It's almost time for the Women's Sunday!

In my short-lived poker career so far, I have tried many ways to improve my game. I have studied the pros, hoping some of their talent would somehow magically rub off on me. I entered a side event in the UKIPT Isle of Man, and, after a disastrous performance on my behalf, I vowed to never enter a tournament again. But now PokerStars Women announces that, to celebrate the three-year anniversary of the Women's Sunday at the end of March, they are guaranteeing a whopping prize fund of $30K. What is a girl to do? Well, play in it, of course.


The good - well, great - news is that there will be more satellites than we can shake sticks at, and I intend to play as many as I can in an attempt to win my seat. Playing in successive satellites, right from the beginning, will be a challenge and should be an excellent way to build the stamina I will need for the Woman's Sunday tournament.

It will also be the first women-only tournament I have played, which makes it extra exciting. There is a mixed view on women-only events; some people feel that they are unnecessary, whereas others feel that they are an excellent opportunity for women to improve their game without the fear of being intimidated. Either way, I am expecting it to be a totally different vibe to the usual male-dominated environment, and I'm looking forward to the experience.

This time, I will be prepared! Okay, so I have said that before, but every failure is a lesson learned, and what is poker but one long learning curve? I have trailed my previous lesson and come up with a few strategies.

1. Be Unafraid.

I will desensitize myself to defeat. If I know I have played the best I can, I will not beat myself up; if I could have played better, I will find a way to improve on it.

2. Be Mindful.

Yes, yoga terminology has slipped into my poker strategy. I will be mindful of the fact that a hand is so much more than my two hole cards and focus my awareness on how other plays are behaving.

3. Leave the Ego at the Door.

I will not let another player get me hot under the collar, nor will I lament when my pocket aces get rivered. It's all part of the fun.

4. Practice ...

... because it makes perfect, and with satellites starting at $0.33 the week before the tournament, even my pitiful bankroll can afford a poker binge.

5. Take Risks.

As a learner, my style of play has been very conservative, and I think now is the time to begin experimenting with calculated bluffs. I will also begin to alter my playing style in response to the table I am on. If the table is tight, I will play aggressively, and vice versa. Again, affordable satellites are a great place to experiment with this.

6. Handle the pros.

With a very attractive bounty of $150 (three times the usual bounty) on the head of any Team PokerStars Pro in the field, it would be easy embark on a kamikaze-style mission to take them out. But I must remember to keep my cool and play it straight.

So, this is my Women's Sunday survival strategy. I have to admit how exciting it is to have an event toward which to aim, and one that I will get a lot of enjoyment from, regardless of how I get on. I can feel a rising anticipation which could rival that felt during the UKIPT - IOM back in November 2013. I will be playing under the user name "anniebear82" and would love to chat to other players.

Hopefully I'll be reporting back on my progress, and until then, I wish everyone playing the very best of luck.

Ann-Marie McCarthy
@PokerStars in Women's Sunday