Lee Davy sits down with Marvin Rettenmaier to talk about his love for music, his time spent in Playa Del Carmen, and his desires to win his first World Series of Poker bracelet.
I am playing the first flight in The Colossus. I have 5,000 chips and the blinds are increasing every 40-minutes. I am acutely aware that soon I will have a shoving stack. I become very cautious. I don’t want to waste chips. I am folding more than the origami champion of the world.
Behind me is the two-time World Poker Tour (WPT) champion, Marvin Rettenmaier. He started with 5,000 chips, he knows the blinds increase every 40-minutes, but he is playing a ton of hands. He seems to be doing everything I am not doing. He has a stack. I don’t. I catch up with him at the break to see if I can get any tips. This is what we talked about.
You are playing every hand. Are you some sort of fish or something?
“I’m trying to build a big stack so I can go into Day 2 with a sizeable advantage.”
It’s the complete opposite for me. I don’t want to buy-in a second time, so I have to play very tight. I guess this is how the pro gains an edge in these things.
“That’s without a doubt 100% correct. If this tournament were a Freezeout then I would have to play a lot tighter. But it’s not. It’s a $565 re-entry event, and I have four shots to build a big stack. I’ll take full advantage of that and gamble as much as I can.”
Have you been playing a lot of poker leading up to Vegas?
“I didn’t play many SCOOP events. I think I played the first weekend, and perhaps the Tuesday, but that was it. I am still playing a lot of live poker. I don’t like to cross time zones anymore, because it can really tire me out, but I feel like I am still amongst the top live grinders in the world. Now I’m here I am super-excited. I plan to play almost every day.”
What have you been doing outside of playing?
“I’ve been partying of course. I was in Playa Del Carmen for two and a half weeks prior to coming out to Vegas. Before that I was in Montreal for the WPT. I love Montreal. Playa is something else though. I have a lot of friends out there – mainly Americans who moved there post Black Friday – and it’s the sort of place that you can find a party at anytime: night or day. I also know a lot of the locals so that’s also fun. I think I might move there after the summer.
How has your music been progressing?
“I’m going to move out of London after the summer. When I choose somewhere to live I will take some time to settle in before taking more vocal and guitar lessons. Music is still a very important part of my life.”
What are your musical goals?
“I don’t really have any concrete goals. I like playing when I am on my own, and I like playing to an audience. It doesn’t matter to me if that’s 10-people in a pub, or 10,000 people in Madison Square Garden. It would be awesome to experience the latter, but lets be honest, if I get there then it would have become a full time job. I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
Which is more important to you: poker or music?
“That’s a close one; I like them both so much. I can’t pick one or the other.”
Are we going to see you on the X-Factor?
“That might happen one day. It’s something that I’ve considered. My mother wants me to apply, and I have a lot of friends who feel the same way. It could happen at some point.”
Do you think about the next 5-10 years of your life?
“I do, but not to the extent that it bothers me. I will still be playing poker, mainly 50% less than I do now. There will be some entrepreneurial work, and a lot of lying on the beach – and partying. As long as I don’t get tired of any of them, why change a life that I already enjoy?”
You were going to play in the first One Drop event. Do you still have a desire to play in the big buy-in events?
“It’s such a pain in the ass to sell for those types of events. It makes the whole thing too much work for me. I was interested in the first One Drop because half of the field was businessman. There was value in that, but I think that’s lessened of late. I have heard that Cary Katz is working hard to get players for the $500,000 at the Aria, but I’m not interested. I get more turned on by winning a tournament with a large field, rather than a 40-50 field event.”
During a recent interview with Patrick Leonard he spoke about the big egos that are prevalent in those games. Have you found that to be the case in High Roller events?
“I can see Patrick’s point of view. There are some players, especially the high stakes cash players, who have this ego thing going on. You sense there is a need amongst them to prove themselves. I’m talking about a small sample size, but the heads-up guys in particular seem to have quite big egos. There is a lot of needle within that community, with people thinking they are the best at what they do.
“Look at this event though. It’s a $565 buy-in and everyone is so serious. I would have thought there would be drinking, and a whole lot of fun. I haven’t seen anyone laughing and joking, and nobody is drinking. It’s serious, that’s for sure.”
Do you still harbor dreams of winning a bracelet?
“For sure I do. I don’t get pissed that I haven’t won one yet, but I do get pissed about the way I have ran. That was especially true of last year, and the beginning of this one. I have just won my first all-in and I am so excited about that.”
Do you handle tilt very well?
“It’s one of my strengths. Usually it doesn’t influence my game. But last year there was this incident where I let my guard down. As a professional you should never do that, but I did.
“I was involved in a hand when I should have check-called, but I check-shoved because I was scared I would lose the pot. The hand didn’t make sense. I played it bad because I was running so badly. Fortunately, it was a one-time deal. It bothers me when I lose. I love winning, but usually I handle the losses quite well.”