VIP-Grinders.com: Hello Ana, first of all thank you very much for taking the time. Would you please introduce yourself for the people, who don’t know you yet?
Ana Marquez: I’m a professional poker player from Malaga, Spain. I studied history and economics at the American University in Washington DC, where i first got into contact with poker.
I started as a cash game player, but it didn’t take me long to switch to tournaments. It’s been over a decade now of grinding live and online poker, and as of today I have the honor to be an ambassador for 888poker.
VG: As you have already mentioned, you are the latest 888poker Ambassador. Can you please explain how you got your sponsorship and why you chose 888?
AM: I think 888poker has really good values as a company, which align with a lot of my own. They are doing a great job making the game accessible to all kinds of people, which is great for the poker environment.
Ana Marquez after winning the High Roller Event at 888Live Bucharest.
888 puts a lot of effort into improving player experience and always takes the player’s point of view into consideration. The team has an amazing dynamic making it very easy to work with.
VG: You took a longer break from poker and mentioned in an interview that the reason was a burnout. I personally can relate to that and believe that it can happen to every poker player, who plays a high volume. What did you do to overcome this?
AM: I took a step down and decided to take care of the parts of my life that needed it the most. I started changing unhealthy habits into healthy ones for the mind and body like eating healthy, meditating and doing Yoga.
I also took more time for things that I had parked aside during the heavy poker grind. For example, I went to visit old friends from university and made an effort to see them more often, since most of them live in different countries and don’t play poker. I started painting and reading history books again, which is my other passion besides poker.
“My burnout was a blessing in disguise”
Finally, I worked on figuring out how to adapt all my new habits into the poker grind. At the beginning it wasn’t easy, because I was a big believer of putting in volume. However, the mentality in the poker community was changing as well, which happened to be perfect timing for me.
Studying more and playing less matched really well with my new routines and made it more fun and motivating to come back after the break.
VG: Now you are back and seem to be stronger than ever before. Where do you take your motivation and positive attitude from?
AM: I think my burnout was a blessing in disguise. It was really hard to take a step down at the peak of my career. My tunnel vision with poker was making me successful at that moment, but turned out to be unsustainable in the long run.
So taking some time off not only reassured my passion for poker, but also taught me a lot about myself and how to do what I love, which is trying to be the best version I can be.
VG: You are the only Spanish member of No Limit Gaming, one of the sickest poker teams in the world. How did you become a vibrant part of the German High Roller community?
AM: It’s an honor that they have asked me to be part of the No Limit Gaming Team. I guess I‘m just lucky to have them as friends and that they believe in my abilities.
VG: Since a couple of weeks you are streaming live on Twitch. How was this experience so far and how important do you see Twitch for the growth of poker?
AM: It‘s super fun! I love interacting with poker fans, because we share the same passion for the game and it feels really good to be able to help others, who share the same dream.
Regarding the role of Twitch in the poker world, I think it‘s awesome. Anything that helps showing what it is like to be a professional poker player is key for our industry to grow in the right direction.
Watch Ana’s latest stream on No.Limit.gg here:
VG: Poker is a male-dominated world and some even claim it is sexist. Did you ever experience sexism or felt reduced to your appearance instead of your poker skills?
AM: Umm yep…
VG: What do you think is needed to make more women play poker?
AM: I think sexism is certainly a problem to adress, but this will take time. Ladies events are definitely a good place to start, so that women can get into the game without male pressure, but thats not enough.
Online poker takes that pressure off as well, but we need to work on the marketing and make it more appealing for women being able to identify with it.
A good example could be the regular appearance of women in TV shows like Poker After Dark, where the female population has figures to look up. This would prove that a successful female poker pro is no exception and that everybody can achieve this.
VG: Thank you very much for the interview!