PokerStars Caribbean Adventure -- A Conversation with Sergio Garcia
The Professional Golfer Talks about Learning to Play Poker
Of the 28 players who won their way into day 1A of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the $1,100 super satellite last night there was quite a notable inclusion, Spanish professional golfer Sergio Garcia. He won the PokerStars sponsored Estrellas en Juego poker television show last year so this is not his first foray into the game.
Garcia became a professional golfer in 1999 after shooting the lowest score for an amateur at The Masters. He won his first European Tour event the same year and became the youngest ever Ryder Cup competitor. He has spent much of his career in the official world golf rankings top ten and has seven PGA wins under his belt.
He decided to play today after winning his seat, joining the field on his 31st birthday. Garcia busted shortly before the end of level 4 and Card Player caught up with him to learn about his immersion into the game of poker.
Ryan Lucchesi: How did you first get into playing the game?
Sergio Garcia: I watched a lot of poker on TV on ESPN, the World Series of Poker main event, and then a friend of mine introduced me a couple of years ago. I enjoy it. I play a little bit and I’m trying to do my best. I know what I do for a living and that is playing golf. I don’t forget that. I enjoy playing a little bit, it’s good fun.
RL: Do you play more online or live when you get the chance to play?
SG: I like to play live. I play very, very little online.
RL: Is part of that because when you’re golfing it is just you and the caddy out there alone playing against the course, so poker maybe gives you a more social outlet in which to be competitive?
SG: Yeah, I guess a little bit. I definitely enjoy a nice energetic table. It is good fun and it is all a learning process for me. I’m still very new to all of this and I need to keep playing some of these big events and I will get better as it goes on.
RL: It looks like you are on an accelerated learning curve due to your super satellite win yesterday. How did you feel about that experience?
SG: It was great. I was struggling quite a bit and got to a point where I only had 1,500 chips and I managed to get myself back and I caught some good cards in some good places, and I managed to get myself in the top 28 to get a seat for today. It was good fun, I would have loved to do a little bit better today, but that’s what it is.
RL: How was your tournament experience today?
SG: I actually was doing quite well and catching pretty good cards, but unfortunately I got tumbled in a strong hand with ace-jack on the button. A jack hit on the flop but somebody else had a set of fours. Unfortunately I lost 30,000 chips there. I was doing well but that crippled me. I tried to get back and lost with ace-10 against ace-jack.
RL: One thing I have noticed today is that a lot of the poker players have been excited to meet you and talk to you. Who have you spoke with today? Did they give you any advice?
SG: I talked to a couple of players. I talked to Humberto Brenes and I was introduced to Daniel Negreanu. This is just the beginning and I think as the week goes on hopefully I will get to meet some more of them, it’s been fun.
RL: Golf is really a lifetime sport where you can spend your whole life chasing perfection but nobody will ever shoot a perfect score of 18. Poker is similar as a lifetime mental sport, where you can always improve your play. Do you find that golf and poker echo each other a lot that way?
SG: Definitely, I think they do. Trying to be very good at something is always difficult. It always takes a lot of practice and I don’t think that poker is different from any other sport, like golf, or tennis or soccer would be. It is definitely a learning process and that’s why I’m hoping to keep working on it.
RL: Can you take the concentration you apply to lining up a putt in a pressure-filled situation at The Masters and apply that to your poker game?
SG: I guess the good thing is that I feel quite calm out there on the table. It’s just a matter of making the right calls. If you manage to do that then you will do well.
RL: Do you think we will see you at more major tournaments in the coming months?
SG: Hopefully yeah, I would love to if my schedule allows me.
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