Interview With Bruno Fitoussi

There are few poker players in the world as instantly recognisable as partypokers French ambassador Bruno Fitoussi, the 60-year old with the mop of unruly curly hair boasting over $3million in tournament earnings and a resume that includes the World Heads-Up Poker Championship title.

By: Andrew Burnett

HighStakesDB caught up with the proud Parisienne and quizzed him on poker matters old and new, what tempts him to take to the tables nowadays and the secret of eternal youth!

Q: You are one of the most recognisable stars of poker in France – do you get recognised outside the poker community also?

Fortunately, not anymore. There was a time that it happened when I was presenting and commentating poker TV shows.

Q: You have played with legends of the game such as Amarillo Slim, Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson, as well as modern stars of the game – how do the two groups compare?

Not much difference and a lot at the same time between the old and the new generation of poker players.

Not much because it is always about making money and having a life as nice as possible and successful poker players are still a melting pot of independence, freedom, intelligence and luck. But also a lot because times have changed.

The game has become tougher, more ungrateful, more hazardous and surrounded by a more and more pernickety regulation.



Q: Do you have any memorable stories from the ‘old school’ days?

I do remember one day in the Rio corridor during the WSOP when Doyle and Amarillo were racing in electric wheelchairs supported by a cheering crowd of poker players making bets on the race result.

I remember Devil Fish singing and playing piano at the Aviation Club de France restaurant during the European Poker Awards Ceremony.

I remember also that now famous final heads-up of the Grand Prix de Paris at the ACF where my two good friends Tony G and Surinder Sunar were battling under WPT cameras … and there have been many others in the past 40 years.

Q: You have come very close to a WSOP bracelet on a number of occasions; including just last year…do you still see yourself winning one someday? What would it mean to you?

Well, being 2001 WHUPC champion and 3 times runner-up at the WSOP does not go together I suppose. Lol. That’s poker and I’ve learned through the years the variance and how the game can be frustrating.

I only play a dozen WSOP events per year but I would obviously be happy to win a bracelet or two one of those days. Anyone want to bet..?

Q: partypoker make you big boss for the day – what do you do?

I surely know that this is a very delicate question because I used to be the boss. First, I don’t have all pieces of the puzzle. Second, you can’t do much in one day. But that said, I would try my best to make sure that the good persons (those with empathy, honesty and abilities) are the ones surrounding me in the company.

Q: What are the ‘must-play’ events on the Live tour for you?

Paris is the future! For now, Bahamas for the Caribbean Poker Party. But I also can’t wait to go to Playground in Montreal where I haven’t been yet for Millions North America.

Q: You have plenty of interests outside of poker – does this make it easier to stay around for longer in poker? What would it take for you to retire from the game?

I retired from playing poker professionally a long time ago. I love to play but only in a good environment. Casino surrounding, quality players at the table and good services are essentials for me to enjoy playing now.

Q: Is running a business like you do with your consulting company VIP Gaming easier than playing poker? Do the two have cross-over skills?

Both activities require you to be smart, a lot of work, patience and long term vision, as well as pragmatism and psychologic abilities. But more than anything, luck, which is the only thing that, as far as I know, you unfortunately can’t control!

Q: Music has been a big part of your life – which genre/artists appeal to you nowadays?

I’m very eclectic with my musical choices but I still listen to my standards: Bowie, Fela, Pink Floyd, Arcade Fire, Antony and the Johnsons and also some French music with Eddy de Pretto, Chaton, Julien Doré.

Q: You turned 60 last year but appear/act a much younger man – what’s your secret?

Thank you! Must be my genes ☺ and maybe because I do sleep a lot!

Q: Finally, you get to invite 5 players from any era to join you at your home game – who gets the nod? And who wins and why?

Five old friends that I used to play poker with when we were young: Sam, Willy, Pascal and Dom … It’s an “every one’s a winner” game because it is not about money it’s about friendship.

In typical French fashion, Bruno’s eclectic approach to life and what is important sets him apart from the modern robo-pros.

You can catch him in action when partypoker MILLIONS North America descends on the Playground Poker Club in Quebec from 17th – 27th May, with a $5million GTD the Main Event the second biggest draw behind Bruno!

You can keep up to date with Bruno's blog pieces on his blog here.

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