Poker News

Poker pro Olivier Busquet, a high-stakes heads-up sit and go expert, recently took down the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Borgata Poker Open, mounting a comeback of epic proportions after being down 20:1 in chips to Jeremy Brown with a $925,000 first place prize on the line. Busquet sat down with Poker News Daily to recap the comeback.

Poker News Daily: Talk about mounting a comeback of epic proportions at the WPT Borgata Poker Open over Jeremy Brown.

Busquet: Anytime you’re down 20:1 or anything like that, you have to won coin flips or cooler people in some sense. Chips are bound to get in the middle and your opponent will definitely have outs. I ran well in the all-in pots, which is critical when my chips are on the line. I tried to focus on keeping the pots relatively small pre-flop. I didn’t limp that much because there’s a lot of equity in the game to someone folding to a pre-flop raise. Jeremy had a tendency to polarize his ranges. I had to win with J-7 offsuit versus Q-9 all-in. I flopped the nuts against top pair. I had to avoid flush and straight draws on the last hand.

PND: Did you ever feel like winning the tournament was out of reach?

Busquet: If someone had pulled me aside and asked me if I was going to win, I would have said probably not. When I’m playing, though, I don’t think in those terms. I think of what I’m dealt and the situation I’m in. I was actually fortunate in that I play one-on-one tournaments all the time. In heads-up sit and gos, there are 3,000 chips in play and in the Borgata there were 30 million. Every kind of situation I encountered in terms of the number of chips and blinds, I had been in that situation tens of thousands of times before. Being down to 1.4 million was like being down to like 140 chips in a heads-up sit and go.

PND: You were a sizable chip leader entering the final table. Was it frustrating seeing Jeremy Brown eliminate three people and build his stack?

Busquet: I don’t have a ton of experience being a big chip leader in a tournament. When I wasn’t the chip leader, I was just adjusting to stack size changes. I wasn’t reacting emotionally to the sense that I could lose the tournament. Instead, I was thinking of how the change in stacks changes my optimal strategy. There are so many things out of your control. I didn’t have the illusion that I was going to stay the chip leader from wire to wire.

PND: How did you get started in poker?

Busquet: A friend of mine from high school brought me to an old friend’s house. I never really played and walked into a room with young 20 year-old, confident kids and was intimated. I ended up losing money and that piqued my interest a bit. A kid I was working with told me I could play online. My first account was on PartyPoker and then one of my doormen told me that Full Tilt was a better site. I made small deposit of $100 playing $1/$2 six-max cash. I played a bunch and read TwoPlusTwo a lot, especially the high-stakes No Limit threads. I essentially moved up in stakes from there.

PND: What were some of the biggest influences on your game coming up?

Busquet: TwoPlusTwo was probably the biggest. There was one kid who came to Full Tilt that I became friendly with, Dustin Dirksen. When he first started on Full Tilt, he played a style that threw a lot of people off. People were unsure whether he was a massive fish or crazy shark. We talked a little bit and I was more interested in the perception people had of him rather than the actual style he had. I also read “Super System” like other players did. The way that I came up was by trying to be my own player. I would try to think about situations in an original way. TwoPlusTwo allowed me to set a foundation. I learned the basic strategies and then, from that, I was able to leapfrog into my own way of playing.

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