Ladies packing for the PCA--Flip flops, suntan lotion, a big bag for money

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgAs 2011 approaches most people that I know are making plans to celebrate with a bottle of champagne and maybe a party with friends. Many of them are also trying to locate a last minute designated driver for the evening so they can enjoy a few drinks before heading back to work the Monday after.

A select group of poker players from around the world however, are looking forward to a different kind of party, one that's a bit more luxurious. They either had a few thousand to spare to pay their entry to this premier event or won it by playing on PokerStars. And for those players lucky enough to attend, it will be the New Year's party of the year. At this party, no designated driver is necessary, since everything is within walking distance at one of the most luxurious resorts in the world--The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Instead of a designated driver they will need a few things however; namely flip flops, suntan lotion and a big bag of money to take home the money they are looking to win at the tournament.

Two of the people who will be making that trek are winners of a Luxury Ladies Poker Event package that they won playing satellites on PokerStars. They will be enjoying five days of what can only be described as a poker player's dream vacation. They are looking forward to their entry into a $1k buy-in ladies tournament, expense money for airfare, four nights at the Atlantis, a poker boot camp hosted by Vanessa Rousso, and a holistic mind/body beach camp to get their mental game focused on bringing home the loot when it's all over. The package is worth $3,480, and the two ladies profiled here won it for pennies on the dollar.

Rose Genest, a nurse from Hamilton, Ontario, will be going to the Bahamas as a result of playing a $10 rebuy on PokerStars (total investment of $30). The rebuy got her into the final where she won her seat against 70 other players. She says that she was "in total shock" when she won and when she recovered a bit, she did some "bragging" because she was so proud. It took a week or two for her to come back to earth.

She says she has never been to Atlantis and is looking forward to seeing all the things Atlantis has to offer. Besides the tournament, she is looking forward to meeting some of the women from the PokerStars Women's League. She says, "I have made so many friends from the league and we keep in touch via emails." She says she is also looking forward to the boot camp by Vanessa Rousso. Rose says the biggest live tournament she has played prior to this was a $300 buy-in, so she plans to play some bigger tournaments soon as a warm-up to the PCA.

How will she handle the pros she's bound to run up against at the tournament? "With class, professionalism, and respect. I would treat them as if they were any other poker player." To help out on that end, she says she has been preparing by watching videos and studying their "moves and style of play." She says that if she wins she would "play more poker, which is what I enjoy doing." She would plan to play more events at the WSOP and possibly an NAPT event.

Another qualifier who won her seat on PokerStars is Jennifer Shahade. In addition to being a writer for PokerStars Women (Jennifer writes strategy articles for the site), she is a world class chess player, and a winning poker player. Jennifer has played the Ladies Event at the WSOP and cashed twice, once in 2007 in 17th place, and again in 2008 in 33rd place. Jennifer won her seat in the first tournament she entered on PokerStars, so it looks as though she takes her own advice and knows how to play these things!

Jennifer was hesitant to play the tournament after getting knocked out of a previous tournament on a bad beat. She debated about whether to play, because she was concerned that the result of the previous tournament might influence her play. But apparently, it spurred her on instead, and she went on to win the only seat. The first thing she did after winning was to call her dad. Later that night, she also called her brother, who is a poker pro, to "go over some of the hand histories and discuss some of the key decisions."

Jennifer has never been to the Bahamas, and in addition to "exploring the Atlantis and walking on the beach," she looks forward to "meeting ladies from the PokerStars Women's League at Vanessa Rousso's boot camp." She's also looking forward to experiencing one of the legendary PokerStars parties at the end of the event.

On playing against the pros she comments, "There will be lots of differences in the way I approach a hand against someone I recognize as a professional than with an unknown. For instance, if I'm playing with a big time pro who normally plays in much higher buy-in tournaments, I'll know that they're not very concerned with bubbling, which may influence some of my decisions." During the tournament, she says she "doesn't like to think of the chips as money, because that would make me play way too tight." And if she wins? She says "It would go right back into the poker bankroll! But I'd take some out to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the final table."

And finally, there is Elizabeth Bennett-Martin. Elizabeth will be playing the Main Event at the PCA as a three-for-three winner in the satellites. Elizabeth won her seat for the third year in a row by playing the $11 rebuy on PokerStars. The first year she qualified (in 2009) she was one of only seven female satellite winners, and she cashed in 25th place for $40,000. She was one of only fourteen women in the entire tournament that year, playing against 1,333 men.


Elizabeth's overall investment in the last three years to win three packages has totaled less than $1500. Her first year's buy-in was earned with a $21 investment on her first try. The last two have cost a bit more, but an investment of under $1500 for packages that total in excess of $45,000 is a pretty incredible return on investment. (Packages include the main event buy-in, seven night's hotel, and expenses for airfare and food. This year's package is worth $15,780).

She has brought her entire family along each year, so it is becoming a ritual that they all look forward to. As a matter of fact, her kids check in periodically with her on weekends when she plays poker, anxious to get the green light to start packing again for the Bahamas! She says they give her good luck charms and keep her fortified with Diet Cokes.

In addition to the tournament, what is she looking forward to the most? "My family loves all the water activities and the slides, and we enjoy eating at all the restaurants," Elizabeth says. She also likes going into town to explore and shop at the Straw Market.
Elizabeth considers herself a "serious recreational player," who doesn't plan to play professionally. She is an attorney and loves her job, so would never give it up to play poker. She also coordinates a charity called CLEW (Cambodian Legal Education for Women) that pays for the education of young girls to attend law school in Cambodia. They are currently supporting 25 girls at university. If she cashes again, she plans to donate some of the money to the charity.

These are just a few of the skilled (and lucky!) women who will be playing the PCA in January. We will check in with many more of them during the event and keep you informed of their progress. Until then, play some satellites and win your seat so you can join us there! It's going to be a blast!

More information: PokerStars Luxury Ladies Event.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women