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2013 WSOP Main Event Final Table Appearance makes Sylvain Loosli a French Star

If you look at France today, it's easy to see that they're one of the more poker-crazy countries. Not only do they have plenty of notable pros, but also a thriving legalized online poker market too.

A large reason for the success of French poker today is owed to Antoine Saout. The unheralded player made a surprise third-place run in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, earning $3,479,670 in the process. This strong finish certainly didn't go unnoticed by Saout's countrymen either since thousands of players were inspired to take up the game.

Sylvain Loosli was one of these players, and he's currently in a position to emulate his poker idol. The high stakes cash game grinder is sixth in chips going into the 2013 WSOP Main Event final table and looking to improve his position.

"Obviously, when you see Antoine getting such a tremendous result, you think you can do it myself," Loosli told ESPN. "It was magic to see him achieve such a great result. Last year, I was sweating Gaelle Baumann. Unfortunately she finished 10th. But it feels really great to be at the final table. For me, for my friends, for France, for French poker. It's great."

Since taking up the game while in business school, Loosli has become a very successful professional player through hard work and studying. He's watched countless training videos and intently examined many televised tournament hands. Eventually, all of this training led Loosli to focus on cash games, instead of tournaments.

"I always thought I could do well in live tournaments even though it is not my main game," he said. "I played in three EPT's, one Partouche Poker Tour in France. That's it - I always thought I could do well, if I just focused a bit more on playing live and working on my game."

Lucky for French poker, Loosli decided to put his theory into practice by playing the 2013 Main Event. Assuming he's able to grab a big finish, it could send France into yet another poker boom like Saout's third-place effort did.

"It would obviously be the greatest accomplishment of my poker career," Loosli stated. "It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is the best tournament in the world, everyone is dreaming about it. I would take a great pride in being such an ambassador."