Big win at Snowfest all in a day's work for 18-year old Veronika Pavlikova

PS Women logo.jpgMaybe you haven't heard about this yet, because the poker world seems to still be in a bit of shock about last Sunday's Main Event win at the France Poker Series. The Snowfest series, as it's called, held at Evian in the French Alps, is eagerly awaited each year by many of the poker world's biggest pros. Some of the pros this year included Guillaume Darcourt--a WPT champion and odds-on favorite, as well as Team PokerStars Pro Matthias de Muelder. Other feared opponents included Elky Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov and Thibaud Guenegou. But one player in particular seemed totally unperturbed by the pros and unyielding in her approach. A teenager by the name of Veronika Pavlikova from the Czech Republic managed to plow through the field of 296 opponents with an unshakable calm that was described in some reports as "fearless," "unstoppable," and "relentless."

When Pavlikova was eventually crowned the winner and walked off with the title and the €70,000 grand prize it left many people wondering. How did she, a young unknown female barely old enough to enter a casino, beat a field of 296 players, many of them well-known pros? Was she unknown only in the live arena but a shark in the online sphere? And last but not least--we know you're wondering, so we asked it--"Is she the next Annette Obrestad?"

We have the answers to those questions and more in this interview with the young poker champion as she reflects on her recent win for PokerStars Women.


PSW: Congratulations on your big win at Snowfest, Veronika! Was this your first major win?

VP: Yes, it was my first big live tournament result, but I have plenty of good scores in online tournaments as well.

PSW: You must have been very excited when you won. Can you tell us a little about it?

VP: I was quite happy that I had achieved a good result in live poker (after playing about 20 live tournaments), but in many ways it was just like another online hit. I do hope that my success at Snowfest will be the start of some good results in live poker, however.

PSW: Do you play on PokerStars quite a bit then?

VP: Yes, I've played on PokerStars since May 2011 as xbet_kiddi, although I've been interested in poker for three years or so.

PSW: What kinds of tournaments do you play?

VP: I play MTTs with large fields.

PSW: How did you get into poker? Did you start online?

VP: My ex-boyfriend was playing online poker all the time, so I became interested. When I turned 18, I began to play online.

PSW: Do you have female friends who play? Do you discuss poker with them?

VP: No, I don't have any female friends in poker. For me it's better to talk about poker strategy with men. I have many high stakes poker friends with whom I discuss strategy and different approaches to various poker situations. Maybe I just haven't met many female poker players.

PSW: How did you decide to go to Snowfest?

VP: My friend posted info about this tournament on Facebook just a few days before the start of the Main Event. I like events that happen without planning, so I decided to go.

PSW: What's next for you on the poker circuit? Do you have another live tournament planned?

VP: I will play the UK and Ireland (UKIPT) Nottingham tournament in two weeks and maybe even UKIPT Dublin a month after that. I will definitely attend the French Poker Series (FPS) Amneville and some Czech tournaments as well. I need to keep grinding online too, but it's hard to find time for that when you are traveling a lot and playing live.

PSW: Are you in school now, as well?

VP: I have paused my studies because of poker. There is more value for me to play poker full-time right now. I will see in the future, but I definitely want to finish my studies one day.

PSW: Turning now to poker strategy, many people have commented on your aggressive approach in the tournament and compared you to another young female poker champion, Annette Obrestad. What do you think of these comments and comparisons?

VP: I love to play extremely aggressive poker, keeping opponents in constant pressure. I didn't always play so aggressively though. My ex-boyfriend taught me this style last year.

I don't think you can compare me to Annette; she is by far better than me. But obviously I would like to achieve some similar results. She has always been my number one female poker idol.

PSW: You beat many well-known pros including final table finishers Guillaume Darcourt, the French favorite and WPT champion who came in fourth, and Team PokerStars Pro Matthias de Muelder, who finished ninth. Do you remember any key hands against them?

VP: I remember playing with Darcourt very well. We played against each other really often. I was 3-betting him a lot and he didn't take it with ease. The one key hand was when we were down to 20 players. I 3-bet him for the fourth time and he 4-bet shoved his stack with QJ off-suit into my pocket Jacks. Luckily he didn't find a queen on the board. He survived until the next day when I finally eliminated him at the final table where I played very aggressively, especially against him.

PSW: One final question. Do you have any special plans for the €70,000 you won at Snowfest?

VP: No, I don't have any special plans. It boosted my bankroll to play even higher tournaments. I will just treat myself with more traveling around the world. That keeps me motivated.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women