Breaking it down with Ana Marquez
Spanish Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez combines a crowded schedule of EPTs and live tour stops with commitment to her online game. Recent successes include a deep run in the Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event in Madrid, a cash in EPT Berlin and a second place finish in April in the prestigious major, the Sunday 500. Ana is currently playing a number of events in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. She talked to PokerStars Women about recent improvements in her game, her color-coding system and a fashion blunder at the Monte Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final.
PSW (PokerStars Women) -Tell us about playing in high-stakes online tournaments like the Sunday 500 or the Super Tuesday. How do they differ from larger fields like the Sunday Million?
AM (Ana Marquez)-The biggest adjustment you have to make is to know when you are playing someone who doesn't usually play and someone who plays this tournament every week.
PSW-Do you use a heads-up display (HUD) to track statistics?
AM-No. I'm not a numbers person, it confuses me. You learn to pay attention. I have a lot of notes on people. That's my HUD.
PSW-So you color code?
AM-Yeah that's my favorite thing to do. For a calling station, it's orange. The best players are yellow. Green for tight. Red for aggressive.
PSW-How many tables do you play on a Sunday?
AM-About eight. If I'm traveling I'm on the laptop, so sometimes it's harder to put more tables. If I'm at my house, I sometimes play up to 15.
PSW-So when you got deep in the Sunday 500 were you in a bunch of other tournaments?
AM-No, I stopped registering. Sometimes I like to register for a turbo or a mixed tournament on the side to keep myself entertained but that night I remember I was really tired so I just wanted to focus the best I could on the 500.
When I finished I was like "Oh my god, I came second in the Sunday 500, let's go celebrate!" After such a score ($57,590)you're so excited you can't even go to sleep.
PSW-What are some of the things that you've been more attuned to that may account for your recent success?
AM-I try to look for dead money wherever I can, whether it's preflop or post. Or try to pick on players who I think are weak. One of my problems is that when I play live, I don't get paid off as often on my big hands because I'm a girl. So I need to make sure I keep chipping up to compensate.
PSW- I interviewed your teammate Sandra Naujoks, and she said that she has to make a lot of hero calls because people bluff her a lot as a woman. Do you find that as well?
AM-Yes, definitely. That's something that has become so standard. Usually, you encounter this against worse players. Good players are going to try to take your chips in big pots. They're not going to try to triple barrel you randomly in a blind vs. blind pot. They're going to wait for a big pot and check/raise on the turn and shove on the river with the nuts or nothing. I feel they have more creative moves.
PSW-So when you add it all up, is it an advantage or disadvantage to be a woman in live poker?
AM-It's funny I've been having this debate with myself lately. It definitely can be an advantage but to win tournaments, you have to be table captain. You have to take control. If you're acting like the weak girl, you're not taking control of the table and you're more likely to be played back at and be bluffed. So when you're trying to bluff there are going to be people trying to bluff somebody who may be bluffing you already.
PSW-I would guess it would be more of a problem in cash games than in tournaments because it's so important to get value in cash while with escalating blinds and antes, it can't be too terrible to have a tight image, right?
AM-Yeah what you're saying is true and that's what I thought at the beginning. But I exploited that strategy a lot, stealing by repping huge hands later in the tourney. But then I always got short and it was about making it there, making it there, making it there and then busting with two or three tables left. Why? Because you don't have chips if you don't get in chip leader pots or big pots. So right now I'm trying to play way more aggressive. I'm trying to make people pay me off.
I've been at tables where every time I raise someone at the table says "Ooooh aces, oooooh." If you're going to do that, I'm going to raise your blind every single time and I'm going to outplay you on every flop. When I do have the aces, that's when you're going to be tired of me raising your blind. No more playing like a girl!
PSW-Hey, Play Like a Girl is the name of one of my books (about chess) but I meant it in a good way! Do you ever show bluffs?
AM-Personally, I don't want to show my bluffs. I don't want them to know I'm good. I'd rather make them think I'm bad.
PSW-So you want them to think you're aggressive, but bad aggressive?
AM-Yeah, If I show them a bluff, they know my process of thinking.
PSW-Tell us about a big hand you played from a recent major live tournament.
AM-At the Grand Finale in Monaco I think I played really well. In day one, I opened with pocket jacks in the first or second level. My table was very active but not aggressive . . . a lot of calling. Three people called and the small blind re-raised. The small blind was a guy I played with a lot deep in Berlin so I knew how he played. Normally when he three-bet out of position and made it kind of smallish, he had a good hand. But he made it small enough, and we were deep enough to call with jacks. The other two people also called. The flop was nine-high rainbow. He bet, I called, the other two folded. The turn was a ten, I called. Normally I would call the flop and fold a lot of turns, maybe even that turn. But I think I had a bit of tell on him with his bet-sizing. When he had a good hand he was betting closer to full pot, and here he was betting half-pot. A queen came on the river, he checked and I checked behind then he jammed his cards into the deck. He probably had ace-king.
PSW- If he's going to play that way you think he either should give up on the turn or fire again on the river?
AM-Yes, definitely that's why I think the hand is interesting. If you're going to bet the turn, you got to bet big on the river and represent aces. Or give up on the turn, especially without any backdoors. It's a common mistake that I used to make a lot...trying to barrel twice and then check/fold on the river. It's because you know they're weak and you want to do it but then you just chicken out and you're like "check" but [in cases like this] you have to jam or bet big, unless it's a bad river obviously. If you're repping something big, you got to rep it till the end.
PSW-Which are your favorite places on the European Poker Tour?
AM- Barcelona, Monte Carlo and San Remo. I don't know why but I always have a lot of fun in San Remo.
PSW-What about Monaco? What do you think about the nightlife and the fashion?
AM- I love it but I had one embarrassing experience this time. So when I busted the main event in Monaco, I did what I always do when I bust from a Main event-- go to my room, change my pants, put my hoodie and flats on. Looking like a disaster, you know? So I run into my friends, and they invite me to dinner. I think they are going to go somewhere around here. They take me to Buddha Bar (a fancy nightclub). I was looking like a 15-year-old high school girl and everyone else is dressed for the catwalk, Louboutin shoes, Fendi bags. It was a really cool club though.
PSW-Do you like fashion?
AM-Yes, that's why I felt so terrible.
PSW-Cause it's a waste, you have all these great clothes that you don't usually get a chance to wear?
AM-Exactly . . . and there I was with the bright yellow hoodie and the pink flats.
PSW-Any tips for members of the PokerStars Women community on snagging your bounty in the Women's Sunday?
AM-When I start my Sunday grind, I search for Bryn (Bryn Kenney, Ana's boyfriend) and see what he's playing and just register what he's playing for. He's obviously not a woman so not registered for the Women's Sunday so I sometimes get in late. And then I have a shallow stack. So pretty much, if you want my action in the PokerStars Women Sunday at the start I'm going to shove on you a lot of the time but it's usually going to be with good hands.
PSW-What are your WSOP plans?
AM- I'll play as much as I can. Probably all the small ones and some of the 5Ks and of course the Main Event. I love Las Vegas.