Interview With Lui Martins

Rarely seen without a huge smile, partypoker pro and ambassador Lui Martins is one of the main faces of online poker in Brazil, and has recently made a big splash on the live scene in his homeland too.

By: Andrew Burnett

HighStakesDB caught up with the highly-approachable Lui to find out how and why professional poker became his career, what a MILLIONS Live win this year would mean to him – and to dispel that longstanding myth about ‘crazy Brazilians’ at the poker tables!

Q: Who suggested the transition from WoW etc to online poker?

I was introduced to poker by a friend that used to host home games. As I always played a lot of stuff, poker was a natural "let's also try this out". At first I really didn't think I would get much into it compared to other video games/tabletop and e-sports, but here I am!

Q: How does it feel to be an ambassador/pro for the Brazilian partypoker market?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that it's a dream come true. I always loved to play against "the pros" when one was at my table. Having the partypoker logo beside my name and representing my country and partypoker as good as it gets.

Q: The MILLIONS LIVE South America is coming up – what would a deep run/win mean to you?

Reaching a final table on the biggest event ever in Brazil sounds absolutely breathtaking. I try not to think too much about it. My goal is to keep working hard on my game every day.

Q: What the daily grind like alongside João Simão and others?

I've played three years alongside Simão and he's the main reason I made it into professional poker! His teachings, experience and knowledge are amazing to witness and I feel privileged I had that opportunity.

Under Massari Team's name I played more than 20k tournaments online and did my best to study the hardest.

Q: How much did it contribute to your growth as a player?

It changed my life, to state the obvious. I used to be a singing teacher!

Q: Explain the Brazilian approach to poker, if there is one?

I don't believe there's much to be said on the pro scene specifically. Poker technique has a solid foundation between the professionals around the world and the deviations are not that wild.

There's this myth that we Brazilians are crazy on some country point of view just as most of the BRs complain that the Russians are completely out of line! Of course the recreational player will do some crazy stuff from time to time, some pros will go bananas on a spot - specially on a final table or near reaching it, but nothing like any myth suggests is true!
I don't believe there are specific population tendencies that only happen in one country or that are vastly more frequent in another.

Q: I heard you were a singing coach – is that still part of your life?

I sing to my 9-month old son every day, but that's about it! To be competitive and fresh in poker you need 100% dedication and focus.

Q: How did the partypoker role come about?

I met with Tom Waters in Sao Paulo at the WSOP Circuit and we spent some time together. We shared some thoughts about the upcoming poker scene in Brazil and the future of partypoker.

After a week of play, the event ended and we went on a quick vacation to Rio. There he told me he was looking for someone to represent Brazil and that João Simão thought I was the right guy for the job.

Q: partypoker make you boss for the day – what happens?

I would oblige Fedor Holz to teach me his magic ways.

Q: How does married life/fatherhood/family life impact on your poker?

Positively! My wife is and has always been my first and stronger supporter. Having a baby is a blessing and a motivation for harder work. The sleep schedule did change a lot, but nothing that love for the family and for the game can't handle.

Q: Is there a friendly rivalry in Brazilian poker circles? Who is top dog?

Since I play a lot online poker I haven't seen such rivalry because I play everyone from around the globe. Maybe in live poker there is!

Q: Design your own perfect partypoker tournament – what does it look like?

Definitely a turbo bounty tournament with KO's on my friends heads - and a friendly dose of trash talk!

Q: What is the most memorable/ridiculous/amazing poker experience you’ve had?

On the semi FT of the Main Event of the WSOP Circuit I cold4bet-called and all-in preflop. I had AQ x JTs on a huge pot BBxSBxBTN. The flop came 987r - for my total despair. Turn T and River J. I was so thrilled I asked the local reporter for a big hug!

Q: How much money would you have to be offered to give up poker?

10 millions sounds about right. Can I play for fun though?! :)

With such a positive approach to poker and everything he does, Lui will be looking to 2019 as the year when his online and live play bear equal fruit, with the MILLIONS Live South America in his native Brazil in March hopefully the first step.

If your Brazilian Portuguese language skills are up to scratch, you can also follow Lui Martins progress on his blog here.

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