Friend of PokerStars Charlotte Van Brabander-Sjlot
When I was in college I remember playing poker for a $5 buy-in with my friends and scraping together enough money between us to buy a six pack or two. None of my friends knew much about the game, so I could sometimes win enough to do my laundry that week, but that was about it.
Things are quite different for our newest Friend of PokerStars, Charlotte Van Brabander Sjlot. Charlotte is currently studying criminology and law while playing major tournaments with poker pros from around the world. As she told me recently, she gets "to learn from the very best . . . talk to very experienced players" . . . and get a chance to develop her game while traveling the world to visit places most of us only dream about through her association with PokerStars. Definitely beats playing for laundry money while drinking cheap beer.
Charlotte is a former pro gamer who excelled in the game CounterStrike, while playing international events and conventions around the world. Charlotte moved into poker about two years ago and has had some impressive results since then. She recently finished 25th in the Main Event of the Benelux Championship of Online Poker in December, 2010.
Charlotte will be playing many of the big events throughout the year and she was good enough to answer some questions for me recently about her goals and plans.
Q. What tournaments are you looking forward to playing this year?
A. I'm going to play some main events from the UKIPT and the Estrellas and maybe some ladies events at the EPT. I'm definitely going to play the Belgian poker series. Charlotte commented that she also plans to play the major online tournaments including the WCOOP, SCOOP, the BeCOOP, and the Sunday Million.
Q. What's your next big tournament?
A. That will be the main event at the Belgian poker series in Namen.
Q. How many PokerStars tournaments have you played and which did you like best as far as location and venue?
A. I've played two stops on the UKIPT (Killarney and Dublin) and I played the ladies event in London. The most remarkable tournament was the ladies event at Monte Carlo. I love France, and especially the seaside.
Q. Is there one in particular that you haven't played and are looking forward to?
A. I would love to play the PCA but always have exams during that time. I would also like to play the WSOP in Las Vegas.
Q. Do you think all the attention from your new position (interviews, photos, etc.) will add an extra level of pressure when you play?
A. Yes, it will, especially when I play online and have railers. I don't want to make any mistakes anymore, which of course is impossible.
Q. Will it change your game in any way?
A. I don't think so. I'm going to practice and develop my game because I want to become a good player.
Q. What is your goal in poker for the remainder of the year?
A. I don't have a particular goal, otherwise it might be disappointing. But it would be nice to win a significant tournament and become a respected player. Female players like Vanessa Rousso and Liv Boeree have proven themselves to be more than a match for men. I just want to become a very good poker player and not just "a girl who gets sponsored."
Q. How will this new role affect your studies at university?
A. Not at all. I was a professional gamer before and I was playing all the time, so it's not a big change. My results at university are pretty good.
Q. Do you get a lot of women who ask for autographs and advice, or is it mostly men?
A. Mostly men, because they know me from the game scene. I don't get recognized that much and I've only given three autographs so far!
Q. Is there anything you would like to tell women who are just starting out in the game or thinking about playing tournaments?
A. Never let people talk you down; just focus and be willing to learn. Don't give up, and in the end you'll get there! I'm still learning, but I believe in the survival of the fittest.
So be on the lookout for Charlotte at the next big tournament, and if you do see her, be sure to ask for her autograph. You will be one of the first and it might just make her day. You can also find her playing online under that screen name "sjlot."