Pedro Canali

Leo Margets Interview by Pedro Canali

The Spanish Team PokerStars Pro @Leonor Margets-Perez about poker and sports, about ambassadorship for the game, the RankingHero project, and more! 

"As a poker player, I know how to lie, but in real life, I’m quite transparent."

Leo, the first question is really simple, yet tough at the same time - why do you play poker?

Well, my answer is also really simple and deep at the same time. I do like it and I also have certain commitments as a sponsored player. Some years ago, when I started playing professionally, my hobby became my profession. And so, I play poker because I love it as a hobby but it’s also how I make my living.

Do you play more for the competition or for money?

Both. I play for money, but tournaments are what I enjoy playing most - because of the competition. I’ve tried cash games but I need the thrill of the competition. It's always great to have both :)

You are a competitor - I often see your Twitter updates about running in races or marathons. On what level are you doing this?

I’d say I’m a good amateur. I do take it seriously, though, I train a lot. Perhaps not every day but however much is necessary. I’m fully committed to this, even if ‘fully’ means training 5 days and resting a couple of days. But every time I’ve achieved a personal best or won a race I was doing it almost as a part-time job. In sports (in poker, as well, but especially in sports), in the short run, the more efforts you put in, the easier it is to get the results.

Do you think there are a lot of similarities between sports and poker?

Yes, I do think there are many, many similarities. Running is my main sport and there are a lot of analogies between a marathon and a long tournament, like a main event. With tennis, too. There a lot of psychological similarities, as well. But as we know, poker is more cruel. Like I said before, in sports, the more you train the better you are. In poker, the luck factor can become very frustrating.

As an ambassador of the game - you are sponsored by PokerStars - what is it like to be a pro and do you enjoy the lifestyle?

Yes, I do. I do enjoy it a lot. I actually discovered poker rather late, when I was 25. I had already worked before in the marketing industry and in gaming so I think it’s good that I have this background and I really do understand the role of an ambassador. You know, I still get the pressure when I’m going through a bad poker year in terms of results but I am very aware that our mission is way broader than just sitting at a table doing what we like. I think most of today’s ambassadors manage to do a good job. And I do enjoy the communication part, the marketing side, the PR, besides just playing poker.

Photos from http://www.leomargets.com/fotos.html

How do you connect with your fans, beside Twitter?

It’s not something that is difficult for me, I just never really thought about it because it happens quite naturally. I mean, if, during a poker tournament, someone approaches me, I just speak to them. And I do it because I’m sincerely interested, it’s not as if I’m doing someone a favor. The same when I reply on Twitter or other social networks. I think it’s nice that someone asks questions about the industry or wants to discuss something with a pro. Actually, at the moment, I think I’m helping 5 students with their research projects in school or university. That kind of thing is not a toll on me, I do enjoy it. Of course, at some point you have to draw the line because otherwise you wouldn’t have time for anything else.

I remember we were at the same table once, at an EPT I think, and there was this Spanish guy, not nice at all, and you were laughing at his jokes every time :)

You know, I don’t really fake it. If someone is annoying, I won’t be rude, I’m mature enough and I can restrain myself. But I won’t fake it and I think I’m bad at faking something like that. As a poker player, I know how to lie but in real life, I’m quite transparent. So maybe that silly guy was actually funny to me :)

What do you think about the RankingHero project and our mission to bring the industry together?

I think it’s an awesome idea to have this kind of more ‘private’ social network where people can discuss, or rather, talk about their results at their own level. We all know there are the big rankings for the pros but they concern a very small percentage of the whole poker community. Sometimes, even myself as a pro, we forget that the whole industry is supported by a huge, huge base. And it’s awesome that these guys at the base - who may become pros in the future but for the most part are just enjoying the game as a hobby - can share their experiences. And if they win a 10 dollar tourney, they can take pride in it and share their success and happiness at their own level. 

Which is your favorite casino and the best destination for live poker?

I love the @Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. Of course, in Barcelona it’s great, but I think I would lose credibility if I chose my hometown. But honestly, if I try to look at it through the eyes of a foreign player, Barcelona really has it all - the great location, the restaurants and nightclubs, the beach… Yet, the Crown Casino - even if the beach is slightly farther, it’s in an awesome area, there is a river nearby and you can go for a run, there are all these restaurants and the weather is so nice in Melbourne.. To me it’s important for any tournament that the city where it’s held offers other things to do so that you have a nice ‘Plan B’ if you bust early.

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Thx Chris, you are right, she's very smart :)

Mickey Petersen Interview by Pedro Canali

The RankingHero interview series continues with @Mickey Petersen!

Why do you play poker?

I’ve always been very fond of playing games and I was playing a lot of Magic at the time. And then I saw poker on TV and I just had no idea what was going on. I didn’t even know the hand rankings or anything like that, but I was fascinated. So I watched more and sort of started picking up on it and from there I just got really interested in poker. At that point it was just a thing I enjoyed doing with friends, and then eventually I found out it was something that I could actually make a living doing. I still think it’s really fun to play and it has enabled me to have the kind of lifestyle that’s perfect for me. So, that’s why I still play poker,I guess.

Do you play for money or for the competition?

Both! Though, at the end of the day, if I couldn’t make money doing it, I’d have to do something else. I’d probably still be playing poker for fun even if I couldn’t make money, but I’d say money is first and thrill, recognition, and all those things are bonuses.

Would you rather win the Main Event of 50 million at the lottery?

50 million at the lottery, for sure! I mean, the Main Event is kind of a lottery anyway. People wouldn’t be thinking ‘oh, Mickey must be the best player in the world’ but ‘yeah, he won one tournament and got lucky’. And 50 million is a lot of money, if the difference was one million or so, I would be tempted to take the Main Event, but for that much I’d definitely take the lottery.

