He may be one of the newest Full Tilt Poker Ambassadors, named to the team just before FTP Galway got underway last week, but Martins Adeniya is far from a new face on the poker circuit.
From 2009 on he's piled up a seventh-place finish at EPT London, a third place in an FTOPS Main Event and several deep runs in major tournaments around the globe.
Still, Adeniya is yet to nail down that one, career-defining score that completely distances himself from his past career in London as a stock trader.
Adeniya Distances Himself From Stock Trading
In Ireland to begin his role as an FTP Ambassador, Adeniya spared some time for PokerListings Italy's Giovanni Angioni and mapped map out his path from city trader to the doorstep of a major poker tournament win.
Martins Adeniya: I was on a good career path. I graduated from one of the top universities in UK with a good degree, I got a good job in the city … but then I started focusing too much on poker.
My hunger has always been to make as much money as possible. And when you see on TV like I did back when I was younger, people like Gus Hansen or Phil Ivey at WPTs and things like that … well you just get inspired.
They made me think that’s really where I want to be.
PokerListings: We've all dreamed about that once or twice. But then most of us kept our 9-5 jobs and kept dreaming ...
MA: Let’s say that back then I knew I could happily grind out a career earning anything from 50 to 100K a year. But that’s not my goal. I am looking to make a real big splash in the poker world.
Once I finished university, I had a job and I still went through a period of time when I was maybe doubling or tripling my salary every month for about six months straight just playing poker.
PL: And then you just dropped trading for poker?
MA: No, then I finished third in the FTOPS Main Event and won 180K. That’s when I thought that I could probably do that. So I carried on working for some six more months even if I felt my focus wasn’t on work anymore.
And I decided to give poker a shot. I was at that stage where I felt I was better than most of the players I played against. I felt I was really ready to start.
Plus, should things turn out to be wrong, I still have a personal history and a good degree.
PL: Still, you want to make money and you are in the city – so it all seems just about right. Then you decide to drop it and move into poker. How could you convince your closest friends that it was the right thing to do without getting an “are your crazy?!” as an answer?
MA: With my friends it was easy as they could see I was pretty successful in poker and they were able to see my progress in the game.
With my parents, on the other hand, it took more time. When I did get my win on Full Tilt I didn’t quit my job straight away.
And they agreed with this. I remember they told me “know what you are doing before you take a decision” so I carried on working for a few more months.
Then I gave them a nice amount of money coming from my poker winnings. So once they saw that I was comfortable and they were comfortable … they were happy and started supporting me.
PL: Would you go back to wearing a suit and a tie and working in the city again?
MA: If I would go back to the business world, it would be on my own terms. I would be my own boss. That’s what I got used to.
PL: But now you are a Full Tilt Poker Ambassador instead. How does that feel? Why you?
MA: I feel the reason why me personally and the rest of the team was selected is for bridging the gap between the average players – the online qualifiers – and the pros.
We are representing Full Tilt here, we are “Ambassadors” of the company and we are here to give any sort of insight on the way the poker room works.
We have all the knowledge we need, we know what happened in the past and we know where we are on now. So we are happy to be approached by anyone.
At the same time we are also playing with Gus (Hansen), Viktor (Blom) is going to be here – a lot of big players are coming here to Galway and we will all work together as a team.
PL: Some say that the names of the Ambassadors might not really convince new players to join the game.
MA: I feel that as a team we are going to bring more and more players in.
PL: About your play ... besides that 7th place in London, something similar happened in Deauville and Prague. You run deep, get the chip lead, crush the tables … and …
MA: Yes, that has been a common point in even more tournaments. World Series, EPTs, WPTs … everywhere.
I have been able to crash the tours and go very deep until I just happened to loose that last crucial flip at the end. I always have big stacks, so the pot that I am playing is generally for the tournament win.
PL: Exactly like EPT London
MA: In London, for example, the flip I lost would definitely have put me in the top two spots. But it went in another way.
PL: Is it bad cards? Bad stress management?
MA: What is the reason why I lose those hands?
PL: Yes, because it can be bad cards once or twice … but every time in similar situations …
MA: It happened I think over 10 times. There has been times when it has been because of bad cards, other times when I have been unlucky, times when I have just been on the other side of the flip.
And sometimes it all just comes down to a coin flip. There’s a lot of variance in tournament poker. But at the end of the day I still feel I am playing well, I am doing all the right things
PL: Which seems true judging from your FTP patch.
MA: Exactly. I just feel it’s a matter of time before I make that breakthrough and win a major tournament. And I am sure that’s what Full Tilt sees in me as well.