Spotlight on PS Women: Nilda Cerna's life lessons from poker

The beginning of the year seems likes a good time to talk a little about some of the contributors at PokerStars Women, so I took the opportunity to chat with Nilda Cerna of our Spanish and Latin American blogs. Nilda has been writing for PokerStars Women for more than two years and has worked in the poker industry in Spain in excess of four years. She plays online regularly on PokerStars and has covered several PokerStars Women Live events.

PokerStars Women (PSW): Nilda, can you give us a little information about where you're from and what your background is?

Nilda: I am Chilean, living for the last year in Concepción, Chile. Before that, I lived in Spain for over 10 years in Barcelona and Madrid. I am an industrial engineer but have worked most of the time in marketing. I worked in the poker industry in Spain at a poker school and as a consultant for poker companies.

PSW: How did you get started writing for PokerStars Women?

Nilda: It was a bit by chance. In 2011, I was living in Madrid, where the EPT Grand Final took place, along with the Women's Event, of course. I wasn't able to qualify for the event, but I have a poker blog and was very active at that time. It happened that PokerStars was looking for a Spanish writer for PokerStars Women, and they liked my work. So it was a great joy when they asked me to be a freelance writer for the blog.

Nilda Cerna - EPT Barcelona.png

PSW: So it sounds like you played poker at the time. How did you get your start in poker?

Nilda: It was about six years ago on a holiday with my family. My brother-in-law played in a poker tournament at the hotel where we stayed. I had no idea what poker was about and didn't understand anything when he tried explaining his hands to me. I only understood when he said a mutual friend, who is a chess Grand Master, played poker, too, and won a major tournament. At that point, I thought, "This can't be just a matter of chance," so on returning home, I did some research on poker and poker strategy. I loved it, and since then, I haven't stopped.

PSW: Where do you play now, mostly online or live?

Nilda: A year ago I decided to play only within my bankroll, so I only play online at PokerStars. Most of the time, I play cash, partly because I can play short sessions. I play micro-stakes games, allowing me to study and improve my game at a level that won't risk significant amounts of money. I also play some satellites for live EPT women's tournaments and some Women's Sunday satellites.

I played a lot of live cash games when I lived in Barcelona and now play very little, as I'm respecting my bankroll. In the last year, I've played live at a club in my city, where I came in fourth, and at LAPT Chile, where I qualified online.

Nilda Cerna - LAPT Chile.jpg

PSW: What's your favorite thing about playing poker?

Nilda: I like a lot of things about the game itself, but the best thing is the gaming community out there. You can talk to the players and, in next to no time, it's as if you were lifelong friends. It's incredible!

PSW: What's your favorite thing regarding writing about poker?

Nilda: The first thing is that I get to encourage women to play poker. I love poker, and I want all women to play. The second thing is getting to know players from many countries with different situations and circumstances, but all sharing the same great passion for poker. For example, I have interviewed grandmothers who play, as well as a really young girl who played all the tournaments in the league every day for a year!

PSW: Whom do you admire most in poker?

Nilda: I admire all those women who combine their daily lives of work, study, family, children, partners, and a long list of activities with playing poker. I admire the women who organize themselves to devote hours a day to playing online or going to live events, often competing over several days.

PSW: What is the most surprising thing you've learned about poker or poker players?

Nilda: I have learned a lot of things, but above all, it's helped me in two ways. One is to identify and control the tilt of everyday situations. The other is an analogy in decision making. If the situation warrants, I go all-in with the decision, and I'm reassured I did the right thing, regardless of what the "board" brings. I never thought poker would help me with my daily life, but it does!

PSW: What PokerStars Women Live events have you covered?

Nilda: I've covered the EPT Grand Final in Madrid in 2011, the EPT Madrid in 2012, and EPT Barcelona in 2012. I've also taken advantage of other PokerStars events to interview players, such as the Estrellas Poker Tour in Spain and the LAPT Chile in 2013. I've met most of the Team PokerStars Pros at these events and many female players as well.

PSW: What are some of your hobbies outside of playing poker?

Nilda: For some years I've been running, taking part in fun runs in Spain. A couple of months ago, I started doing Crossfit, which I am absolutely thrilled about, so much so that I'm preparing an article about it comparing it to poker!

Thanks to Nilda for sharing some of the details about her poker journey and writing for PokerStars Women. We look forward to sharing more stories from our other contributors with you in the months to come.

In the meantime, read more about women in poker and learn about our female PokerStars Team Pros. And to read about upcoming events and the updated Women's Poker Club, see our home page.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women