You said you were a Magic player; did you play competitively or just for fun?

I wasn’t exactly a fish at it. I got to play in a couple of professional tournaments, and I won a national championship in Denmark, but that was about it. I never got really good. Nowhere near as good as I was at poker. But I spent my weekends doing it, it’s a social activity, too and I really enjoyed it a lot and still do from time to time get to play, which is fun. But I was never great by any means. I was slightly above average I’d say.

You said the poker player lifestyle is a perfect fit for you?

Well, first of all, I just really like playing games. I like waking up pretty much whenever I want, not having a boss… I don’t think I would do very well in an office environment. And also, there’s just a lot of flexibility; it’s enabled me to travel to all of these cool places where I probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise and there’s a certain amount of financial freedom, which is really nice too. I just couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing right now than playing poker, honestly. I gotta start winning at the lottery for 50 million…

So you think it’s better to play poker than work in an office?

Yes, I guess I'm not into the whole thing about working in an office, having a boss, and all the office politics, and so on… It’s not even necessarily about how good you are at your job, there’s so much randomness to it. Whereas I feel like in poker you’re more in control of what’s going to happen with your destiny. If you put in good work in poker you’re going to be good. While in jobs, it can be about whether you stumble across the right thing or something like that. 

As a PokerStars pro, how do you connect with your fans?

I’m on Twitter a lot, I really enjoy doing that. It’s something I’ve picked up on the last couple of years. Other than that, there’s a feature in the PokerStars client where you can see which Team Pros are online at the moment. I know a lot of people use it to rail. I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments at the same time and most of the time there will be something I’m pretty deep in and that is fun to rail. I always get a kick out of people who come and say good luck in the rail. I think in the future even more so as I’ll be playing at least a couple of hours every week of small stakes cash games, mainly just to interact with the fans. It will be 10-cent games and the like so that’s something to look forward to.

What do you think about the RankingHero project and our mission to bring the industry together?

I think it’s great! In the last couple of years there have been a lot of good projects started. People have really big visions for poker and what you can do for the industry and I think that’s super interesting. So I’m excited to see where it goes.

Is the industry listening to the players and doing everything it can to provide the best experience?

It’s a good question, it’s tough... I think overall the industry is doing a pretty good job, especially the EPT, which is one of the reasons it’s one of the only tournament series I really like going to. I think it’s very well run. You can buy in online and things like that, you don’t have to bring money.

So I think in general the industry is doing a pretty good job but there are conflicting interests sometimes. I think it’s important that the players always come first. It's important to never compromise the integrity of the game, basically. And there are some instances when the industry is not thinking enough about that..

So they should listen more to the players?

Well, yes, within reason. The players are always going to ask for more. So there needs to be some kind of equilibrium. But I think the industry is doing a pretty good job, much better than a couple of years ago.

Which is your favorite casino and the best live poker destination?

You know, I actually don’t like casinos that much in general, I’m not really a casino person. But there are some stops that I really do enjoy, like Prague. In December, with the winter market, I just think it’s a really nice, cosy city.

Actually, when the EPT was in Vienna a few months ago, that was the most impressive place I’ve played poker. That was really cool. And I like the city a lot, too. And obviously going to PCA in January is always really nice because the weather is so bad here. I guess those three would be my favorite poker destinations.



a great interview :) thanks !!!  

Nice interview !

(I thought that only robots were able to play on 20 tables but it seems that humans can also do it .....)

Sofia Lovgren Interviewed by Pedro Canali at EPT London

At the EPT London, @Sofia Lovgren talked to Pedro Canali about being an ambassador for @888 Poker, the poker pro lifestyle, and her favorite stop on the live poker circuit!

Photo credit: Jayne Furman, PokerNews

Sofia, the first question is simple and really complex at the same time: why do you play poker? What is exciting about it?

I’m very competitive and I’ve always loved different kinds of games… I love the excitement in poker and I think it’s really fun.

So you play more for competition than money?

In the beginning I played mostly for the competition. But then when I started winning it became even more fun. After that I decided to play poker full-time and I really loved it.

Would you prefer to win the Main Event or 50 million from the lottery?

50 million from the lottery :)

You are playing full-time as an ambassador for 888poker. What does it mean to you to be an ambassador and how do you connect with your fans?

I love being an ambassador for 888poker. It’s a great company and I really enjoy playing on 888poker. They have lots of cash game tables and good tournaments. I’m continuing to travel around the world playing live poker and I really love it.

You use Twitter and Facebook a lot, right? To keep in touch with your fans and give them your updates?

Yes, I do. I think it’s a lot of fun. There are a lot of players following me and I follow a lot of players, too. 888poker has a very tight team of ambassadors and we have a lot of fun together, we are supporting each other. It’s great that we can connect with each other on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think of the RankingHero project and our mission to bring the industry together?

It’s a great project. It’s nice that you collect all players’ results and sum up all the information. It’s fun to compare different players. Yeah.. it’s awesome!

You are playing full-time now. How do you like the lifestyle? What are the advantages and why do you like it?

Poker brings a lot of freedom. You can decide how to spend your day and play whenever you want. I just love the lifestyle. And the fact that there is so much travelling, I love that.

And last question, which is your favorite casino and which is the best live poker destination?

It’s a hard question. There are so many nice places!.. I think I would say Barcelona. Because the climate is so nice there, it’s a great location with a lot of beaches, I love Barcelona!

 More on RKH:

Happy Birthday to Sofia Lovgren!

Sofia Lovgren Leaves PKR for Mysterious New Adventure

Sofia Lovgren Announces New Sponsorship Deal

5 Comments Display all

How do not to read this article with a so attractive subject....

Thank you for the pic of the team with my preferred @Xuan Liu A♥ 

Really liked this interview, thanks !!!