is less than usual. Polish guys are quite crazy. They raise, reraise, or go all in for 50 big blinds under the gun. So, maybe it’s going to be easier in this event — I’ve got 57k, I think I’m the top 10 in chips so I’m quite happy. Maybe it’s this tournament! I’m waiting for one!

RM: How did you get those chips?

AL: Well, on the second hand I had kings and I went all in preflop against a guy with aces, and I hit the king on the turn. I was put to shame. I was ready to go back to Paris, but no, I stayed there and went up to 20,000. So, just after that pot I went down again to 13,000, playing many hands, losing small pots. And then my job worked — by playing small pots I went up to 27/28 and I won a 12,000 pot (6,000 all-in from a small stack). He had tens, I had kings, heads up. And then I won quite a big pot against a good guy — I don’t know his name, he’s Spanish. He limped, I had nines, he had quite a big stack, so I limped in. Two players limped, and the flop came A-10-2 so I just had pocket nines. There was two clubs, everybody checked, and I checked. Nine comes on the turn, and he had deuces so I think I took about 12,000 from his stack and went up to about 55. I ended up at 57,000.

RM: That boost to your stack was late in the day then?

AL: Yeah, just in the last hour.

RM: Do you usually have a strategy or a plan at these events?

AL: It depends who is on my table, and the size of all the stacks. At one point, they all had very small stacks on my table, so I had to wait because I can’t play, I can’t bluff, you can’t make any moves against small stacks. And it worked quite good because I got kings, I got some good hands to play against small stacks, but you can’t do any ‘skilly’ things against small stacks.

RM: How would you describe the way you play?

AL: I play very loose and a little bit aggressive. I’m very loose, I play many hands. I love poker so I have to play. I can’t stand folding, folding … I can’t do it. I have to play many hands to play good, if I play tight I don’t play good. I don’t know, it’s just like that.

RM: Do you play many tournaments in America?

AL: No, very few. I don’t like playing at the Rio — I don’t like the crowd. It’s too big for me. So, maybe I’ll focus more on if I want to do something about changing my mind because winning a bracelet is quite good. I never win a tournament with a nice bracelet, no WPT, no EPTs, just small tournaments. So, let’s begin — first the EPT this week, and then summer, the bracelet.

RM: What do you think about the difference between how Americans and Europeans play?

AL: I don’t know. There was a big difference — Americans used to play better, but now Europeans — I don’t mean about Swedish and Danish, they are great players, they are better than Americans — but in Europe, the Spanish … west Europe now plays better than three years ago. They had to improve themselves at poker, but now they are beginning to play good poker. There is a difference this year, David Benyamine is number six in the player of the year, Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier is number two. So, French are coming on now.

RM: What is your main goal now then, to get a bracelet?

AL: No, I don’t care about the bracelets, and I don’t care about the trophies. My main goal is to win enough at poker to quit [laughs].

RM: Do you play online?Antony Lellouche

AL: Just small. I just started with my site, who is my sponsor, Winamax. So, I began this year to play online. I began very small. I used to play big live, I played 200/400 blinds in pot-limit Omaha. The rate is very different between online and live. So, I wanted to learn how to play online, but technically, there is a big difference — when you play four tables at the same time, it is very very different to playing one big table live. When I began, I played 10/10, then 20/20, now I play 50/50, and I’m winning. So, it’s ok.

RM: Do you like it better, or is live still your favourite?

AL: I prefer live. When you know how to play live, when you’re used to playing live, it’s much more fun. And when you play big, it’s more exciting.

RM: What are the main differences you’ve found between playing online and live?

AL: Online, there are a lot of trackers to use when you play. It’s very helpful. You don’t have this live. You have other things like tells, like watching people, hearing people, the patterns, you can memorise names easier live than online. I’m not good with trackers, I don’t understand anything about the trackers. I need to understand, so I’m going to ask Elky to teach me about them, because he’s the best. So, I need some courses.

RM: How did your sponsorship come about then?

AL: They contacted me. They asked me, “How much?” and then said, “Ok.”

RM: Where would be your favourite EPT destination?

AL: I think it’s Monte Carlo. The room is very nice, and the hotel is crazy also. Everything’s nice in Monte Carlo.

RM: Are you going to play many EPT events or do you choose which ones you’re going to play?

AL: I will play Prague. I don’t play the non-televised ones. I just played this one because my sponsor made a mistake. They registered me in it but I didn’t want to.

RM: What do you think about Poland?

AL: I’m 25 percent Polish, but I don’t know anything about Poland, so I’m quite ashamed about this. But I will tell you tomorrow because tomorrow I will get some time to myself to visit Warsaw.

RM: Do you usually get to go out and see the places you play in?

AL: When I bust the first day, but it depends on the weather. If it starts raining I go back to Paris but if it’s sunny I visit the city. Budapest is awesome. I’m in love with Prague. Prague is crazy, I’m going to Prague in December. It’s like an entire museum — all the city. But yeah, I like to visit the city I’m in.

RM: Usually when I see you playing, you always have a big stack very early on and then as time passes you seem to fall of the radar. What do you think goes wrong for you?

AL: I might be very good the first days when we are deep stacked, and maybe I have problems when … I don’t know … with the blinds … I don’t know why, it just gets kind of messed up. The second day is my biggest problem. If I go the third day, it’s ok.

RM: How are you going to work on this problem?

AL: I don’t know, it’s in my mind. Maybe with a coach? Maybe I don’t have any problem ... no, I know I have a problem, I just don’t know which one.

RM: How are you going to go about day 2?

AL: I have a big stack and when I have a big stack I feel more comfortable. I won’t have this problem, so, I’ll play more and more aggressive during the tournament.

RM: We’ll hopefully see you around then this time on day 3 and 4!

AL: Yeah, for sure!

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