Marquee Player!: The Craig Marquis Interview

The Arlington, Texas native has a background in cash games but he might be looking to play a few tournaments if he continues to dominate the competition like he's doing now. chatted with Marquis moments after Day 6 concluded.

So if you don't mind, Craig, could you tell us how your day went?

It went really well. I came into the day with a little under $2 million - I think I had $1.7 million or so, which was about average. I managed to run that all the way up to $11.5 million.

Some of our readers might not know that much about your background. Whereabouts are you from and how long have you been playing?

I'm from Arlington, Texas, and I'm mainly an online player. I've been playing poker for about a year and a half now. I started in January of 2007. A friend of mine named Dave played and I was like, "He's no smarter than me, I can do this." [laughs] Anyways he helped me out a bit and I got into it.

Do you play mostly tournaments or cash?

It's mostly cash games. Lately I've been focusing on heads-up cash games. I don't play a whole lot of tournaments. The World Series of Poker is pretty much the only set of tournaments I play.

Craig Marquis
Sometimes known as craigmarq.

How many events did you play this year?

This year I've probably played around 18 events. Last year I played a little bit less. I actually cashed in only one of the 18 events I played coming into this one. There was a little pressure going into the Main Event because I really wanted to get unstuck for the WSOP.

What's the biggest win you've had in live poker?

Well I cashed last year for like $16,000 in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event and that was my biggest cash in live poker. I haven't won a major poker tournament yet.

This would be the one to do it in ...

Yeah, it's funny - I've been joking with my roommates because I've been running pretty awful the whole Series and I kept telling that I was saving all my run-good for the Main Event and it's actually worked out that way.

What was the turning point for you in this tournament?

There were a couple big hands I played on Day 4. I started Day 4 with $147,000 chips and near the end of the night I won two big pots. In the first hand I flopped the nuts and it was really easy to play that hand. I cooler'ed some guy pretty bad. I got up to about $500,000 or so and then I had a hand near the end of the night that doubled me up to about $1 million.

Brandon Cantu
One of the players between Marquis and the final table.

Today was obviously pivotal as I went from $1.7 million to close to $12 million. I had a couple big hands today that really swung the momentum my way.

What do you think of the level of competition at this point of the tournament?

Considering that 6,800 people enter the Main Event the field that's left is really, really sick. The competition is pretty tough right now, to be honest with you, which is definitely surprising. You'd assume there would be weaker players than there are.

The table I started with was pretty good for me but toward the end of the day I had about $6 million chips and on my side of the table there were about $40 million chips in play. There were a lot of good players that were really deep. It was hard to play pots against those players.

Do you feel comfortable playing that deep?

Yes and no. I mean I play cash games mostly so I'm used to playing about 100 big blinds deep. The difference is that this is for a lot of money [laughs]. Playing that deep is pretty stressful, especially when you have really aggressive players. Brandon Cantu, for one, is really aggressive. He puts you in tough positions where it's hard to move forward unless you have a really good hand.

The field
From 6,888 players to 27 = not bad.

What is your opinion of the final-table delay?

I think it's bad for the people that make the final table but I think it's good for poker in general. The players who aren't good that make the final table are going to get coaching. It's going to make for a more competitive final table but that's not necessarily good for the players who were already skilled going into it.

Say you made the final table, what would you do in the months leading up to it?

I don't know; I guess I would probably focus on ... Actually, I don't think I would play a single hand of poker between now and then, to be honest with you. I would take a long break and just come back refreshed and ready to play.

I would honestly be happy with just making the final table. That's already like winning the lottery. I would be thrilled with that. Winning the whole thing would obviously be great too.

What is your approach heading into tomorrow?

I'm going to play the same way I have the entire tournament. I've been playing mostly smaller pots and I don't think I've had all my chips in the middle more than three times, I believe. I'm just going to try and stay focused and play solid poker, which is really difficult when there is this much money on the line and there are so many distractions.

Thanks and good luck tomorrow.

Thank you.


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Craig Marquis is a likable guy who actually seems to have some serious skills, especially considering what event this is. So far no chip leader has taken control of the 2008 Main Event but Marquis will have the chance to do just that tomorrow. Is he final-table bound? You'll have to check our coverage to find out.

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