“I had the natural feel for the game” by Marc Rivera aka Chief


Chief check this game out, I’m sure you will like it”. These were the words of my brother Ashby when he first told me about poker. He was wrong, I did not like it, I loved it since that first moment! And that’s how my beautiful poker journey all started.

Marc Rivera
Marc Rivera

My brothers, relatives, and friends and I would eventually play home games using coins as chips in the beginning. We didn’t know the rules 100% but we were able to get by, slowly learning all the rules and then we got our own set of chips.  I’d say that probably I had the natural feel for the game and was beginning to be a winner at my early start but that’s just bonus because I enjoyed every minute of playing the game. I remember I would win so much to a point where I would loan them money just for the game to continue.

I started playing professionally and realized the amount of money that can be earned by playing as compared to my day job. I was a Civil Engineer by profession and I came to choosing poker professionally over it with the support of my lovely wife. We got married at an early age and were raising five young smart kids that time.

Marc Rivera aka Chief at PSPC
Marc Rivera – Photo by PokerStars

Many regard me as a good player and I thought I was over rated. But when I was accused once of wearing contact lens that can see through the cards, that’s when I started thinking I’m good at it. Back then you don’t have to be very good to make money, you just have to find the bad players, and wait for good spots. All exploits, no GTO and no solvers.

Poker has brought me all over Asia and even to Las Vegas for the WSOP.  I got the chance to be with a lot of poker players, influential people of different kinds, good and bad and it was all a learning experience. I always told them how beautiful our island is. I shied away from those whom I knew were not going to be helpful in my career and person due to negative reasons.  And now, I am currently with a circle that I believe are good people and some are even the best in the poker industry. Condemning bad gambling habits has somehow made me influence them not to gamble too, a leak most poker players have.

Marc Rivera aka Chief at WPT Cambodia
Marc Rivera and friends

Is Poker gambling? To most maybe yes but not me. Poker is the only casino game that is played player versus player, and not player versus the house. When you are up against the house it’s taking a risky chance, as the saying goes, “the house always wins”. Poker is a game where skill is a bigger factor than luck.

Poker has been good to me and my family. At this point in my career, I want part of it to be about giving back to the game, help in promoting it and hopefully grow the market and them see it’s beauty the way I see it.

In advising newbies, I suggest play comfortably with family and friends at home and if it’s time to elevate your poker experience you can visit the nearest local poker room. If you are in the Philippines, you can find me at the Metro Card Club in Metro Manila. I am there almost daily and will be glad to welcome you and give you some tips.

See you at the felt!

More about Marc Rivera:

Marc Rivera – Player Profile

Ramon Colillas wins the PSPC; Marc Rivera jumps to the top of the Philippines All Time Money List

Busy Day at 2024 APT Jeju Crowns First Two-Time Champions of the Series


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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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