At the inagural U.S. Poker Open, among a crowd of American pros and recreational players, we spotted long-time pro Benjamin Pollak from France. Pollak wasn’t a household name outside of Europe until this past summer when poker fans from all over the world were impressed by his play, live on PokerGO and ESPN, collecting $3.5 million for finishing third in the WSOP Main Event.

Newfound riches, a wave of confidence and dedicated study of his craft pushed Pollak career to greater heights, as he cashed for another$1.8 million in the months after his Main Event run. Currently, Pollak is mixing it up at the ARIA, playing a series that seemingly fits his style perfectly.

“Definitely,” Pollak said with a big smile when we asked if he’s the favorite to take down the U.S. Poker Open Championship given his recent run of results.

“I’m feeling very confident, and I want to keep surfing on that wave. Of course, I’m running good over the last six months, but I’m also playing good, and I’d like that to continue.”

When asked whether his Main Event run has brought fame on top of the fortune, Pollak roared, “All the girls man!”

“But no, I’m joking. Nothing has changed for me, but the result in the summer did allow me to play more, relax a bit and it gives a lot of confidence.”

During the U.S. Poker Open, Pollak is looking to make waves in all eight events, having honed his skills in all variants of the game.

“I’m pretty happy about the PLO and Mixed Game events at the US Poker Open. I used to play a lot of PLO cash games, some tournaments and a lot of mixed games. I’m happy to play those kinds of events, especially if there are players that aren’t used to playing them. Maybe I’ll have an edge, but we’ll see what the field looks like. I’m happy to have a balance in the games that I play, and not only play No Limit.”

“Having PLO and Mixed Games at a big series invites people to play because it’s part of that series. Hopefully, they’ll have enough interest to want to learn, and that would be good for the game because it’s more fun to play multiple games.”

“I really like this event series, it’s eight super tournaments in a row with live streaming on PokerGO, and that’s a very nice extra that makes it even more prestigious.”

Pollak admitted to not having expected a 68-entry field for the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em opening event, making him feel that much more excited about the rest of the series, albeit it not being an easy challenge.

“The field and the tables I’ve been at so far have been what I expected. They’re tough, and I’ve only played with pros so far. But everyone has a chance to win; we’re all just here to have fun and play some poker.”

Looking beyond the U.S. Poker Open at what’s to come in 2018, Pollak’s eyes grow with excitement.

“I want to play the Super High Roller Bowl, and I will for sure play the $100,000 at the WSOP and a couple of other ARIA High Rollers. If I crush the Main Event, I will maybe play the million,” Pollak said about the potential of playing in the Big One for One Drop.

Pollak is currently playing in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, the final table of which will be broadcasted live and exclusively on PokerGO on Saturday starting at 4pm ET. Sign up for PokerGO right now and check the ‘live events’ tab for start times of the streams that run through to the final on February 11th when the $50,000 Main Event will see its winner crowned.

WSOP Main Event, Benjamin Pollak