888Live Barcelona: Ana Marquez – “I was burned out playing everything.”

More coverage from 888Live Barcelona as Lee Davy sits down with the former Global Poker Index Spain #1, Ana Marquez, to discover what she’s been up to since I last saw her in 2013, her views on burning out and much more. 

888Live Barcelona: Ana Marquez - “I was burned out playing everything.”Ana Marquez left PokerStars in 2013.

Back then she was a bit of a wiz, topping the Spanish Global Poker Index (GPI) charts, and winning events like the Hollywood Poker Open. And then nothing. Not a blip. Earlier this year, she popped up on my radar at 888Live Bucharest, winning the High Roller, and now, here she is, five years later, sitting on a couch in a figure-hugging creme dress sipping on a cocktail that wouldn’t look out of place in Del Boy’s hand.

I hadn’t spoken to her since she left the Red Spade, so it was time for hugs, not shakes. I kissed her and screwed up the whole Spanish double kiss thing, and we settled in for a brief chat about life since that split from Stars.  

Where have you been? 

“Same as always, playing a lot. I had a break for a few years because I was pretty burned out playing everything. I have been trying to find more balance lately.”

How do you know when you’re burned out? 

“I noticed when I started not to enjoy it anymore. I was so tired. I would sit down in a tournament, and I didn’t want to be there. I love poker, so it was a big warning for me. Sometimes, you don’t realise all the travelling, playing, the stress you place on yourself, it takes its toll.”

How does it feel when things are not going right? 

“It can get frustrating, you are trying to do your best and putting in so much effort, but the tournament life is harsh. You can have long runs without hitting anything.”

What things did you have to push to the side so you could be 100% focused on poker? 

“I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t eating healthily. I wasn’t working out; I wasn’t meditating. I had nothing outside of poker. I focused on one thing. Now I have found yoga, meditation, and I have even found time to paint.”

Tell me more about the painting. 

“I come from a family of painters. My sister and mum are incredible painters. I see colour everywhere, and I love it. I have always done it. It’s a form of meditation, and fun, for me. I use it to decompress.”

Are you heading to Vegas? 

“Yeah, straight after this.”

How are you going to handle things differently this time? 

888Live Barcelona: Ana Marquez - “I was burned out playing everything.”“It’s hard. What I have learned the most in the past couple of years is to have a routine. It helps a lot. If you’re eating healthy, working out at the same time, you feel good. You go to the tournaments with energy. In the past, I was unprepared. Today, I don’t play if I don’t feel good. Before it was all about volume. I would finish playing live and then go and play online regardless of how I felt. Today, if I don’t feel fit, I don’t play. I do something else. It makes no sense putting in volume if you are burning money.”

I know you love your online poker, how do you feel when you see so many countries making it so difficult to play? 

“Why? Why are they making our lives so difficult? It’s scary. I am always hoping that poker grows. I am an optimistic person, so I have to believe people are figuring out what to do with this industry and everything will work itself out.”

If you could fast forward five years, tell me something you would be angry about for not succeeding? 

“Now, I am doing things that are good for me. Four years ago, I would have said, ‘Why didn’t you get a routine earlier? Why didn’t you take more care of yourself? Right now, I am optimistic I will change who I am. In five years, I will be more proud. I am not a person who regrets a lot. Everything happens for a reason. You learn from everything you do that’s bad. I won’t regret much. It has taught me a lesson, and that lesson is precious. I am coming back stronger this time.”

How does poker make you feel?

“Amazing. I love it. Poker has always been in my heart.”