Just a few weeks ago Marinus Hoogma and his brother Joep were just hanging out together watching 888poker ambassador and Twitch streamer Parker ‘tonkaaaa’ Talbot stream some poker.
Joep, 22, has been playing online poker for a while now, but Marinus just more or less watched from the sidelines. Talbot was hyping up a freeroll he was running and Marinus figured he’d give it a try.
“My brother’s like, ‘You should try it out as well, play some poker with me’, and Toknkaa had something going on where you could get a $10 bonus if you register,” said Marinus. “So I made my account and I lost there, sadly, in the tournament that (Talbot) organized.”
Normally that could be the end of the tale, but not this time. Marinus decided to have a bit of fun.
“I was like, ‘okay, let’s do some BLASTs’,” said Marinus. BLASTs are the lottery-style sit-n-go on 888poker that feature four players playing for a randomly drawn prize. Marinus played a $10 BLAST and after all four player registered the spinning wheel that determines the prize had a bit of fun with Marinus. One of the prizes available was a 2017 WSOP Main Event package.
“It was spinning, my brother was sitting next to me, and it was like ‘Oh, we didn’t get it’ but then it shot back. So we were like ‘what?’,” said Marinus. The wheel in the center of the table stopped on the WSOP prize package spot. It took only a few minutes, but Marinus was suddenly making plans for a trip to Las Vegas.
“I won that one against three other players. It was a bit of luck, I won a couple of hands that, statistically, I shouldn’t have won but that’s poker,” said Marinus, who decided to bring his brother with him on the 5,000 mile trip.
“I actually got into poker because of my poker. He plays it more than me, he’s actually a little bit better than me,” said Marinus.
Having never played live poker before, Marinus jumped into a couple of smaller tournaments at home.
“I played two tournaments in Hollands Casino in the Netherlands to get a feeling for live poker, because I have never played live before in my life,” said Marinus, who admits to having sweaty palms now that he’s on to Day 2 of the Main Event.
“I’m quite nervous, because I know that I’m that the level that’s here is much higher than I can play. I know that. I’m trying to keep telling myself it’s only $10, but it’s hard,” said Marinus. “Somewhere in the back of my mind, the min cash is $15,000 – for me that’s a lot of money. I played a $10 blast tournament and there’s a reason that I played for $10, my bankroll isn’t that big.”
Joep has been on the rail, lending support and some advice for his brother when it’s needed.
“I think it would have been better had he actually won the tournament, because he’s more experienced but he also likes it more than I do,” said Marinus. “I’m enjoying it, it’s a fun game, but because I’m not that experienced, it’s hard to enjoy something that you don’t really know.”
Even if he doesn’t cash – he starts Day 2C with 22,800 – the 26-year-old knows he’s managed to experience something that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford and doing it with his brother makes it even more special.
“Being here together, it’s amazing. Staying at Vdara, for us that’s once in a lifetime, I think and that’s why I really enjoy the fact that I’m here,” said Marinus.