Imagine this. You’re winding down your poker session, playing the last game of the night, casually streaming to a handful of Twitch viewers.
Then you win a WCOOP title.
That’s exactly what happened to Martin “Marksman_M” Thien Wu, winner of the WCOOP 05-M: $55, 8-Max PKO.
I caught up with Martin for a chat about his time at the tables that fateful evening.
One of the stories that really stood out was how he started playing poker in the first place (more on that later). The fact that he streamed the win live on Twitch makes Martin’s journey even better. Only a few lucky witnesses were there to see it live as Martin claimed his place in history, not only as a WCOOP champion, but as a streamer too.
Martin has had a good few four-figure wins on the run up to the event. He told me that his play has been improving a lot in recent weeks. It all seemed to be building up to something. Yet how could anyone ever know what was soon to unfold? After crashing out of an earlier WCOOP event, Martin had made the life changing decision to just “play one more and see how it goes”. He fired up was the WCOOP 05-M. From then on, it was like the “stars and planets aligned”.
“Before you know it it’s like 1am, then 2am, then it’s like 4am and I’m on the final table. What the heck happened. It’s like, this is crazy!”, says Martin, who by this point was “completely in the zone”.
Making it beyond the bubble took some of the pressure off for Martin. He also benefited from a big pay jump from fifth to third. But the defining moment came three-way when Martin decided not to make a deal with the other players.
“I looked at the prize pool and I just thought, Nah! I want to try to take it down. This is the closest I’ll ever get to winning something like this. It’s all or nothing. I don’t know what clicked. It’s just like something in my head said ‘I actually wanna win this, like I really want to win this so badly.’”
He’ll be thankful for that decision, wherever it came from. After rejecting the deal, Martin took down the tournament for $29,379 (inc. bounties).
When I asked Martin how the WCOOP win will alter his poker and his lifestyle, he said that it’s helped him to overcome doubts and open possibilities in his mind about what he can achieve.
“Winning a game of this scale is beginning to sink in, but the experience of knowing what I managed to achieve is still fresh in my head. This is the biggest cash ever in my life and such a prestigious game. I just became so emotional trying to hold it all in.”
“I still have to go to work tomorrow, but I think it’s really made me realize that I do have potential to try and go further if I could or I wanted to, so it’s definitely opened up a lot of avenues in my head. Any doubts that I had are gone. I’ve actually won something and that’s so huge. And it’s not just any regular tournament, it’s a WCOOP man!”
Martin streamed the game, winning a WCOOP title live on Twitch to a peak audience of three viewers.
“The funniest thing was that normally when I stream I don’t get many views. When I got to the final table of the WCOOP I was looking at the observers; there’s like 150 plus viewing the table, and on my stream there’s only two people watching!”, laughs Martin.
That’s two or three people who were lucky enough to witness a very rare moment in Twitch. It’s not often a poker streamer pulls off a WCOOP title live on air (Spraggy also did it in the 05-L).
Martin was introduced to streaming by his friend. First it was Playstation games, which Martin still streams – mostly CS:GO and Call of Duty, with the occasional one player game. After an initial hesitance, he now streams poker too.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to show people what kind of cards I play. Then I thought, well even if they see they’ll be delays on it, and if I get opinions on how certain hands are played from people, I can take into account what they’re saying. It’s a nice interaction…I really enjoy just talking to people as I play, or just listening to music. But yeah, I mean I’m definitely gonna try and keep on playing as much as I can,” says Martin.
Check out Martin’s channel at “Marksman_M”. He’s a great guy and well worth the watch. Here he is playing the final table of the 05-M WCOOP with six players left:
So what about that story about how Martin came to play poker? I’m not going to lie. This is gold.
“I was in my early 20s. I had a couple of friends who wanted to play Mahjong. Me being a British Chinese guy, I’m supposed to know what Mahjong is and everything, but I was the only person who never understood it and never played,” said Martin.
“But I love the concept of it, so I tried to get my dad to teach me. And my dad said, ‘I’m not going to teach you Mahjoing, or any forms of gambling.’”
“Near the time I saw some poker on TV and really started getting into it. I basically said I’m going to learn poker. And that’s how it all started off.”
Martin’s poker journey has now come full circle. He got to tell his Dad about the big win, waking him up with an excited shout in the early hours of the morning. He also got to say a special thank you.
“I’ve got to thank you for something,” said Martin.
“What?”, replied his dad.
“Because if you had taught me to play Mahjong, I wouldn’t be sat here having won the WCOOP final table!”
With thanks to Martin “Marksman_M” Thien Wu. Congratulations! Top bloke.