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Vegas Bound

As the WSOP final table approaches—finally!—GOM catches up with another couple of title contenders. This time, we peer into the lives of Scott Montgomery and Craig Marquis, the former having nearly twice the chip stack as the latter. But being poker, anything can happen as we’ll soon find out.

Scott Montgomery

GOM: What do you think your chances were of making the final table? Did you stick to a certain strategy from the beginning?

Scott Montgomery: With around 1/700 people making the final table of this tournament, I gave myself about a 1/100 chance or so to make the final table. I try never to have a strategy that is locked in stone. It’s always best to be able to constantly adjust to the dynamics of whatever table you are at.

And now is it back to the routine at home? Describe what that is, exactly.

I spent the first month or so back at home [Perth, Ontario]. I just needed some time to relax and hang out with friends and family. I’d been on the road for a few months so I a needed a break. But now, it’s back to the grind. My two favourite things are travel and poker, so anytime I can combine the two I’ll be in. So I’m back on the circuit and planning on getting as many tournaments in as I can between now and Nov 9.

Which ones?

WPT Legends of Poker, EPT Barcelona, WSOPE, EPT London, WPT Niagara Falls, and WPT Festa Al Lago. I don’t want to go into the final table and be feeling rusty.

How was your reception when you came back home from Vegas after making the final table?

Everybody I talked to back home was very supportive. Lots of congrats everywhere I went. Everyone I know seems to want to come down to Vegas to watch the final table, which should be great. It’ll be nice having a big crowd cheering for me.

Are you in touch with any of the other guys who made the final table?

I’ve talked to a few of the other guys. It’s kind of awkward, actually. They all seem like nice enough guys, but you don’t want to get too friendly with them and maybe lose your edge at the poker table.

Who do you think is your biggest threat?

No comment. Wouldn’t want anyone at the table to think I was afraid of them.

Do you have any plans for the money you’re guaranteed from the Main Event, or the winner’s take if you claim the bracelet?

Nothing too big planned. Honestly, I just took the money I have already received and invested it. I’m pretty miserly with my money, so no big purchases are planned in the near future. Of course, with $9million, that might change my plans a little. I’d love to buy a nice place in Vegas, so that’s on the top of my list of things to get if I won the tournament.

What inspired you to start playing poker?

I’m part of the new generation that first found out about poker by seeing it on TV. Just the idea that people could make a living by travelling the world playing cards seemed crazy. But as soon as I realised it could be done, I knew I had to try it for myself. So, I started to play online, and after a few years when I built up my bankroll and improved my skills enough, I quit my job and started playing poker full time.

What do you miss most when you’re away from home?

Without a doubt, home cooking. No restaurant can compare to a good home-cooked meal with family.

Craig Marquis

GOM: What do you think your chances were of making the final table?

Craig Marquis: I honestly never go into a tournament expecting to do well. I played a bunch of preliminary events leading into the Main Event and was running terribly and having absolutely no results. I told all my friends I was saving up all my luck and run good for the Main Event, and it ends up I did.

Did you stick to a certain strategy from the beginning?

I changed my strategy a lot throughout the tournament depending on table dynamics. Early however, I tried to avoid playing huge points and just chipped away at my opponents and accumulated chips without risking much of my stack.

And now is it back to the routine at home? Describe what that is, exactly.

Things have actually just started to calm down. I pretty much get up each day, eat, check out some tables online, play a bit if good games are running, take a break to eat lunch, then load up some more tables and grind some more. I’m a really heavy online player, and I think the best way for someone to improve is by putting in tons of hands/hours and talking to other good players about hands, so I try to do that as much as possible.

How was your reception when you came back home from Vegas after making the final table?

It was pretty awesome. My entire family has always been very supportive of me, and they’re all extremely proud. While I’ve been playing professionally for over a year, going deep in essentially the second biggest tournament in the history of poker really legitimises you as a player. It gives a lot of the people who don’t understand how poker works a tangible accomplishment for them to wrap their head around.

What inspired you to start playing poker?

My poker career was essentially launched by jealousy. I went to a New Year’s party with one of my friends in January 2007. It ended up being David Benefield and Tom Dwan’s house in Fort Worth. I looked around at this awesome party in this nice house with all these nice things and sweet cars, and found out that online poker paid for all of it. I told myself, “These guys aren’t any smarter than I am. If they can do this, so can I.” The next day I deposited $100 on Full Tilt Poker, and started grinding the $5.50 sit and goes. I also became really good friends with Tom and Dave and they helped me grow as a player and increase my understanding of the game. Then I just stuck to it and kept grinding, trying to always focus on getting better.

How much time are you devoting during this time off before the final table to hone your game?

I’ll be grinding the cash games a bunch online, as that’s my bread and butter. I’m not exactly sure how much time I’ll put into specific final-table training, but I’m sure when we get closer to playing, I’ll focus on it a lot more.

Are you in touch with any of the other guys who made the final table?

I’m not really good friends with any of the other final tablists. However with all of us going through similar things, there is a sort of camaraderie I feel we’ve developed.

Who do you think is your biggest threat?

Unfortunately for myself I think that they’re all very solid players. Way better than what I would expect a tournament of this size to have at the final table. Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov especially.

Now that you’re on the Full Tilt team, are you going to play a lot of international tournaments?

I’m definitely going to play WSOP Europe. Beyond that I’m not really sure. I feel that the World Series tournaments are just way too good to pass up each year, but I think the tournament circuit is significantly harder than a lot of the World Series events. How many I play throughout the year will probably depend on how well I do in November.

Do you have any plans for the money you’re guaranteed from the Main Event, or the winner’s take if you claim the bracelet?

My big purchase if I ended up winning would probably be an Aston Martin DBS. I’d definitely enjoy being able to roll around James Bond style. I’d also purchase a house, but I’m planning to do that regardless of how I finish.
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