Kevin Martin came to visit Ben Rolle’s podcast and discussed a lot of poker topics – motivation, training, streaming and his victory on the Big Brother show.
Who is Kevin Martin?
Kevin Martin (Kevin Martin) was born in Canada on January 3, 1993. Today he plays poker professionally and streams on Twitch, where he has over 100,000 subscribers (followers). Martin’s career began in 2014 when he moved to the United States and wanted to make new acquaintances – his choice fell on a local casino in the state of Alberta, where he played $ 1/2 cash.
In 2015, Martin took part in the Canadian TV show “Big Brother” for the first time, and in 2017 he tried his hand again – the season lasted just over two months, and Hero managed to win the program. In addition to being famous throughout the country, young Kevin received $ 20,000.
Returning to Martin’s poker career, he first launched a poker stream in 2015, and in 2016 he was offered a contract with PokerStars. He was a streamer at the poker room for almost three years before joining the partypoker team in 2019. True, he did not work in it for a long time and left literally four months later, simultaneously announcing his departure from Twitch. He motivated this by the fact that “he achieved everything he wanted” – he became a plus player and brought joy to people.
Kevin’s break did not last long – literally a year later he returned “from his streamer’s pension” and in the summer of 2020 received a contract with GGPoker, where he is still working. In order not to burn out again, the poker player began to stream tournaments from $ 50 a little less often – 2-3 times a week. Martin spends most of his free time in the gym, swims and plays golf, thanks to which he gained solid physical shape in a couple of years.
“One of my favorite moments in life …”
… this is when you find at the same time what you like and what you absolutely do not understand. The combination of these factors is wonderful. You can start doing something, get better, and watch the rapid progress. For example, now I am very interested in golf, because in this game there is minimal randomness, and in case of failure, you can only blame yourself.
How Kevin got on Twitch
Until 2015, cash poker was banned on Twitch. Those who launched a poker stream were literally banned, as it violated the rules of the site. But Jamie Staples somehow knew that things were about to change and poker could be streamed on Twitch. Therefore, he told me – “the topic will shoot soon, so you must do it too.”
At that time, I did not take Twitch seriously, and I thought it was a waste of time. Played $ 1/2 offline in Alberta, made $ 23 / hour and thought he had made his “poker dream”. In general, in 2015, I launched a poker stream for the first time, played ABI $ 10 and poured solidly for three months, until my eyes were opened that I was a terrible player. Then training began and I began to win not just ABI 10, but even ABI 30.
“These are the best years of poker.”
When I came to poker, everyone around me said that I had missed my best years. What are you talking about ?! NOW the best years of poker, especially on Twitch. Nowadays, anyone can make poker content and become a streamer with a good audience. Of course, many tried, but they burned out. Even me.
How Kevin’s one year break helped him love poker again
My one-year break was superimposed on the pandemic – this is exactly what I needed. Firstly, a lot of bad things happened in my life that needed to be dealt with. Secondly, I was able to look inside myself, assess the situation and get rid of the “faces” in my life. I switched to a healthy diet and improved my sleep schedule – this greatly influenced my results.
When you’re 20, you don’t bother – you can drink all night, and then quickly recover. Now that I’m under 30, I began to realize that this directly affects my results. You sit down to play tournaments for 8-10 hours and you have to make a lot of expensive decisions. It is important to have the right mindset and exercise and meditate before playing.
In 2019, when I took a break, a lot of bad things fell on me: the results in poker were bad, on the Twitch channel the same thing, my father died, and within three weeks my grandfather died. Plus, I was very unwell – every day at lunch I had to lie down and sleep, otherwise I could not do anything. And 3-4 times a year I was sick, consistently after each offline series I had a cold that knocked me out of my life for three days.
Not to say that I somehow radically changed my life, but I gained a huge amount of energy. I wake up and immediately ready to go until 8pm. All day I am collected and focused, I do not need a nap.
“Fear of failure controls us”
We are very afraid of failure. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in poker or something else – it’s hard to go through the moments when you put your whole soul into the business, and life kicks you. Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned to put up with failure. Poker is designed in such a way that even with the best effort in learning, playing perfectly, you can still lose. You need to learn to accept any result, it should not affect your psychological state.
How Kevin cheated the system and won the Big Brother show
The essence of the show is that 15 people live in the same house for about 3 months. Voting takes place once a week, and one person is kicked out. The winner receives $ 20,000.
So, I went to the semifinals, there were 8 people left and they all hated me. I didn’t have a single ally, they were kicked out before that. History shows that on TV programs like “The Last Hero” or “Big Brother”, when a group team up against one, he completely crashes. After all, they have several attempts to expel him from the vote.
Competitions are held every week – psychological games, riddles, physical competitions. If you look at all the seasons of the Canadian “Big Brother”, the competitions are very similar. Not identical, but generally the same in essence. I noticed this.
In 2017, when I was a full-time poker streamer, I got a call and was invited to the new season of Big Brother. I call a friend and ask him to watch all seasons of the program, study all the competitions, write down who won and what strategy they used. They brought me just such a bundle of notes and I studied them thoroughly.
Now I always knew what would happen next, what strategy to use and get the advantage. Returning to the semifinals – I am one against seven. In theory, I had a cap, but thanks to preparation, I won six competitions in a row and received immunity from voting. In the end, I won. And the audience hated it because I was unpopular.