2007 World Series: Rousso's blind aggression

by Simon Young

I once had the pleasure of playing with Vanessa Rousso. I say pleasure, since she is a nice lady and has a tremendous poker reputation, but it quickly became painful, too, as I witnessed first hand how she would defend her big blind. She kept telling me that if I dared raise it, she would put me all in. Like a fool, I did raise her with A-7 (okay, I was desperate), she duly put me all in with A-Q, hitting the Q to add to my shame, and I was out. A lesson learnt!

Vanessa Rousso

So when I sauntered up to her table today, just in time to see her put out the 400 big blind, I thought this would be an appropriate moment to hang around. A player made it 1,200 to go, called by the seat next door - clearly neither had read the script. It's folded around to Vanessa, who joined Team PokerStars while still at law school, and she called the raise. Uh oh.

The flop came A-5-4 rainbow - Vanessa checked, the initial raiser made it 2,000 and the next guy re-popped it to 4,500. Surely now Vanessa would give up? No chance. She asks for a count of her opponents' stacks, and promptly throws out 13,000! The first bettor folds pretty quick, but the other, who had nearly 6,000 in the pot already but who's tournament was on the line, took an age before opting to fold.

A set for Vanessa, maybe? Unlikely straight? Two pair, at least? Not a chance, she turned over 6-7 offsuit for the open-ended straight draw. Her aggression on the big blind had raked her a meaty pot that sent her up to about 40,000.

"Phew, I was sweating a bit there," she said, as she stacked up her new booty. The poor guy who lost out could only nod in approval of her big-blind power play. I know how he feels.

Katja Thater

A little further down the aisle sits another of our Team PokerStars ladies - Katja Thater. You will recall Katja, from Germany, has had a stunning World Series so far, winning the Seven Card Razz bracelet, and coming fifth in the World Championship Ladies Event when most spectators agreed she deserved to win. Like Vanessa, she has a fearsome game, and I watched as she won several pots in a row uncontested to reach 30,000. It's been a great year for Katja, even before Vegas, as she final tabled at the first ever EPT event in Warsaw, Poland.

She's a fierce player but fun away from the table, as I discovered at last season's Barcelona EPT event, when Katja asked me for advice on buying women's underwear. But before her partner, PokerStars German blogger and successful player Jan Von Halle, gets in any way suspicious, she only wanted to know if I had seen any suitable shops nearby that she could visit. Katja should have known better - I'm a hapless man with no likelihood of being able to help a woman with her shopping.

Talking of Jan, he is playing today's Day 1C as well, and last time I saw was sitting just above his 20,000 starting stack.

"I've had a few small ups and downs," he said. "But it is more scary going over to see how Katja is getting on than playing here myself. Watching her in the Razz final was terrifying!"

Jan Von Halle

There's no reason for Jan to feel ill at ease when he plays - his record speaks for itself. At this World Series alone he has cashed in the $1,500 Pot Limit Holdem, final tabled in the $1,000 No Limit Holdem, and cashed again in the $5,000 World Championship Pot Limit Holdem and the $5,000 No Limit Holdem events. Phew!

Finally, for now, here's two of our PokerStars qualifiers. They are enjoying themselves... honest!

Double trouble: two qualifiers at work

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in