Aurélien CANOT, Media365, posted on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 3:40 pm.
Presented last weekend at Disneyland Paris as part of the Winamax Club Trophy, the French equivalent of the French Series of Poker Clubs, Moundir, crazy about poker but not only, sparks his passion for basketball. A sport in which the animator who made himself known on Koh Lanta was considering a professional career, before an injury destroyed his ambitions.
Moundir, I contracted a severe form of coronavirus a year ago. You are about to recover today. How are you all ?
The news is good. We train hard. I’m still about five percent recovery in my left lung and everything will be back to normal. The remaining five percent to heal is tough, but you have to wait there. Life is beautiful.
Not many people know this, but you could have had a career in basketball. Tell us…
Yes, I have grown into a semi-pro and experienced exceptional things in basketball. It’s a bit like cycling: it stays firmly in me and I still have these basketball fibers. I had serious injuries that slowed me down a little bit at some point and I had to look back to see what job I wanted to do. Because I only lived from it. True, I dreamed of going further, but you need to know how to accept your fate. And at least I can say I had good years in basketball.
Tell us about your background…
I started in the 20th arrondissement, at ACS Le Clos, where I progressed from minimalist to apprentice. Then I went to the Treasury, with whom we moved to Nationale 3, and then I did a freelance job at Nationale 2 with Poissy-Charenton, before I started television. I also spent six months at a university in Miami. I started well, but then I broke my shin bone after being in a motorcycle accident, and I had to revise my goals. I had just come back from a very good training there, I was 17, and we found a high school that took me. While I was going to practice with my team in Paris, I was hit by a motorbike on a pedestrian crossing. After that many things changed. Originally, it was planned that I would come back to the States and live the experience, it was great.
What kind of player were you?
I was playing in second place. I had a good shot and defended very well. Were you a full player? Yes, practically a good view of the game.
What have you experienced, especially this passage through the United States, that naturally makes you a great NBA enthusiast?
Yes, as well as the European League. NBA, I like it, but the game is so different now, we get a little bored (sic). These actions take less than ten seconds. I prefer the Europa League, where the ball is spinning more and the screens are set, with less individuality. In the French championship, I mainly follow a few teams. I went to see the Paris play, it’s a bit like “Who Wants to Save Private Ryan?” There is good potential, but you really have to instill in them a taste of gnac, because it is a club that deserves to be in the top 3 or 4. I also like Monaco, Nanterre and Le Portel, against whom I played in National 3 on the date. They did a good ascent, it’s good for them.
In the NBA, do you like one player more than another?
I love the Frenchman, especially Yvan Fournier, who can really make a place for the Knicks, especially since he can still do better. Reminds me of style and gesture of Herve Dubusson. Dobson got that pure shot which Evan also has. He was the only one who sat on a chair in midfield and only raised his arm to set the ball. In addition, he had an exceptional leap. Furthermore, he was the first to try in the NBA, with the New Jersey Nets at the time. Evan is a hybrid of Yann Bonato and Hervé Dubuisson. I like it very much, because he has a rhythm game, and he has a shot that is a real catapult. It would be an all-star, that’s undeniable.
“The Winamax Club Cup is a real party”
Wouldn’t that stop you from playing poker again, on the occasion of the biggest Winamax Club cup ever organized?
No, and I am happy to resume poker, with this wonderful meeting the Winamax Club Cup, which took place last weekend. I was so pleased to see all these people who were looking forward to this moment, because it is so important that life resumes. This was a revival of the popular and amateur poker game. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already taken over Paris with events in circles like APO.
This Winamax Club Cup, is it a bit like Ligue 1 poker?
It’s deeper than that. There were 419 players from clubs affiliated with Winamax. There were the 2020 qualifiers, at the ready, where there was Covid, and those for 2022, who were brought together in two different tournaments, in different tournaments. They’ve managed to represent their club and win great prizes, like poker and beer tables, and token cases… It’s a real party. Players are received in exceptional conditions, in a four-star hotel, with rooms provided for them. They are really in the best conditions.
