Inteview with Marc "_myst_" Karam

Marc "_myst_" Karam

Marc "_myst_" Karam is one the biggest winners on the Microgaming network of 2007 and 2008. Marc is from Canada and has basically been playing poker or cards for all of his life. We ask him how he got into playing poker for a living and what obstacles he thinks you need to overcome to be successful at this difficult game. Read below to see what his answers were.

First of all, Marc, thanks for giving us this chance to have an interview with you. Let's start it with how you hooked up with poker?

- I've been playing cards since I was a child, so I guess I was just attracted to poker naturally. I started playing for fun on the Internet and little $5 tournaments at my friends' houses.

How long it took for you to notice that poker might be beneficial? When being a poker pro came in question?

- It took over 3 years before I developed my game to a level where I thought I could make a comfortable living from it. When I started making a week's salary in 1 hour at the poker table, I knew it was time to give it a shot.

While learning how to play poker, what you think was the most important thing in developing to a better player?

- Bankroll management, and controlling tilt by separating your emotions from the game.

As a youngster, what was your dream to be when you "grow up"? What do you think of that dream now? Was there ever an idea of poker?

- I always aspired to be a professional football player. I got all the way up to semi-pro but it was either work or football. And my family wasn't well off so I had to quit football to focus on making money. As soon as I started playing poker I knew that I wanted to eventually play for a living.

What do you think about poker books & videos made for people to learn poker? Do you think there can be really something learned in those?

- The only poker book I have is "Play Poker Like A Pro" by Phil Hellmuth and I didn't find it helped me at all, it might be useful for someone who has no clue what they are doing. I never believed you could learn to play poker very well from a book, since everyone has their own style of play, and you can never truly copy someone else's. Although I'm sure if you read many good books you could probably take bits and pieces from each one and add them to your arsenal, but I choose to learn it from experience.

For you, what are the best things in being a professional poker player? Anything you'd like to change in the lifestyle?

- I like that you are your own boss, you don't have to wake up at a certain time, and you can never be late for anything. I'm bad with being late for things. Also, I like that you can make huge sums of money in short periods of time. The only thing I don't like about the lifestyle is the 30 hour flights and being away from home for extended periods of time.

You have been running good in live tournaments, such as European Poker Tour & Aussie Millions. Are you planning to attend these events in future? What's next for you?

- Yes, I have been running well in live tournaments. I have made the final TV table in 3 of the last 4 major tournaments I have played in. I will definitely return to play in the same events next year and I'll probably play a few more big ones this year.

The state of online poker is pretty bad right now, at least when talking about poker in US. Have you noticed a huge difference in the games since this new law came into the picture?

- Well, since I play mostly on the Prima Network, I haven't seen any effect at all. Most of the players on this network are European.

Recently we've seen you beating Microgaming's (Prima) $50/$100 NL games. Do you think this particular level & game fits the best for you?

- Yeah, I think this is the most comfortable level for me. I tried $200/$400 NL for a while and it went well at first but then I took a downswing which really hurt my profits. To play this game comfortably I would like to have at least $2 million online, which I don't have... yet. ;)

Thanks a lot for your time Marc. Last thing we'd like to know is, for a player who wants to be a poker pro one day, what's the best advice you can give them?

- Don't rush into it. If you are going to quit your job, try to get an extended vacation or a leave of absence, just in case it doesn't work and you want to go back. Track your winnings and make sure you have a consistent win rate, and are able to constantly make enough money to comfortably survive on.

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