The second installment of Grind Station profiles Marc “PlayinWitDreams” Kennedy, a No-Limit Hold’em Rush Poker Pro. A professional poker player for six years, at the end of last year Marc battled all comers at the highest Rush stakes offered on Full Tilt Poker to capture a coveted Black Card Pro title.
The Brit has been on the grind since, playing king of the Rush-High castle, with no plans for abdication. Follow Marc on Twitter @PlayinWitDreams.
Also be sure to check out the first Grind Station, with bracelet winner Kristy Bicknell, here.
How have you found being a Black Card Pro at Full Tilt Poker? Do you get more action now?
So far I am absolutely loving every second of it. I’ve really been made to feel like a part of the company and not just a competition winner. I have noticed that I do get a little more action from some players, generally it’s the part time players more than the regulars. I guess everyone likes to get a bluff through against a Pro from time to time.
Are you looking to stay atop the Leaderboard that earned you Black Card Pro status?
Last year was a breeze compared to retaining my title this year. I am very confident now that I will be able to keep my title, but if you had asked me that a month ago I would not have been so sure. Trickshot625, the player who won the Rush Low Leaderboard last year, decided to move up to the High Leaderboard to take my crown from me. He was a truly fierce competitor and I have a massive amount of respect for him – seeing him off was one of the toughest periods of my life.
He pushed me as close to my physical limit in the first few weeks of this year as anyone ever has. Fortunately that battle also lead to us talking to each other via Skype and I am now glad to call him a friend. He’s a great guy and definitely a talent to watch out for in the future.
You have been an online pro for years, can you take us through the evolution of your grind station?
I started out with a laptop in the early days then progressed to using a desktop PC connected to a 42″ HD TV. From there I eventually went to a 30″ super high resolution monitor with a second std HD 24″ on the side. I now use a dual PC set-up with two 30″ super high resolution monitors.
One PC (a fully custom build) is used solely for poker and nothing else, whilst the other I use for web surfing, email etc. I can switch between having both monitors dedicated to the poker PC or one for poker and one for web surfing depending on how busy the games are.
What makes your current setup ideal for grinding?
Screen space! You get used to using 30″ super high resolution monitors so quickly I now find it almost impossible to play on a laptop as everything seems so small. I also have my office in the same room as where my dogs like to hang out so they keep me company during the long days. It can be a lonely life if it’s just you and your computer.
How many hands do you average and how many can you play if you have to?
This year I am playing just over 200,000 a month.
I think my absolute maximum amount would be right around 500,000 hands in a month. That is assuming there is enough action for me to play maximum tables, all day, everyday, and disregard any concerns for my health.
I would never recommend anyone try to play that many hands though. The physical toll on your body is immense, but when I set my mind to something I don’t let such silly things as my short term health stop me from achieving what I want!
What appeals to you about Rush?
It’s just an incredibly user friendly experience compared to normal games and a much fairer system that means nobody is at an advantage just because they can hit the ‘take a seat’ button the fastest when a good game starts.
I am forced to play against all players good and bad, both in position and out of position – it helps me keep my game sharp at all times.
How important is nutrition, exercise, and time away from the computer to your success?
Very important. Certain foods have noticeable benefits for things like concentration. Blueberries for instance have been shown to have a real measurable effect on concentration – they are a staple of my daily diet. Exercise is also massive, the endorphin release during intense physical exercise have a myriad of benefits.
Sadly, I have done almost zero exercise so far this year as I was being pushed to the max for most of the first two months. I hope to get back in the gym this month now I am confident I have the second title locked up. Getting away from the computer is always a great way to unwind I just got back from five days in Dublin and although it was partly a working holiday, as I was playing the UKIPT and doing a couple of things for FTP, it was great to be away from the screen and I feel totally refreshed and ready to get back to the virtual felt.
Caffeine of choice?
Cranberry Red Bull. I’m still British born though so it’s tough to say no to a good cup of tea!