With COVID-19 restrictions in place all through almost all of Europe, there wasn’t anyplace for Arthur Conan to play a reside poker match. Since there have been restricted choices for the 24-year-old Frenchman, he determined to make the trek throughout the Atlantic to South Florida to play within the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood. The collection was big, with the $3,500 World Poker Tour primary occasion drawing 2,482 gamers to set the file for the biggest discipline in tour historical past, almost quadrupling the $2 million assure.
But regardless of the large fields, it was Conan who stood out, making fairly the impression throughout his keep within the Sunshine State.
In the span of a couple of week, Conan received $855,355. His first was an outright win within the $50,000 Super High Roller occasion for $733,320. And he adopted that up with a deep run in the primary occasion, taking tenth place for $111,035. The two monster scores greater than doubled his profession earnings, which now sit simply shy of $1.6 million.
That’s fairly a formidable résumé for a 24-year-old, particularly within the fashionable age of poker with competitors ranges at an all-time excessive. Despite his age, nonetheless, Conan isn’t precisely new to the sport. He’s been taking part in since he was a teen.
“I started playing poker at 18, but I knew the rules before that,” stated Conan. “My father played a little bit and my brother was playing. So, I started playing with my family, and then moved online.”
Arthur’s brother Marius, who is 2 years youthful, can also be fairly a participant. In truth, the youthful Conan bested his brother at a 2017 WPT DeepStacks High Roller occasion in Cannes. The two siblings completed heads-up to take residence the vast majority of the prize pool.
Online poker was the place Conan reduce his tooth, nonetheless. But due to European playing legal guidelines that enable 18-year-olds to play in casinos, it was a reside occasion that triggered Conan to start out grinding on a full-time foundation. In July 2015, Conan hopped within the France Poker Series €1,100 no-limit maintain’em primary occasion. Even with minimal expertise underneath his belt on the time, particularly at these stakes, Conan made the ultimate desk and completed fourth for €45,000.
“I played, but I wasn’t playing a lot,” stated Conan about his poker profession on the time. “I started playing poker professionally soon after that score. About two or three months later, I started playing for a living. That was one of my first tournaments, so it was a very important score for me at that point.”
Conan continued to focus most of his time on on-line tournaments, whereas taking part in the occasional reside occasion. He was nonetheless discovering his approach across the poker panorama and even switched his most well-liked recreation sort a number of occasions earlier than lastly discovering a consolation zone.
“I started with tournaments at the beginning of my career, and then I switched to cash games after about a year and a half,” stated Conan. “After about another year and a half, maybe two years, I switched back to online tournaments, and now I only play tournaments online. I’ll play some cash games live, but mostly tournaments.”
Since he bought his begin on the digital felt, Conan’s transition to the reside area, from a fundamentals perspective, was very simple. In Conan’s eyes, the sport was very completely different, however gamers that performed predominantly reside poker lacked a technical understanding that he amassed after a whole lot of 1000’s of fingers performed.
“I found it to be easier than online for the same buy-in levels,” he stated. “But the game was so different online instead of live. It wasn’t necessarily easier, but it was very different.”
For the primary three years of his skilled poker profession, Conan stayed in Europe. He wasn’t 21 but, so it could be unlawful for him to play at most match stops within the States. But he developed right into a stable reg at European stops and put collectively a constant stretch of deep runs and wins.
In 2018, nonetheless, he was lastly sufficiently old to make his first journey to Las Vegas and play a full schedule on the World Series of Poker.
“I was very, very excited to go to the WSOP in Vegas,” stated Conan. “I had just turned 21, so I wanted to go play as much as I could. I stayed for the whole series and it was very good. I didn’t have a bunch of scores, but it was very fun.”
Conan made one deep run at his first summer season collection, ending fifteenth within the $888 Crazy Eights no-limit maintain’em occasion, including one other $34,577 to his bankroll.
“It was my deepest run at a WSOP event to this point and it was very exciting,” he stated. “But at the end of it, it finished quite bad. I lost a huge pot as a big favorite, so it was hard. But after, it was okay. I had to go to other tournaments the day after, so that’s it. That’s just how the game goes sometimes.”
While he didn’t wish to admit that it was simpler to play reside tournaments in Europe than it was on-line, he did say that the American fields had been significantly softer than the fields he had encountered earlier than.
“I had heard from the other Europeans that it was going to be easier,” stated Conan. “I do think it was a little bit easier than Europe.”
After his first stint in Las Vegas, Conan took his recreation to the following stage. He earned his first money in a €5,000 buy-in occasion at a cease in Barcelona and was constantly taking part in larger buy-ins from that time ahead.
In 2019, it was extra of the identical. He put up stable, constant outcomes, together with a win within the WPT DeepStacks Marrakech primary occasion for $83,918. But he had but to make an enormous, career-changing rating. He spent his second summer season in Las Vegas for the WSOP after which went again to Europe for the remainder of the yr earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on most reside poker tournaments in 2020.
