Keeping it real with Maridu Mayrinck

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Maridu Mayrinck is a member of PokerStars Team Pro and started out as a blogger for PokerStars before turning pro in 2007. She is one of the friendliest and most popular members of the team and never seems to be at a loss for things to talk about. In Sue's interview below, you will find out why this former blogger and script writer turned to poker and why she thinks it's so important to "keep it real."

Q. How do you become the most liked player? Give us step by step lessons in niceness.

A. (Laughs) Am I? Thank you! I don't know if that's true, but what I can say is true is that there is no faking with me. If I like someone, I love them, if I don't like someone, I don't even bother to say "hi," but since I am pretty lazy, it takes quite a bit for me to not like someone. I avoid confrontation like the plague. I guess people feel the same towards me; love it or leave it. When you're not faking it and you're really enjoying yourself, not taking yourself too seriously, and having fun with whatever it is you're doing, it comes through and people want to be near that. When I talk to someone, be it at the tables or wherever, I am actually interested in hearing what they have to say instead of just waiting for them to pause so I can hear my own voice. That kind of undivided attention you genuinely give people is an attractive quality in anyone, I suppose. But trust me, I have my "grrrr" days where if someone comes near me, I bite. But I try to stay locked in my dungeon on those "grrr" days. Yes, I have a dungeon!

Q. Where did you go to high school in New York? What kind of mischief were you up to? What are some of your favorite memories of New York and where you liked to go?

A. I went to The Dalton School. My high school years in New York are the best memories of my life since it was the last time my whole family was living together under the same roof and my dad was still alive. After that, my dad passed away, we all went off to college (my two brothers and I), and nowadays it's hard to get the whole family together under the same roof every year (even though we try about two or three times a year). All of us living together in New York are for sure the fondest memories of my life. That and also kind of discovering and claiming that city as my own (anyone who has ever lived in New York does that and knows what I'm talking about) at such a young age. You're thirteen and in New York discovering the subways, making new friends, turning into a teenager with all that crazy New York energy being thrown at you. It was quite the discovery of independence and I am forever grateful to my amazing parents for having given me such a privileged and good upbringing filled with trust and support to let each one of us be exactly what we wanted to be.

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Q. Now onto Rio De Janiero. Is it more glamorous than New York?

A. Well, Rio is not exactly a place that I would describe as glamorous, it's more laid back, beachy, but I guess the way that particular lifestyle is lived in Rio is quite glamorous, because there is an ease to it. Living in Rio has a very "provincial" feel, since I was born and raised there (for most of my life at least). Whenever I walk through the streets of Ipanema, where I live, I bump into a bunch of people I know, and that is a very comfortable and safe feeling. Rio is the most beautiful city in the world, painted by the hand of God.

Q. How does sociology--your major--help in the poker world?

A. With sociology you really have to read a lot about other cultures, civilizations, economies, and philosophies. I mean, whether you want to or not, you become an intellectual if your major is sociology. And all that learning and understanding of other cultures really opens your mind to understanding your own culture and origins. All of that is helpful in poker in understanding your opponent and how they perceive you and react to your presence. And reading opponents is one of the major key factors in excelling in live poker. But it's not something that I consciously use. You kind of just take everything you have within you at the tables and let it be used organically and instinctively. If you have to think about it, it doesn't work.

Q. Did your father teach you how to play?

A. Yes, he taught me all casino games by the time I was nine. He was a high stakes player and we used to travel a lot to vacation spots that had casinos, so I have been used to that setting since a very young age.

Q. What do your parents do for a living?

A. My mom has the very tough job of being my mom; it's not easy! She is my inspiration for everything; such a brain, such a lioness, and truly one of the most beautiful women in Rio--and I'm not talking just inner beauty either. My mom was hot! She studied philosophy, speaks five languages, and used to read The Odyssey, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer (light reading!) to me and my brothers when we were little in all different languages. She always pushed me towards my creative side. My brothers take after my mom in the looks and brain department; they are gorgeous and geniuses like her.

I take after my dad, who had one of the biggest personalities that overflowed with charisma. People flocked towards my dad. He was always the center of attention and my house was always filled with guests and friends. I think I won the lottery as far as family is concerned, because I do have the most amazing family in the world. My brothers also have the extremely difficult job of, aside from being investment bankers, to be my brothers. I rely on my family for everything and thank God they support me, because without them I wouldn't know left from right. I always say this and I mean it: family and health are the only things that matter in life. The rest is noise and fun.

Q. Describe the funny script writing you did please.

A. OMG so many... I wrote for TV and cinema in Brazil for eight years, so there were many. But I guess the one I'm most fond of is a short film I wrote and directed, and the script was a bunch of very famous lyrics to Brazilian songs spoken and woven into a fight between a couple. This script won a few awards in the short film circuit in Brazil. It was a comedy fight, but all spoken in very well-known lyrics. It worked pretty well and I'm very fond of it.

