Remember when I told you how nervous I was about studying for my exams during the PCA? Well, I'm happy to report that I made it through and passed every one! It's really important for me to be able to successfully balance poker and school and I'm glad I'm able to show others that it is possible. I celebrated the end of exams with a trip to Deauville, where I played in the French Poker Series main event and the Ladies Event at the EPT. The FPS event started out well enough--I finished Day 1 with double the average stack, but early on Day 2, I lost my iPod and it sent me on tilt. I made a few stupid bluffs and ended up busting early.
If it ended there Deauville might have been a disappointing trip, but the next day I registered for the Ladies Event with my sister Camille, who has recently started playing online. When I first started playing, Camille wasn't too interested in poker. Then she saw me cash in a few events and buy some nice purses and clothes with my winnings. Suddenly, she was interested! Now we play online together, sitting side by side, each on our own laptops. We don't play the same tournaments, though. I play higher stakes MTTs while Camille is learning by playing $1.50 SNGs. We talk through a lot of hands after our sessions and when she has questions, we work together to find the best line to take.
In Deauville, I did my best to help Camille feel comfortable and I was constantly popping over to her table to check on her and offer advice if need be. However, when my table finally broke, I drew the seat to her direct left. Now we had to play against each other and the time for offering advice was over! The Ladies Event ended up being good for both of us. Camille min-cashed in 11th place and I finished fifth.
When I come home from live events, I find that I'm not only more motivated to play online, but my results are better. I tend to have more patience online if I've been playing live, and I'm not so quick to ship in that last five big blinds with any random hand. If there's one thing I want to work on in poker this year, it's becoming a winning MTT player. I'm break-even at the moment, and becoming profitable is a huge step to take. I've been studying videos and doing some coaching sessions with friends in the Belgian poker community. When I was first starting out two years ago, Kenny "SpaceyFCB" Hallaert was a tremendous help to me; nowadays I usually reach out to Christophe De Meulder. He's like my big brother and he's always on Skype, so it's easy to find him if I want an opinion on a hand I played.
I have four more courses left and I'll finally be done with school. I also have to write a second thesis--something I probably should be working on right now! It's going to be about the regulation of poker in Belgium and so far it's been really interesting to study. I should definitely have an advantage with this topic because I'm already in the poker world. Now if I could only get started...
Charlotte Van Brabander is a member of Team PokerStars Pro from Belgium