Interview to Martí Roca, winner of the WSOPE 2017
Martí Roca was the surprise of the World Series Of Poker 2017. He won a satellite at 888.es and head to Rozvadov with a lot will-power and his lucky shirt well packed. Zero experience in international tournaments and somehow, he knew it could happen. Veni,vidi,vici? Sort of. That is determination indeed. We had the pleasure of interviewing him, and that's what he told us about his story with poker:
-Martí, how do you start playing poker?
I was already quite a grown-up. I was 29 years old when a friend proposed to play poker instead of a random board game. I already new the 5-card-stud cause my grandma used to play it with her friends but I didn’t know Texas Hold’em. I didn’t pay much attention until I played Texas Hold’em to be honest.
-Do you study or prepare yourself in a particular way before starting to play?
Of course! Without a deep study of the game it is not possible to reach any important goals. I’ve been studying, watching videos, comparing hands etc since 2012 aprox, that is when I decided I wanted to become a professional player.
-When you decide to become a professional poker player? how do your family and friends take it?
It was about the end of 2014 and I was already three years working part-time as an Economics teacher and playing poker the rest of the time. At some point, the inputs coming from poker, were more or less the same than the ones from teaching, and then I decided it was the time to make the step. Additionally, poker is my passion, and I had already been a few years preparing myself for that moment.
Family, in general terms, do not take it specially well. It’s understandable, sadly poker it’s still related to a compulsively gambling problem, instead of to a strategy game. But I think that after a good effort in explaining that it is a well considered decision and there is the knowledge and economic base to move forward, it can be understood.
-What do you usually play?
I play a lot of cash at Pokerstars and 888. Some weekends I play MTT’s, I know them both games equally. Mtt’s turn out more profitable economically, but timings are not as good for keeping a good family life XD.
-How is your day to day? How well can you keep your poker routines along with family?
My day-to-day is like any other worker’s day. I wake up, have breakfast, bring my daughter to school and I start working with my pc. I usually study a couple of hours about my game and possible improvements. After that I play 2 or 3 sessions of 1 hour eash, and end up analysing the results and mistakes of the day. Luckily, playing cash online allows to do flesible hours. Sometimes I have to play during the weekends if I want to play any of the big tournaments.
-Let’s talk about the WSOPE Main event de las WSOPE: was it the first time you were playing a tournament abroad? Was it your first FT?
To be honest it was the very first time I was playing poker out of Spain. Until now I had kept it around Barcelona and Lloret de Mar. It’s goint to be now a year since I first won my first tournament, more or less important: Peralada's Spanish Championship (CEP). I have played quite a lot FT online, in live poker around 7-8 but of course of very different levels.
-Even not having experience in big tournaments you had a very focused attitude, not allowing the pressure to crack you even a little. Did you ever think you could win?
From the very first moment, I always play to win! Of course I knew it would be difficult, but otherwise I wouldn’t have gone until Rozvadov. Also, after the 2 first days, I started feeling myself between the players with options for the victory. Imagine if I thought I could win that I kept my lucky shirt for eleven days without using it, in case I needed it, and I did!
-That’s quite forward-thinking! How will you approach your poker career from now on? Would you play more internationally?
To be honest, my prioriety now is the online cash games. It gives me a lot of freedom and I think I can really improve a lot my game there. Of course I can afford more expensive tournaments now but I am not that interested to be honest. I have a 3-years-old little girl and a second baby coming soon, so I will stick to play around Barcelona and surroundings and in the future, when children get older and I probably get tired of online poker, I will definitely feel more like travelling to big tournaments.
-Congrats for that second baby on his way! And now, last question: the arrival of the .eu. I guess you will be looking forward.
I am. I think it will be a huge opportunity for my game in general: there will be more tables, more morning traffic, higher levels…Also big tournaments will be more interesting and prize-pools will get bigger. The downside is that taxes in Spain will keep as they are, quite abusive for poker players, who can’t really balance good seasons with bad ones. I think we need to recognize the professional poker figure somehow, and of course, legally. But that doesn’t exist at the moment.
-We know Martí. Tax system in Spain sucks right now. Thanks a lot for your time, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you. We’d love to hear from you soon again!
-Thanks a lot guys!
It's been a pleasure interviewing him. Did you heard the call of poker after reading the interview? So did we! Check our poker deals and start playing with the best conditions.