Q. What reality TV shows from the USA do you watch?

A. Oh God, I'm the worst... I watch them all. I'm obsessed with reality TV. Project Runway, Top Chef, The Biggest Loser, America's Next Top Model, Kardashians, American Idol (during audition phase, once they start screaming every note on that stage I get very bored), Pawn Stars, Teen Mom, Super Sweet 16, etc. If it's reality TV, I watch it. Yes, as you can see, I am clearly putting my brain to good use here.
However, I do not watch Jersey Shore, I hate that show. One day I was reading something on CNN and in the middle of this news story there was a mention of Snooki and it depressed me that CNN would reference her in a news piece, and even worse, that I knew who she was! Since then I quit with Jersey Shore for good.

Q. Is your blog funny or all about poker? Not to imply poker is boring, but
then again is it?

A. My blog is not necessarily funny, but it is entertaining because it's very personal, and I speak honestly (like I'm doing here with you). And whenever you speak truly about yourself and your personal life, and don't take yourself too seriously, people enjoy reading it because they can relate. I'm never scared of saying "I'm going through a bad poker phase" or "I'm on a downswing" or even "yesterday I got owned super hard." Same as when I'm going through a good phase or am winning--there really is no ego. I say the truth and tell it like it is because that keeps life simpler and allows me to evaluate myself. I rarely talk poker strategy in my blog or anywhere else, simply because I don't feel like I'm in any position to try and teach anyone anything when it comes to poker, since my game is constantly changing and evolving (I hope). And every time I feel like I've scratched the surface of a concept something else crumbles and everything starts up all over again. I think keeping my poker talk to a more personal lifestyle view keeps it fresh and interesting for the readers. Poker is only boring when you're not evolving with the game, and these phases happen (often). You must constantly be really self-critiquing, studying and adjusting in order to allow yourself to grow with your game and continue to enjoy it. It's not easy.

Q. Favorite hotel?

A. To be honest I'm sick of hotels. Being home is such a good feeling when you travel so much. I guess if I had to choose I'd probably say the Standard in New York, or the Plaza Athenee in Paris, but I'm really not fond of hotels at all.

Q. Favorite hotel swimming pool?

A. I like the pools at the Bellagio. But I'm also not much of a pool person. I like the beach but I stay away from the sun as much as possible. I put on SPF 100 all over anytime I leave the house, even to drive!

Q. Do you cook? Tell us about your gourmet skills and what your favorite dish is
that you make--or are you an order-in gal?

A. I am definitely not a cooking person. When I'm in my apartment in Vegas with David I make us lots of organic meals, but nothing fancy. We order a lot of sushi. When I'm home in Rio I bask in being pampered by my mom, so I eat whatever she magically makes appear in front of me!

Q. Can you beat your brothers at poker? What do they do?

A I can beat my brothers at everything! They are investment bankers. They are amazing people, so smart, and so handsome, they're really gorgeous. One is now single! Know anyone I can introduce him to?

Q. What luxurious things have you bought with your winnings?

A. I began to cash in 2005, but back then nobody was tracking me, and staying under the radar for so long made things much easier back then. I'm not a very extravagant person when it comes to purchases. And to be honest, I've kind of been fortunate enough to always have pretty much what I wanted. so I'm not really into extravagant purchases. I know that's a boring answer, but it's true.
Recently though I bought a bunch of Justin Bieber things as a joke for David on Valentine's Day! I guess that was pretty extravagant.

Q. You're into fashion. Explain to us the look for spring. What colors are in?

A. I love fashion but I'm not a fashion slave at all. I spend months without buying anything, then one fine day I freak out and go into four or five different stores and buy everything in such a speed it impresses my friends. And sometimes I even upset the salespeople because I don't try anything on (maybe shoes). They're like "why won't you try it on?" and all I can say is "Too lazy!" I know what I like, I know what will work. I hate shopping for hours. Right now I'm really into layering, wearing two t-shirts, one on top of the other, then a vest on top of it all--always mismatching prints and colors. (I find anything that is too matchy-matchy to be really tacky on me.) And I'm going through a very "basic colors" phase at the moment--like gray, dark greens, petroleum blues, black, and always white. White is the prettiest color and the most elegant of all. Any spice is usually added in the bag or shoes. And the hair, always the hair...

Q. You lost $1000 first time on the Internet? How did that feel?

A. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I couldn't believe that had happened to me. So in my disbelief I went and deposited another 1K, and obviously lost it again. I repeated this process a few times until I realized "Hey, if I'm losing, someone is winning, maybe I can win too - EUREKA!" The notion of making money with poker in the very beginning hadn't even crossed my mind. Talk about being a fish, right? People must have been salivating when they'd see me at the tables back then...

Q. So if this hadn't worked out, you'd be cutting hair. I need a decent cut. Are you trustworthy with scissors?

A. (Laughs) I'm 100% not trustworthy with scissors but I would end up convincing you that I am and make an adventure out of it, mess it all up and then convince you it looks gorgeous. 'Cause, what the heck, we had fun and that's all that matters! And I said cutting hair was something I'd love to have done if I was a different person in a different life. Because the truth is, I'm still a writer and director and eventually I will go back to that.

Sue Carswell
@PokerStars in PS Women