Aug 02, 2014
2014 November Niner Felix Stephensen Still Learning Hold'em Tournaments
By RTR Dennis
When the 2014 November Nine meets again, Felix Stephensen certainly won't be the most inexperienced poker player there. He's been an online poker pro for the past four years, specializing in Pot-Limit Omaha cash games. But Stephensen definitely lacks experience in what the WSOP Main Event is all about - No-Limit Hold'em and live tournament play.
Before this year's Main Event, the Norwegian had rarely played in Hold'em tournaments. This can be seen from the fact that he previously had just two career tourney cashes and $21,118 in winnings. Considering that Stephensen will start the 2014 WSOP Main Event final table with the second-most chips at 32,775,000, his live winnings are set to skyrocket.
The 23-year-old is one of nine hopefuls who are eyeing payouts ranging from $10 million (first place) to $730,725 (ninth). The November Nine will assemble on Nov. 10th, but before that happens, Stephensen knows that there is some preparation ahead.
Felix Stephensen wants a poker coach
With almost a four-month gap between when the Main Event final table is formed and when they play, hiring a coach has become common for some participants. For example, 2012 runner-up Jesse Sylvia famously hired Vanessa Selbst to give him some fine pointers. Stephensen will follow in Sylvia's footsteps, which is a good idea when considering his relative lack of experience.
"I'll definitely be looking to find some sick, live crusher coach who can teach me the ropes," he recently said. "Basically, I'm not experienced playing live tournaments at all, and I really don't play no-limit at all. So I guess that I kind of have to get back into that." Stephensen added that he'll further prepare by gathering plenty of info on his November Nine opponents.
Set for life
The Norwegian certainly understands the implications of what winning the Main Event could do for both his poker career and life. "Of course that'd be amazing - stroke my ego in a big way," he said when asked about winning. "And the ten milly on top...if you're smart about it and don't go on a huge sports betting downswing or something like that - I've heard that happens - then that could take you a really, really long way.
"Hopefully I can make it far and make the most of my money and won't have to worry too much about it for a good while." Stephensen added, "Hopefully I can help somebody close to me out if they're in need...cause if you win, what am I gonna do with ten million?"
A first for Norway?
Although he hasn't addressed it much, one of the more intriguing aspects about Stephensen is that he could become the first Norwegian to win the Vegas-based Main Event. His countrywoman, Annette Obrestad, won the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event along with £1 million. Now the small nation of just over 5 million is seeking further poker glory.
It's certainly not out of the question to think that Stephensen could become Norway's latest poker champion, given his chip stack and willingness to improve. But he also has some hurdles to overcome with regard to his live tournament experience.