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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.

She is amazing  Thanks !!! :)))))) 

Excellent interview thanks Pedro !

Excellent interviewee  ;)

Excellent interview ! And good choice !

Pretty, smart and very interesting. Usually in France we only see some pictures of her during tournaments because she is good looking and not because she plays a good poker or she is smart. So i did not know her well and i was surprised by the quality of her answers 

Thanks Pedro!

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