Leandro Gaone is not only one of the top members of one of the biggest poker clubs in Belgium, Poker Belgique, but also one of the top poker personalities in the country. He is always busy playing poker and organizing poker events, and PokerNews.fr recently interviewed Gaone for precisely these reasons.

Speaking about what Pierre Neuville landing among the November Nine means for the Belgian poker community, Gaone said that Neuville’s performance helped the Belgian poker media immensely because of the attraction it drew to poker. This he feels will be beneficial to poker in Belgium in the long run. Neuville’s success will make many amateur Belgian poker players dream, and this will attract many more casual players to poker.

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Revealing his personal opinion of Neuville, he said: “I can tell you that when he (Neuville) plays in a tournament, he prepares for it as if he had to get ready for a competition. Neuville really sees poker as a sport.”

Talking about the Poker Belgique Series of Poker (PBSOP), the first of its kind being held in Namur, he said that an attempt is being made to bring the WSOP spirit to Belgium through the PBSOP. The event has a main event along with a number of side events, just like the WSOP. However, the PBSOP main event has an affordable buy-in of only €100 and gives each participant a starting stack with 30,000 chips. The event sprawls over 5 days and has 2-hour levels. He said: “The special feature of this tournament is what it’s a ‘self-deal’ one: the players play without dealers at the table, they deal the cards by themselves. Only the last two tables of the event will have dealers.”

Regarding the PBSOP player profile, he said that the event attracts mostly amateurs who want to try their hand at a live event without risking too much money. At the same time, there are few pros too.

Revealing his opinion of the poker scene in Belgium, he said that the game is doing great in the country, “especially as the world of poker associations is very much alive and dynamic.” He said that the Belgian Gaming Commission permits associations to run poker tournaments, but caps the buy-ins at €20. This enables organizers to hold qualifiers to events with larger buy-ins.

Another event called the Poker Belgique Masters (PBS) is scheduled to be held in August in the Czech Republic.

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