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“When I went to my first camp, I was nervous about asking questions, but the instructors were so nice about it! They were phenomenal, they sat with you at lunch, they sat with you after. They let you ask any question you wanted.”
Marguerite Spagnuolo: Mother of Two Becomes Professional Cash Game Player
Marguerite Spagnuolo has been playing poker since she was seven years old, when her dad ran a weekly home game in the family basement. She grew up playing hold’em, which her father called “52"—five on the board and two in your hand. Until she was 25, she thought of poker purely as family entertainment. Then, on a family vacation to Las Vegas, her brother talked her into playing her first tournament.
Marguerite knew nothing about tournament strategy but she gave it a shot. She shoved all-in with top pair when she was still one out of the money—and busted on the bubble.
“That was the worst thing that happened–well, it was the best thing, actually,” she says. “Because that made me want to learn how to play correctly.
“I was always a competitor. So if I’m going to play, I want to win. If I’m going to lose money, I want it to be because of a bad beat, not because I played poorly.”
Marguerite read a few books, but she was still seeking some more information on specific areas of game strategy. She found the poker help she needed when she stumbled upon an ad for a WPT Boot Camp online. She literally walked out of Boot Camp into an event at the Borgata—and cashed. Now she was really hooked.
“I thought I would play casually but at least earn some money,” she says. “And then when I realized how much money you can make, I began to get more and more involved.”
Marguerite started winning local tournaments, eventually accumulating more than $100,000 for her efforts. She also took first place in a WSOP Circuit Ladies Event.
Having done so well at tournaments, Marguerite wanted to learn cash, so she took a WPT Cash Camp. On her own, she had managed to win moderately at the $2-$5 level. What she learned at Cash Camp enabled her to move up to $5-$10.
Now Marguerite is such a successful player that she’s left her job with New York City’s Off-Track Betting. She plays several hours a week at Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and she frequently enters tournaments around the country. Although her priority is raising her two kids, her husband is able to do child-care duty while she plays. She credits WPT Boot Camp with her new poker life.
“WPT Boot Camp made me a way better thinking player,” she says. “Before I took it, I just played aces and kings all the time. I was folding nut flush draws. I was not doing any kind of math at all. If I didn’t hit it and somebody bet—I folded. Now I know when it’s NOT profitable to fold—and I know when to raise a draw. If you hadn’t really studied the game, you might not know that.”
After winning her WSOP Circuit Championship, Marguerite was invited by another organization to take a free poker-training seminar with a famous player. She was struck by how much better the instructors were at WPT Boot Camp.
“This other teacher wasn’t so patient,” she says. “But the people at the WPT Boot Camp—they have so much patience! People ask the simplest questions, and they just take the time to explain it to you. When you’re a beginner, they work with you. When I went to my first camp, I was nervous about asking questions, but they were so thorough, and never condescending. That’s important for the learning process for someone just starting out.”
Marguerite was also impressed with how available the WPT Boot Camp instructors were, throughout the entire camp. “They were phenomenal,” she says. “They sat with you at lunch, they sat with you after. They let you ask any question you wanted.” Marguerite has actually stayed in touch with several Boot Camp instructors, who have continued to answer her strategy questions and help her grow as a player.
Even playing at the $5-$10 level, Marguerite is surprised by how many players don’t bother to learn how to play correctly. “It shocks me. It really shocks me,” she says. “Because even if you’re a billionaire, it can’t be fun to consistently lose. That just can’t be fun!”
Marguerite continues to be grateful for her WPT Boot Camp experiences. “I said, ‘If I’m going to play for real money, I may as well learn correctly,’” she recalls. “And that was the best thing that ever happened because it turned out to be a profitable move.”