Full-Ring Friends Series: 13_Xerxes

This interview just made me realise how much I have in common with Xerxes. Like him, the first time I came into contact with Hold ‘Em was watching Rounders in the late 90s, but it wasn’t until the WPT came out that I got into it. His primary motivation for grinding at the moment is to buy land and build a house and mine is the same. He has a supporting and understanding family much like myself and also shares my thoughts on game selection. I hope that he acheives his goal of getting his house, just so when I get around to visiting France, he can put me up for the night… That is, if my sit com idea doesn’t take off :p

Tell me a bit about your poker story, how you came to be involved in online poker and what made you choose full-ring no limit games.
The first time I have heard about Texas Hold’em is when I have watched “Rounders” on french TV (in 2003). But that was only in 2005 after I have seen World Poker Tour (with commentaries from French singer Patrick Bruel, lol) and began it (I am fond of intellectual video game, like Civilization, Football Manager or Ogame so the transition was easy).

I deposited $50 on Stars the 1st January 2006, and play some NL2, limit 0.02/0.04 and Pot Limit Omaha 8. First month was not easy, but I didn’t lose my deposit and actually increased it. In June, I was in NL25, in July in NL100: that was my summer job (better than working in a factory).

After that, I lost a lot of time in short handed games and in limit.

In July 2007, I decide to stop my studies (because I didn’t want to work!) and play poker full time. 4 first months was good, but I have had a downswing in December and decide to play full ring again: less variance, less stress, more vpps.

I became quickly one of the better NL200 regz, and try some successful shoots in 400, 600 and 1k. But I am a nit and hate variance, so I play a lot in 200.

Tell us about your life in France and the poker scene there in general.
I am 25 and officially student, so I live in a student city, Rouen, close to Paris. I enjoy sports (football, tennis, cycling, golf), cinema, and theatre. And I am probably the laziest guy on the Earth.

The poker scene is good in France. We have a big forum (clubpoker.net), a lot of amateur clubs in almost all cities and casinos. Private games with small buy-in are very common too. We have some (two!) stars, David Benyamine and ElkY and some very good young guns

French are generally very fishy. They play bad, they never fold, they bluff a lot, and they like to trash talk. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy live games. It is too slow, I tilt after two losing hands and I am a very very bad loser.

What is the origin of the name Xerxes and why the number 13?
Xerxes came from my two favorite video games : Civilization (where the Persian civilization is ruled by Xerxes) and Football Manager (where I like to take Xerez Club Deportivo, a Spanish team). 13 is my favorite number, my lucky number, and I was obliged to add it to my screen name, because “Xerxes” was already taken on Stars. But don’t call me “13”, I am Xerxes!!!

What are your goals for 2009? Both poker and non-poker.
I have only one goal, to buy a land and build a house. But for that, I need a lot of money, so I need to play a lot. So if I am Supernova Elite this year, I think I can achieve my goal. So I will grind a lot this year, in 200 and a little in 400. It is boring, but I want this ****ing house.

What were some of the major breakthroughs and leaks that you have plugged in order to get the point of playing solid winning poker?
I think I have made a lot of progress in 2008. The first important thing is the table selection. You can be the 10th best player in the world, if you play against the 9 best, you will lose.

Second one is to have a fresh mind. This month, I am playing 200k hands. It is a lot (2 times more than I used) and I make a loooooot of mistakes because I am tired or in tilt (my winrate is so low, I hope I can adjust next months). If you play like a robot, you will win money from fishes, but be break even against the regz and the ****ing short stakers (and with the rake, it is a losing proposition).

Third one is you need to exploit regz, but not fight them like hell, it is a variance game when you go all-in with 88 BvB, your edge is zero and your downswings are huge. If I can avoid to play good regz, it’s +ev for me and +ev for them, more time to concentrate on bad regz/fishes.

