Getting to know Leo Margets

With her recent addition to the PokerStars Team Pro roster, Leo Margets has become a recognizable and formidable force for women in the game. Her 27th place finish at the 2009 WSOP Main Event brought media notoriety and a cash of $352,832. Her first place finishes at the Full Tilt Master Series, the Spanish Poker Tour Grand Finale Invitational, and the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo Casino EPT Grand Final Ladies Event secured the title of champion. The Barcelona-born Spaniard learned the game from her boyfriend in 2007, and since those early days she has blazed a trail of final table finishes that earned her a place on poker's most prestigious team roster and a bankroll to match.

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We had the opportunity to ask her some questions recently about accomplishments and her goals for poker and life in general. She provides some insight into how she has achieved such great success while managing to keep a busy and challenging life in balance. And if you sometimes wonder if pro players have something in their DNA that makes them fearless at the table, you'll find your answer here.

PokerStars Women (PSW): You've had some amazing moments in your poker career, including your 27th place finish in the 2009 WSOP Main Event and several first place finishes. Now you've signed with PokerStars. When you started playing in 2007, did you have a goal in mind that looked anything like this?

Leo Margets (Leo): I don't think you should set your poker goals in terms of results. Results should be a consequence of other more realistic/achievable goals. Ultimately, it doesn't depend just on yourself whether you win a title or not. A goal should be something that you can work on and put your soul to, and in this regard, I think I had the right goals: getting better every day and wanting to learn and evolve with the game. I think I had the right approach to the game, managed to get some good results, and ultimately I had the best reward of my career - becoming part of the number one company in the world!

PSW: I understand that your boyfriend taught you to play. Was it something you had thought about doing before that time?

Leo: Not at all! The main reason was that I didn't know what poker was about. I thought it was just another table game. Christian, my boyfriend, taught me not only the rules, but what it was all about. Thanks to him, I got the right mindset. And I understood that if you work (harder now than it was around 2007/2008), you could get an edge on your rivals and win. That discovery made me love the game and want to get better at it.

I quickly fell in love with the tournament format because I am so competitive. So I started putting in a huge amount of time in both playing and studying the game. At some stage in the beginning, I remember thinking, "Hey, this game is going to change my life!" But I could never expect to what extent.

PSW: You seem to be fearless in your approach to life with so many achievements to your credit. Is there anything that scares you?

Leo: I think the key here is that I am not scared of failing. And that, in my opinion, is the recipe to success. You don't just wave a wand and get what you want. Ambitious goals need several attempts and a lot of work behind them. And I don't give up easily. I don't know if I am scared of anything, but if I was, I would definitely try to overcome that fear with as many attempts as necessary.

PSW: You won the EPT Ladies Event in Monte Carlo in 2012, and you've played a number of other ladies events as well. What appeals to you the most about ladies events?

Leo: I enjoy them much more than a regular tournament because of the hours of play and because the ladies at the table are usually in the mood to socialize and learn while playing, so you end up having a great time. I believe women's tournaments are good to introduce women to the game so they don't feel intimidated at the beginning. But as the player evolves, the aggression becomes the same for both sexes, with the innate advantage that women can control it better. They have naturally more emotional intelligence and empathy than men (which are great attributes to play poker)!

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PSW: I understand that you plan to play in the upcoming EPT Monte Carlo tournament. Since you've been there before, can you share a few pointers for things to see and do?

Leo: I think a visit to the Japanese Gardens is compulsory; it is like a mini oasis. I go there every day before playing and it gives me good vibes for the day. I also like running by the promenade seafront. It is a short one but pretty nice, and you can add some more km by running in the F1 circuit and inside the harbor watching all the unreal yachts.

PSW: So moving away from poker a bit, what kind of job do you think you would be doing now if you weren't playing poker?

Leo: Probably writing, or working freelance in sports events. But I never had a clear vocation. I just kept taking the opportunities that arose. But most certainly something as opposed as possible to a 9-5 job.

PSW: When you're at home relaxing what is your favorite thing to do?

Leo: Cuddling with my boys, Pep and Bauer! If you wonder who they are, here are some pictures!

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PSW: One final question, Leo. What is your next big goal?

Leo: I want to keep improving and keep up the good approach of putting time into studying and learning more. Poker is very demanding and requires a lot of extra work besides just playing hands if you want to be on the top. I also want to keep enjoying my life... I do that through poker and so many other things. I want to do an Ironman in 2014 and make sub 3:20 in a marathon. I also want to put time into the novel I wrote. It is finished, and I just need to go through it all and ask someone to have a look. But I'm not in a hurry. I like to flow!

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For more information on Leo, see her Team PokerStars Pro page. We will be following her at the upcoming EPT in Monaco, and she may add even more to her impressive list of championships and final tables.

For more information on PokerStars Women, see our home page, and keep up with all the daily news at our Facebook page.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women