Celebrating moms with poker and a few life lessons

Thumbnail image for PS Women logo.jpgMother's Day will be celebrated this weekend (Sunday, May 13) in 78 countries around the world. Other countries observe the day at various times, but regardless of when it's celebrated, it's a special day for moms and those who love them. We know from interviews and comments we get that many of our female players are moms, so it seems like a perfect time to recognize some of the moms who play on PokerStars. We sent a few questions to some of our loyal readers on the PokerStars Women Facebook fan page and got some great responses.

PokerStars Women (PSW): Why is poker important to you?

Hanna Syrayaveva, (ipokergirl13) from Russia, responded with an answer that surprised us. "I love poker because it's a way to relax and have some fun, while keeping my head sharp. While I play I let go of all the stress, so maybe I can say I find in poker a way to meditate, relax, and still make some money!" Poker as a meditation technique--never heard that before--but if you're a busy mom as she is (with a seven-year-old daughter) poker could seem very relaxing by comparison.

Another player, Tina Van Thuyl (GigglesVT online) says that poker started as a hobby for her--"something to do at night when the kids were asleep," but before she knew it she was enjoying playing in the Women's Poker League. "The ladies that I run into often are some of the most polite and friendliest ladies ever. They have taught me a lot about myself and how I play, and how I can improve." But poker is apparently not all they talk about. "We are women, we talk about EVERYTHING," she said with a laugh.

PSW: If you have a daughter, do you plan to teach her the game? If so, why would you tell her it's important?

Hanna: I have a seven-year-old daughter and she has been around poker from the day she was born. Poker is everywhere around our house. My husband played professionally for several years, so I will quote him, although I share the same thoughts. "Poker teaches you three very important skills to have in life--1) the ability to catch layers, 2) mathematics, and 3) bankroll management."

Tina: Yes, I'm teaching my daughter to play. I've told her it's a game of fun, numbers, patterns, and a great way to meet new people. Oh, and finally, when mommy does win big she will be able to reap the rewards!

PSW: How do you work poker into the busy lifestyle of being a mom? When do you play?

Hanna: This is the tricky part; sometimes it's complicated to make the time to play. It's especially hard because I prefer and do better playing MTTs. So I have to choose weekends and holidays to play this format. Other days I may play after dinner or play some SNG's or Hyper Turbo Satellites. But now with PokerStars Mobile I will be able to play a bit more. There is time for everything if we plan right.

Tina: I'm fortunate to work for my husband and his small business, so my work schedule is flexible. I play mainly at night though, once my daughter (the youngest) is asleep. I have a deal with the kids that they let me play one Sunday afternoon a month.

Another player Sheri-Lee Yarema responded: I'm still trying to figure it out myself! But online play and multitasking makes it at least possible for me.

Gill Kerr says that poker and kids is "easy as pie" to manage. "Mobile poker is the way forward! I love the PokerStars Mobile App!

And here's a solution that is the answer to every busy mom's desire to have just a few hours to herself once in a while--Berta Simonenkovaite has the answer. "We solved the problem in our family by getting a summer cottage where I spend a few days a week just playing poker. We have three kids between the ages of 3 and 9, and with two moms in the family it works perfectly. They never have to live without one." A summer cottage where you can get away to play poker sounds like a dream come true--let's put that one on the wish list. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a big cash on PokerStars!

PSW: How much do you play online as opposed to live?

Hanna: I play much more online than live. I still feel a little intimidated when playing live. Too much testosterone! I need more women. That is something I'm working on.

Tina: 99.9 percent of my play is online, but I'm looking forward to gaining experience in live play.

Have you ever played a PokerStars Women Live event?

Hanna: Sadly, no, but it must be so much fun. We always follow the EPT on the PokerStars blog, and all the girls seem so friendly, fun, and skilled. Maybe next year!

Tina: Unfortunately no, but I'm trying to catch up to my husband who won his way through a satellite in the LAPT in Uruguay last August, and also got to play for Team Canada in the America's Cup of Poker (Robert "SintBest" Van Thuyl).
And finally, a comment from Alyson Parker sums up what it's like to be a busy poker playing mom. "My kid is grown (25) but when she calls on the weekend she does say "Are you in a hand?" a lot. We've probably all heard that one a few times!

Multitasking or meditating, moms on PokerStars today seem to know how to make it work. Hats off to them and to moms everywhere as they celebrate their special day. And if your mom is a poker player, think about giving her the gift that keeps on giving--time to play a tournament or two. You never know--she might take you on that next big trip she wins!

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Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women