EPT London was wonderful, but victory just wasn't in the crads (no spelling mistake)
by Maryann Morrison
Ah, London and the PokerStars European Poker Tour! I was invited to attend the Luxury Ladies Poker Event October 2-3, and I could hardly wait to go. I knew it would be well worth the eighteen-hour travel time from Canada.
I love the sound of the chips clicking in the poker room and the adrenaline so thick you can almost feel the heartbeats pumping and the walls reverberating. A poker room is always alive with energy and it feels great just to be there. If you have never been to a major tournament event before, it's something every poker player should experience, no matter what your skill level.
PokerStars has made the possibility of attending poker festivals much easier for women with the introduction of their Ladies Luxury Poker Events. They provide a memorable long weekend that includes a couple of tournament choices, a plethora of open events, a chance to meet some great sisters who also share your love of the game, plenty of eye candy around the tables, and a fabulous party where you can meet some of the Team PokerStars Pros you read about. The Ladies Luxury Poker Events are a great way to introduce yourself to live tournament poker and explore the possibilities of taking your game to the next level.
When I arrived, I picked up my player's bag at the welcome desk that contained my party bracelet, and a fabulous PokerStars hoodie, which I'm wearing as I write this. All the players in the EPT receive a player's bag.
The LLPE Main Event was a £500 buy-in and 57 women anted up for their shot at the title, bringing the prize pool to £27,645. I had my seat assignment, and right away I noticed all the smiling faces that greeted me as I sat down. Playing in an all-female poker tournament is different than playing in an open event. Women are generally more supportive and friendly, and everyone is always willing to help out the newbie with any questions they may have.
My table included women from all over Europe and North America, including the eventual champion in this event. None of the women at my table were professional players that I recognized. In the field however, were some well-known players, such as Veronica Dabul, Celina Lin, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Sandra Naujoks.
So, as it sometimes happens, after all my excitement at getting a chance to play and attend the event, I just didn't get the cards. A girlfriend of mine likes to call bad starting hands 'crads', and I was dealt a lot of crads that day. I flopped a flush draw (four suits to a flush) a couple of times without hitting, and when I raised, one of my opponents always seemed to have caught two pair and called to the river.
I wasn't being aggressive enough in my play to combat the cards I was dealt. I think the best hand I had was pocket sixes which I had to fold after the flop to a possible high straight and three overcards. I did win one hand in the tournament by raising on the button, but eventually my chip stack was so low that I went all in with top pair, and was called. Her flush draw did of course make the flush on the turn. I wasn't the first out, but didn't get very deep in the tournament.
I did notice the French woman at my table who arrived a little later than the other players, she was very beautiful and seemed deep in concentration, not participating in discussions with the rest of the players. I later learned that Anais Lerouge wasn't incredibly fluent in English. She was definitely concentrating on her game though. She was there to win and she accomplished her goal. She ended up winning the championship in a final three-way pot with pocket jacks. Megan Milburn who was second in chips had pocket kings and Stine Marie Bringsli from Norway had A-2.
I asked Anais how she felt when her opponent turned over pocket kings. She said she was not worried as she had a big chip lead at that time and she knew she would at least end up in a heads-up position if the kings won. A jack on the flop ensured Anais' win and she walked away with the grand prize of £11,050.
Anais used to be a poker dealer and started playing in tournaments only about a year ago. In September, she came in second in the 1.5K Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes and cashed for €68,000. Previous to that she cashed in the Monte Carlo EPT Grand Final Ladies Event coming in eighth for €1,900. Anais is very serious about her fledging poker career; she keeps meticulous records, strictly manages her bankroll, and no doubt listens to tips from her boyfriend, professional player Antoine Saout who came in third at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2009.
Saturday night was a fabulous party for the players hosted by PokerStars. A shuttle bus took us to the nightclub where the party was held. PokerStars always goes all out for the players during these events and this was no exception. It gave the players a chance to mingle, meet some of their favorite pros, and watch some incredible talent including musicians, fire breathers, acrobats and dance performers. You can catch a glimpse of what you missed by watching the video here
The second tournament for the ladies was a £220 event held on Sunday, the third. A total of 24 women competed, creating a prize pool of £4,656. The champion was Sinem Melin, from the United Kingdom who won £3,000, and the runner-up was Tina Marie Abery from Ireland who cashed for £1,656.
Next up will be the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Bahamas in January. PokerStars will be starting satellites soon to give all women a chance to win a LLPE package to attend. You can bet that whether given crads or not, this girl can hardly wait to be there!