Everyone in Disneyland Paris is more used to hosting the Leaders Cup in basketball…
Yes, this Leaders Cup that I especially love. There, it was poker, it was great to see all these people again and also the euphoria of the Winamax team, the organizers are doing a great job! it is my pleasure. For me, it was my seventh edition, because I’ve been working with Winamax for eight years now. I am one of the people who has been to most of the clubs in France to represent Winamax, the famous and amateur poker. With the Winamax Poker Tour at the time, I played almost every club.
Do you see a change year after year?
In Winamax, the word for evolution is minimal. Every year, they challenge themselves, the development team is exceptional and everyone is so qualified at what they do that every time an event is created, it’s a great thing! No room currently creates events like them.
What do you remember from the 2022 edition?
There was a lot of enthusiasm and happiness for all those players who came to represent their club. The organization was on top, as always, and it was a pleasure above all else to be able to share this passion we all have for poker.
Do any clubs stand out as in football in particular?
It’s still poker, so everyone has a chance, that’s the magic of poker. After that, there are still notable clubs like Lyon or Grenoble (Club Poker 95 won this version). It must be said that they have a larger number of members, which necessarily leaves them with an advantage, but it is very nice, frankly.
“With Daniel (Riolo), we have been able to democratize poker”
You weren’t just a spectator during these Winamax Club Awards, because you played head-to-head for a good portion of the day…
Yes, it went well for me, playing on the tablet for about three hours, and in three hours, I only lost nine times. It’s a format that I particularly like and because I don’t like my chips swinging when I play, the point is really to play hard and limit ticket allocations (laughs). The tables were reserved only for club players.
Does that mean you prefer the tablet to the poker table?
I love the internet, because it’s a great school and that’s where I learned, but living provides a feeling that you can’t find anywhere else. It is very important, and it is more humane. When you don’t know the players it is very fast but it is also interesting to have the player in front of you.
How old is your love of poker?
In 2010, by pure chance. I was in Miami watching ESPN with a friend and saw guys in hats and glasses. I found it quite theatrical, a bit like a wrestling party. And I saw the maps displayed on the screen, but I did not understand anything at all. My friend Edward, who lives in Miami, explained the rules to me in five minutes. That same evening, there was a cash game, I won $500 and it was over: there was the essence of poker and I found myself in another world fiddling between my passion for poker and my job. I wasn’t originally a card player though. I must have played a fight before, but I’ve never played cards for money. Poker is a passion that sticks to my skin.
What do you love most about poker?
It is above all the psychological approach to poker, more than the game itself. When I started taking lessons and learning with the great player Slipman, I immediately saw that the poker I was playing, which was “Jesus” poker or “Spray” poker, was not exactly like that and everything had to be reviewed. It was an exceptional approach and learning.
How much to co-host the #1 poker show?
Yes, because I knew Daniel (Riolo) and Geraldine Millett, his wife, and six years ago Geraldine suggested my name to Daniel, and he said, “Yes, of course!” This is how I got to the RMC Poker Show. And then we found a rhythm in this wonderful project that made the show take on an extraordinary scale. There is an interaction between me and Daniel, there is the producer who does an exceptional job. We go hand in hand and have been able to democratize poker, which is self-evident now. People, even those who can’t play poker, listen to the radio because there’s a synergy going on which is great. Poker has evolved a lot and we are adapting accordingly and trying to make sure it stays exciting and entertaining.
For your part, do you still find time to play?
Between my family life, my job as a producer (I’m a TV host on adventure shows too), my projects and the fact that I’m also into amateur poker, yes, but it’s part of a schedule, we’re moving forward. We have credit and that funding, you can manage throughout the year with certain tournaments you can play or not. My credit doesn’t allow me to play all tournaments, but there is one tournament you have to be in of course, and that is the World Series of Poker. It happens every year in Las Vegas, and I’m getting ready to do it, so I keep my cash for the USA.
You often say you have to risk your life, do you also take a risk at the poker table?
At the table, you can take a risk, of course, but it should pay off. As I always say: In poker, the best trick is not to lie. You have to pay attention to your commitment when you play, in order to make the right decision and make it pay off for as long as possible.