What's it like to make a PokerStars Luxury Ladies Event final?
by Rebekah Mercer
As you may have gathered by seeing her name on the PokerStars Women news site, Beth Gains is a writer and creator of the Eat, Play, Love seminars.* But she's also a very serious poker player. She has been playing professionally for several years and is on a quest to become a SuperNova player on PokerStars. No small potatoes there, my friend.
A few weeks ago she played in the EPT London Luxury Ladies Poker Event and made the final table, which is a huge accomplishment. Of course I couldn't pass up the chance to ask her all about her experiences, and she had lots of interesting observations about the tournament, the players, and her approach to a relaxed, centered mindset during tournaments.
Keeping that in mind, I am going to share with you her answers to my questions and try not to ramble. So here goes.
How would you describe your experience level in poker?
I am a professional poker player, but I refuse to limit myself to a category, as that would probably be detrimental to my overall poker mindset. When I put myself into a category, then I am limiting myself.
How many ladies events have you played and where?
I have played a lot of Ladies Events. I am from LA and we are fortunate to have been able to host quite a few ladies events. I also play the Ladies Event at the WSOP every year and go to a lot of Ladies Events in Vegas because I live so close.
Was this your first PokerStars ladies event?
This was my second PokerStars tournament, and they sure know how to put together a great event! The goody bags are always amazing and rumor has it that I will be teaching at the Eat, Play, Love™ Beach Camp at the PCA (details to be announced). So, I suggest to anyone who wants to win a package to the PCA, go online to PokerStars and find out when the qualifiers are running.
Did the PokerStars event seem different from other ladies events you've played?
The PokerStars ladies events have a unique vibe because of the international appeal. I now have so many great new poker friends from around the world who share the same passion as I do!
Did you have a friendly table?
It was definitely friendly, but not overly so. I think that there is a certain amount of professionalism that needs to be taken into consideration when you're competing. It can't become a gabfest or it wouldn't be a poker tournament.
What did you observe about some of the pros you saw there?
I was fortunate to sit next to my friend, Team Poker Stars Pro Veronica Dabul for most of the tournament. She and I had the same stack size, so we kept out of each other's way. I respect her game A LOT, and there was one hand where I had Q-Q in UTG +1, plus I also had position on her. She had raised UTG and I re-raised all-in (I had under 20 BBs left, and I did not want to see a flop and prayed she had a big decision to make. It was for most of her chips). I was right, and she folded. Later on at about the same moment I was leaning over to tell her what I had, she said, "Beth what did you have in that hand?" in that very sexy Argentine voice. I told her and she said, "Ahhh! I had A-Q!"
As it turned out, we both made the final table. Veronica went out 9th and I went out 8th. They only paid six, so it was close.
What advice could you give to a new player who has never sat down at a live event with pros?
Part of being in tune with the poker mindset is realizing that it is not healthy to feel intimidated. So a healthy dose of confidence is what is necessary. Remember that acting "as if" is sometimes all you need. I encourage my students to remain mentally relaxed and neutral, and I remind them not to let winning or losing affect their mood. There is nothing scarier than playing against a professional opponent who doesn't smile when she wins a pot, just methodically adds winnings to her stack and rationally moves on to the next hand.
And finally, any examples of how you utilized some concepts from Eat, Play, Love?
Over the years, I've been able to train myself to take a more relaxed, mental approach to the game. I encourage all of my students to do the same. Remember that the more professional your approach to the game, the more you can expect to bring home in professional profits. I hope this tip causes you to be more aware of your emotions when you are playing and helps you to focus on staying mentally relaxed throughout your tournament play.
Love yourself so you can do what you love... See you at the final table, girls!
*For more information on Beth's mindful approach to poker, see her Eat, Play, Love columns here on PokerStars Women every month.