This afternoon Americas Cardroom announced their newest ACR Team Pro is Ana Marquez. ACR teased the new appointment with a guess-the-silhouette raffle on Twitter. Punters could win one of two $215 tourney tickets just for taking a guess at who might be in line for the position.
Marquez is unlikely to be an unfamiliar name to those that follow poker closely.
She has over $1.8 million in cashes on her Hendon Mob page, a couple of WSOP final tables, and was GPI’s female player of the year in 2013. More recently, she took 3rd at the 2019 partypoker Millions in Vegas (one of her favorite cities to play, she tells me, along with Melbourne, Australia), shortly before live poker went on hiatus for the pandemic.
Poker.org was able to speak to Marquez ahead of the announcement, about her poker career and joining a new site as a sponsored pro.
Starting out in poker
Marquez started playing poker in the early noughties while taking a year off before her final year of university.
After growing up in Malaga, Spain, she attended the American University in D.C. where she was studying history, applying her early interest in ancient Egypt. However, her year off sent her down a different path.
“I was taking a break from my last year of university to figure out what to write my history thesis about,” Marquez explains. “In that time, I found poker through my university friends. Having extra free time, I immersed myself in the strategy of the game, which made me fall in love with it.”
The final year thesis that she settled on was about the history of poker from the 1970s to the present, a rich field tracking more or less with the rise of the World Series of Poker and old school greats like Doyle Brunson and Puggy Pearson.
Marquez turned her newfound passion for poker into profit, giving herself another year off after university to take the game more seriously. She decided to see if could cut it as a pro in that time. It turns out, she could.
“I felt so much passion for the game, right from the beginning, ever since I started studying and playing poker. As soon as I invested in the very real possibility of turning pro, I gave myself a shot — to try to make it for one year in between my bachelor’s and master’s degree.”
Coming to Americas Cardroom
“It is hard to keep a good balance between being humble,” she added later in the interview. “But in my first live tournaments, after coming from online poker, I was already feeling pretty good about my play.”
Marquez rose rapidly in stakes, becoming Spain’s top-ranked player for two years running on the GPI leaderboards. She had gone from studying poker history to becoming it.
Along the way, she moved into high-stakes tournament poker, a variant she compares to competitive athletics.
“My style of play is methodical and professional,” she explained. “As a tournament player in the high-stakes world, I think my preparation for the game has to be similar to how elite sportspeople prepare for their events. Performance is key to success. So my entire life revolves around becoming the best version of myself, bringing my A-game to the table as much as possible.”
After sponsorship deals with first PokerStars and, more recently, with 888poker, Marquez has now joined ACR at what she feels is the peak of her game.
“The pandemic gave me so much more time to study and grind online. It has improved my game massively. It has been a bit tough to avoid hitting burnout, but overall it is a really positive experience for my game.”
She first came into contact with the ACR team at last year’s WSOP, where she was able to celebrate her 35th birthday.
“I had the pleasure to meet and hang out with the ACR Punters Pad!” she explained, then added with a laugh: “I guess they liked me.”
Featured image source: ACR