Outline your poker education, what resources have you used to develop your game, who has influenced your game and have you had any coaching?
First, I was member of ClubPoker.net (French forum): that was good to acquire the fundamentals and beat NL100. Then, I have discovered 2+2 and Card Runners. Some instructors are very good: Brian Townsend first videos are awesome, CTS is a ****ing agro genius, Peachy Keen and Daut44 videos were very useful for me.

I like a lot watch goods players to play, too: Kelisitaan (aka “pot control master”), wobbly_au (in a TAG style) or in the new generation Ranka666, ADZ122 or Artanis11. They have huge win rate and play well, so it is good. I have never had any coaching and I don’t think I will, because I don’t want to play over 1k. I am a ****ing nit !!!

What are the best and worst aspects of being a poker player?
Best: You can work when you want, be naked or smell like a pig: no one cares. And money, obviously.
Worst: Loneliness, tilt and burn out.

What do your family (both immediate and extended) think of your poker playing?
I don’t want to be a poker player all my life. It is just few years where I will grind a lot to be quiet after. My family understands me. I am smart (I hope^^), they are smart, they know I can succeed in poker or in other jobs, so, when poker will be tough like hell, I will just do another thing.

What kind of reactions do you get from people outside of poker when you tell them that you play? What are some of the funniest, ill-conceived, tilt inducing and fishiest responses that you get?
Generally, people are surprised, but I never talk about my winnings, so they can’t be jealous. And that is why a poker website like Table Ratings is dangerous.

As a PokerStars Supernova VIP what changes do you think could be made to the VIP program to improve it?
Maybe make a program worse, because they are too many regz on PS

What was your motivation behind posting polls for the best and worst 200nl regs of 2008?
Joker I don’t know myself !

Would you be interested in starring in a sitcom I’m developing that would feature you, Speedle, Ranka, Jackk Frost and TYJohnRambo living in a two-bedroom apartment in New York across the hall from an old cat lady? If so, which one of those guys would you like to share a bunk bed with?
Of course I am in. My English is maybe broken like hell, but it will be a lot of fun. I probably share my bunk bed with any of these guys, cause I am sure they are good boys.

Quick Quiz – Of All 2+2 SS Full Ring and PokerStars $100nl-$400nl full-ring regulars
Best avatar?
Speedle. His picture of Wentworth Miller was… just gay

Best strategy poster?
Kelisitaan. He was sometimes leveling, sometimes he said the truth. His ban is a shame for 2+2.

Best trash talker?
I never read srk posts, too much stars on it When I am on tilt, I am a very big douchebag too

Best 24-tabler?
Kelisitaan and it is not even close. I don’t respect one 24 tablers other than Keli. I think they all suck, especially in 200.

I like a lot ranka’s posts. Piscogay, in another register!


I have not a lot of friends in the poker community. I enjoy loneliness (sometimes not when I am on a downswing). I speak times to times with Speedle on MSN.

All the losing regz, like Ajven. How can you enjoy poker when you are a loser ? When I have a losing day, I am devasted during one week.

Most under-rated?

Kelisitaan. This guy is God and is so under-rated because he is playing FR. He has understood the game in a deep level. I like to watch him play.

Most over-rated?
Just see my topic imo. But I think a lot of 2+2er SSFR are over-rated. Table Ratings don’t lie. OK, they are missing 10 or 15% of hands, but winrate is VERY VERY accurate.

Who, if anyone, have you met in real life?

Nobody. I hate live poker and I hate donkaments, so it doesn’t help

Most Tilty?
Blunty31. This guy is playing 11/7, and 4 bets/call all day long with 88 PF.

Least Tilty?
The regz bots. I can’t play 2 hours without screams, blows, tears, so 10 hours a day…

Best table selection?
Studboy1. This guy is probably one of the weakest players on Stars, but he plays only on table where he got an edge.

Best short stacker(lol)?

**** them. **** their mother and **** Stars which allows short staking. My winrate will be so huge without these clowns !

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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