by Jennifer Shahade
If you've been keeping up with PokerStars Women, you may have noticed or played in satellites for the US Ladies Poker Championship, a Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) tour event held over Labor Day weekend. More than 80 players including four PokerStars qualifiers came to the Golden Nugget in Vegas for the star-studded two-day, deep-structured event, which was preceded by a Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony. Participants included Kathy Liebert, high stakes MTT specialist Vanessa Peng (who qualified for the event via PokerStars), and LIPS Grand Champion Stacey Nutini.
Besting them all was mechanical engineer and mother of two, Lauren Pottmeyer of Tennessee. Lauren earned $9,300, the trophy and the title for her efforts. Her advice to aspiring champs was to have patience. "Tournament poker is about enduring and surviving the long marathon!" she said. Lauren firmly believes that strategy trumps lucky charms in poker, but she still feels like a blessed person. "I am lucky in so many ways--my family, the opportunity to get a higher education in a male-dominated field, and to live in this country."
No one knows better than Lauren that luck comes in many forms--from winning a race in a poker tournament, to flopping quads, to successfully fleeing a communist regime in the middle of the night. Lauren was born in Laos, Cambodia and her road to America was not at all a freeroll. At just five years old, Lauren and her five siblings left for Thailand in two small boats, hoping to escape the ruling party, the Khmer Rouge, notorious for committing genocide in Cambodia. The dangers of fleeing were twofold--nature and man. "The water was treacherous and people died who left later, both from boats overturning and being taken out." Fortunately, Lauren and her family arrived safely in Thailand, where they were placed in a refugee camp and completed the paperwork to come to America. "We came in the dead of winter and there was snow on the ground. It felt like magic."
At the US Ladies Poker Championship, Lauren sensed another whiff of magic in a key decision that came up four-handed. A player who had Lauren covered went all in. Lauren had about 70,000 chips and with about 6,000 in the pot, she made the call with pocket fours. According to Lauren, when she flopped quad fours, she screamed loudly. "I'm not an animated person, so for me to scream in public, it must be big." Heads-up, Lauren faced Bonnie Overfield. "Bonnie was an excellent and very aggressive player." In the final hand, Bonnie made a move at the wrong time, going all in on the river into Lauren's trip eights.
Although she missed her kids while in Vegas (her husband, who taught her poker, stayed home with them), Lauren enjoyed every moment. "The ladies were tough opponents but also really nice. I had a blast and I cannot wait to go back next year!"
The allure of the medium sized MTT
While large multi-table tournaments (MTTs) can be exciting, with their life-changing prize pools, you can deepen your game and reduce tilt by adding in medium size MTTs to your repertoire. If you're a lady, you're in luck! Many of the PokerStars Women events, including the Women's Poker League and the Ladies Luxury Poker Club (LLPC) satellites offer that perfect size (30-200 players) that can help build your bankroll with less risk and improve your game. The benefits of smaller ladies fields include the following:
Be the Last Woman Standing: If you win a MTT, you often get a major chunk of change because prize payouts tend to spike at the final table and then spike again heads-up. It's much easier to come in first place in a smaller tournament.
Let's compare two $55 buy-in tournaments held on Sunday, September 26,
The Nightly Seventy Grand and the Women's Poker League Sunday Special. The Sunday Special, which had a 55-player field and a $2500 guaranteed prize pool was won by traveldoggie of Sacramento, who raked in a prize of $893.75. Another way to look at topping a field of 55 is that you finished in the top 1.8%. To pocket over $800 in the Nightly 70K, which featured 1508 players, you would need to final table, or come in the top .6% of players! To be fair, the nightly 70K featured a $13,000+ first prize. Still, it's always fun to take a tournament down, and you may find, as I did, that playing in smaller MTTs will motivate you and reduce variance to your bankroll.
Learn from a Small Pool: The smaller fields in women's events allow you to face the same opponents again and again, even if you don't have a deep bankroll. For instance, when I played in the Monte Carlo Luxury Ladies Poker Club (LLPC) satellites last spring, I found myself greatly admiring a certain player, and I wrote a note on her aggression (you can do this while playing on PokerStars by right clicking on the player's name and choosing "note"). Later, I learned that the player was minko23 (Vanessa Peng from Las Vegas), the current highest earning online female player in 2010. At LLPC satellites and Women's Poker League events, I was able to play several tournaments and many hands with minko23, which gave me plenty of study material. At PokerStars Women, you will see the same opponents again and again. When you find yourself seated next to them the following week, it may be your turn to show what you learned!
Have a Blast and Look for Deals: Women tend to be friendlier at the tables than men and they can give you tips on other great tourneys and qualifiers on PokerStars and even alert you to one of my favorite words, "overlay." An overlay occurs when the prize fund outstrips the money players pay in entry fees. Because PokerStars is doing so much to promote women in poker, a higher than average percentage of ladies events feature overlays. Don't miss out.
PokerStars Women News Round-Up
The European Poker Tour (EPT) London is upon us, and the Ladies Luxury Poker Event will take place on October 2-3 (Saturday and Sunday). Michelle Webb of Birmingham, UK topped a field of 805 players in the Woman Poker Player freeroll on PokerStars to win her package to London. When Michelle's A-5 held up against Q-9, it was after 2 a.m. in London and Michelle said she "couldn't believe she was going to an EPT." Also qualifying on PokerStars satellites were azrit1, DebrisQueen, diamondwind, Lizetta, Murrka7898 and Tinke_T07. They will compete in a strong and star-studded field, which is likely to include many members of Team PokerStars Pro including Vanessa Rousso, Vanessa Selbst, Sandra Naujoks, Katja Thater, Celina Lin, and the newly signed Liv Boeree.
This year all EPT and North American Poker Tour (NAPT) events will host ladies side events, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $400. In the opening event of this season's EPT in Tallinn, Anastasiia Syvak of Latvia outlasted a field of twenty to win €2563 ($3397). In EPT Villamoura, Francesca Rutia of Venezuela came in first out of nine players to win €1702 ($2163).
If you're missing out on EPT London, don't fret--there will be more promotions coming soon to PokerStars Women. Meanwhile, you could take your game to the next level with Vanessa Rousso's Big Slick Boot Camp, which will be held November 13 in conjunction with NAPT Los Angeles. Look for $27 satellites into her training camp Saturday and Sundays at 19:00 on the PokerStars client under Events/Special/All. I was lucky enough to win a free lesson with Vanessa Rousso via a womanpokerplayer.com freeroll last spring--I will fill you in on it in a future article.
Till then, here's hoping your pocket queens hold up.