“During the pandemic, I had fewer distractions,” stated Conan. “I moved to London, so I just played more than I used to play and moved my entire grind online. I just played for eight months straight online with a lot of volume during that time.”
Conan racked up 10 cashes through the on-line WSOP amid his grind. But finally, the urge to play reside poker was too nice and he determined to go away London and head to the U.S.
Crossing borders throughout a pandemic wasn’t the best course of for him and his buddy and journey mate Sonny Franco, who completed fourth within the $3,500 WPT primary occasion for $438,500.
“We had to do two weeks outside Europe,” stated Conan. “We couldn’t travel directly to the U.S. from Europe, so we did two weeks in Morocco beforehand. Then we took the flight from Morocco to New York, and then to Miami from there.”
Ultimately, the method was so cumbersome that he doesn’t assume many overseas professionals will make the trek to America till after border guidelines are relaxed.
“It’s a bit complicated to come, so I don’t think many European pros are going to do the same,” stated Conan. “For the WSOP (scheduled for October), of course there will be Europeans, but I think it might be reopened by then.”
Once Conan bought to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, he began taking part in stakes he had by no means tried earlier than. One of the primary occasions he registered for was the $50,000 Super High Roller no-limit maintain’em occasion. While he had by no means performed a match with this massive of a buy-in earlier than, he did have some expertise taking part in high-stakes reside tournaments.
“This was my first $50K buy-in,” Conan admitted. “I had already played the $25K [PokerStars Players Championship] two years ago, but this was my first $50K. I was a bit nervous to play, but after a few hours of play, it was okay.”
He navigated his approach by means of the 42-entry discipline and secured a spot on the last desk. He was joined by a number of high-stakes regulars, together with runner-up Sam Soverel, Christopher Brewer, Seth Davies, Sean Winter, and Jeremy Ausmus.
The last desk was not at all smooth, however the absence of a number of the high-profile worldwide professionals that usually play these stakes made Conan extra comfy than he would usually count on to be on the last desk.
“All the best American pros were in the field, and the pros from Canada and Europe that are used to playing these types of events were not there,” he stated. “So, I think the field was quite soft [for a $50K], but still tough.”
It was something however clean crusing on the last desk for Conan. With 4 gamers left, he determined to run a large bluff on Davies, who was one of many high two stacks. It didn’t finish properly.
“He raised pretty small from the small blind and I called from the big blind with 9-7 offsuit,” recalled Conan. “The flop came Q-10-6 with a flush draw. He bet two-thirds [the size of the pot] and I called. The turn was a jack, which brought a backdoor flush draw. He bet the turn, but it was very small. I raised and he called. The river was a blank, but it brought the front door flush draw in. He checked, and I [moved] all in, except one big blind. He tanked and called me with two pair.”
The failed bluff left Conan with only a single 25,000-denomination chip value only a one massive blind, and he was going to be pressured to commit half of it within the small blind on the very subsequent hand. Given the state of affairs, he was clearly the odds-on favourite to complete fourth and earn $203,700.
What ensued subsequent, nonetheless, was one of many biggest comebacks in latest poker reminiscence. Conan quadrupled up the very subsequent hand from the small blind, and doubled up once more a number of fingers later. Before he knew it, he had turned that single chip right into a 20-big blind stack.
“I think I had some hope when I got to 10 big blinds,” stated Conan. “So after two or three double ups, I knew it was possible to win again. When I had only one blind, I knew I was almost out.”
Brewer ended up eliminating Davies in fourth, and Conan despatched Brewer packing in third, leaving simply Soverel standing in his approach. Conan finally received a flip with pocket fives in opposition to Soverel’s Okay-9 to complete the job and take residence the $733,320 first-place prize.
But he wasn’t finished but. The day after his victory within the Super High Roller, Conan jumped within the $3,500 primary occasion. He performed one other a number of days, navigating his approach by means of the large discipline, and earlier than he knew it, he was making a run at a second consecutive last desk.
“I had a lot of confidence in the main [event] after that win,” stated Conan. “I just played my game… and looked what happened.”
What occurred was one other deep run and finally a tenth-place end after he misplaced a flip along with his A-Q in opposition to Erik Cajelais and his pocket jacks. He picked up one other $111,035 for his efforts.
“I think that [the money] can be a boost to keep playing those high buy-in events,” stated Conan about his newly padded bankroll. “But I’m undecided if I’m going to play all of them simply due to the rating. I’ll positively play extra of the $10,000 buy-ins. The cash doesn’t change my profession quite a bit, but it surely’s good to have the increase and [get some attention] from the media.
With an inflated bankroll, Conan left South Florida, however didn’t fly again to France. Instead, he determined to move west to Las Vegas, the place he’ll proceed to tackle the reside circuit for an additional few months as Aria, Venetian, and Wynn all plan on internet hosting match collection by means of the summer season.
“I’m going to play some $10Ks and maybe some $25Ks at Aria,” stated Conan.
Look out excessive rollers, Arthur Conan has arrived.
Photo Credits: World Poker Tour/PokerGO/Seminole Hard Rock