Athanasios Polychronopoulos is a man that radiates confidence. It’s the look, the tone in his voice, hell maybe it’s a pheromone thing…I don’t know? But what I do know is this kid has it; and his self-assurance downpours onto great performances on the felt.
“Confidence is really important and part of confidence is just positive thinking. Just believe it. Confidence is tricky. You are sitting at a table and see Ivey sat there. You know he is a better player than you, but you have to trick yourself into believing that on this day he is not better than you. Instead you have to think: ‘today I am better, I’m going to play my game and control the flow’. Even if you are lying to yourself, and know it, just trick yourself. Just lie to yourself and you will play better.” Polychronopoulos tells me.
There are 149 players remaining in Event #56: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) and despite having a below average chip stack you wouldn’t mind putting a few bucks on Polychronopoulos making another deep run. His customary scarf hangs around his neck like a cool looking Biggles. He’s a starer too. Another trait of the confidence of the man. I watch as he takes a hand from an opponent and stares right into his soul. He just seems at home at the table. Completely and utterly at ease.
“My advice to players who are new to the smaller WSOP events is to understand that bad things will happen, and when they do, you need to maintain composure, have patience, discipline; confidence and just play your game.”
You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to calculate that Polychronopoulos is of Greek descent. His parents moved to the States, opened up a restaurant by the seaside and started a family. Polychronopoulos has been part of the restaurant business for 30-years and this is why he has learned to be so assured. It’s people. The man knows his way around people.
I first ran into him during an event in Europe. He had just won his first WSOP bracelet and was oozing confidence. Later that year he took fourth in the €5,000 Masters Classic in Amsterdam, a score that helped his first European tour be a success from a financial standpoint. His 2012, tour wasn’t as successful, but he still aims to travel to Europe to play live tournament poker. The $518,755 he earned by topping the Event #17 field, to win his second WSOP bracelet, will help fund that particular soiree.
Polychronopoulos always has his WSOP bracelets with him when he plays. He uses them as a reminder of how fortunate he is.
“Maybe one day I could open up a small restaurant, or maybe just sit on a beach and live a simple life. Who knows. I am the luckiest man in the world.”
Luck that he created by having such a wonderful attitude.