And thus an angel was born on Christmas day. Yea, verily he would grow up to have a wrist adorned in brightest gold and surrounded he would be by towers of multi-coloured discs. Wealth will come to him as will a flame-haired beauty under the sign of the red spade.
Thus ends the forgotten quatrain of Nostradamus, the 16th Century seer, predicting the coming of Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen. Okay, perhaps we've got a little too ecclesiastical but when you've grown up in Western Europe, the UK especially, the only people called angel you're likely to bump into have an alcopop in their hand and are screaming about reality TV.
Our Angel is a far cry from that. He's Mexican, well spoken, handsome in an unassuming way (as long as you take into account the latin love of unbuttoning one's shirt to the navel) and steps out with Poker News presenter Lynn Gilmartin (now back to being a natural red head for the first time in 11 years). He'd be forgiven, okay, not forgiven but understood, if he was smug. But he's not. Upon meeting Guillen it quickly becomes clear why he has been sponsored, beyond his poker talent that has seen him rake in $1,059,458 in live tournaments, which includes one WSOP bracelet and a runner-up finish in another as well as a third-place score at LAPT Punta del Este.
Yesterday afternoon Guillen was talking with fellow Latin American Jose 'Nacho' Barbero next to the bar in The Blue Gin bar after a meeting of the Team PokerStars Pro. It's a bit like the Avengers, just with a little less spandex and no God of Thunder waving his hammer, who's clearly trying to compensate for something else. I rudely interrupted (is there any other way to interrupt) and grabbed Guillen to find out about his gruelling media responsibilities. These boozy drink meets in on the French Riviera look like a killer...
"My first responsibility is to be a good ambassador for PokerStars in Mexico. That's my region, along with Latin America. I stay in contact with the community through forums, write articles as well as appear on ESPN commentating and promoting events such as the LAPT," said Guillen comfortable enough to keep eye contact more than most pros.*
*You'd be surprised.
Guillen appears to be a grafter, both at the tables and off. He's regularly on ESPN and Fox Sports a lot, poker's getting big over there you know, and has done commercials and other bits of chit-chat.
But does he actually enjoy getting involved in the media circus, or is it simply a necessary evil?
"I like it. What I enjoy the most is being in contact with people. Twitter is good for getting across that while you're an ambassador you're the same as they are. You are accessible. I try to do that a lot and make people feel that it's not impossible to reach Team Pro status," he said.
Guillen has also been going out with Gilmartin, a jet-setting chatty Aussie don't-let-the-buggers-get-you-down type of presenter, for a year and says he's she's been a great help on the media front.
"What I've learned from Lynn is to be able to communicate well. English is not my first language so sometimes I can struggle with it but in general how easy she makes it look in front of the camera has helped me," said Guillen, but I suspect he's always been fairly comfortable in front of the cameras.
This is the third time he's been here, once on holiday and once playing the Grand Final in 2009. So far his tournament is not going well. In fact, according to his Twitter account it's going 'AWFUL'. First he had kings beaten by ace-king on a J T 6 Q K board than queens beaten by kings by the same guy in a four-bet pot. Guillen avoided going bust by folding to a turn bet on a 7 3 2 J and was shown the bigger pair. It's a miserable start.
Although he may not be as effusive about it now, he's slunk down in his chair with 12,000 and a scowl, Guillen was excited about the EPT Grand Final Twitter Wall yesterday: "What I love about poker and social media is that you're able to live the poker life and interact with people and let them know what's happening right now in the tournament. It's more immediate than any other news system online. That's what I like. Having that presence there is a reminder of that interaction. People may not be here in Monte Carlo but they are rooting for you. It's another way to live the experience."
Here's hoping for his Twitter followers that they have better news to read over the next coupe of levels. You can follow Guillen at @AngelGuillen25. And you can find loads of other Team PokerStars Pro Twitter accounts by clicking here.
Level 4: blinds 100-200, ante 25
Players: 351 of 393
(Day 1A: 165 of 371)
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