Each week, more than 200 players come together for the $55 Women's Sunday tournament on PokerStars. Its $10K guarantee is certainly a draw, as is the $50 bounty on any member of Team PokerStars Pro. But there is more to it, as the event is a weekly staple in many players' lives and it provides a comfortable place for women to compete in a friendly game. Friendly doesn't mean easy, but the all-female atmosphere is different from the usual fare.
There are numerous women who have final tabled the Women's Sunday multiple times, even a few who have won twice. As we watched those from the first five weeks of 2013, though, we noticed that several women already made two final tables this year. And we wanted you to meet them.
Pkrbadgirl: Name "defines me perfectly"
She is known online as Pkrbadgirl, but she is Jacqueline Garvie off the felt. And she's no stranger to this blog, as we wrote about her last summer when she final tabled three Women's Sunday tournaments in a row.
The 30-something from Scotland has been playing a serious poker game for about two years now. She started her gaming career as a casino worker but had a penchant for card games since her childhood. In 2011, she joined a staking website and took coaching from PokerStars player dtrain27. By December of 2012, she joined another training site and obtained a coaching deal with that same player, which she claims helped her develop as a player. The team at SNG Mentors "has been absolute brilliant," she said, as well as "really supportive, friendly, and helpful."
In 2013, she's been back on the hunt for a Women's Sunday title. She finished eighth at the final table on January 13 and the oh-so-close second place on January 27 for $1,777.50.
Jacqui plays every Sunday, usually more than 40 MTTs, and her Women's Sunday buy-in is on the schedule. She likes it because of the smaller field, and she added, "It's easier to get deeper and enjoy the game more." With her ever-growing bankroll and desire to improve as a player, we won't be surprised to cover her again (and again) in our Women's Sunday recaps as the year progresses.
Kristiine '88: Grinding poker and Masters classes
Kristine Zakaite, who adds an extra "i" to her name when playing on PokerStars, is a 24-year old student living in London. Her studies for a Master's degree take up a fair amount of her time, as they should, but she plays poker when she can. Sundays, especially, are her "tourney grinding days."
Her years of poker playing have made her a better player, mostly through experience. She does have friends who have helped her cash and MTT games, and she admitted, "If I do need advice or opinion, I have friends to ask." She currently plays six to eight tournaments at a time on her Sunday grind, adding more if she happens to bust out of one of them.
One of her favorites, though, is the Women's Sunday. Kristine believes it's a good value, whether she satellites in ("if I don't have too many tables already") or buys in directly. Though she plays the women's tournament mostly the same as other MTTs, she said, "I will admit that when I play against girls that I haven't marked as good or average MTT players, I undervalue their bluffing logic capability, thus I tend to believe them more or call down more in some 'weird' or marginal spots." But her reads are often correct, having given her a Women's Sunday final table finish in 2011, and two already in 2013, a fourth place finish on January 13 and eighth place on January 27.
Kristine is a proponent of women's tournaments, not to mention a fan of them. "I would actually love to see more women's tournaments like the Women's Sunday," she mentioned. "Bigger buy-in, better prize pool, etc."
We'll see what we can do about that, Kristine!
Hotjenny314: Discussing poker is "crucial!"
Hotjenny314 isn't Jenny at all. She's really Katie Dozier - poker professional, poker strategy writer and coach, author of a poker-themed novel, and member of the Grindettes female poker playing team. Poker is such an integral part of her life that she and her husband moved to Mexico to play online poker when they could no longer do so in the United States. And she wrote for us about her return to PokerStars here.
While she plays consistently, Sundays are her big days online, competing in about 150 to 200 tournaments each week. "I look forward to it every single day of the week beforehand!" she said. "At my peak, I'll be playing around 25 MTTs and MTT SNGs at one time." And the Women's Sunday is a part of that schedule. She tries to satellite in on the days leading up to it, usually in the $5.50 satellites or the hyper turbos. "It's great that there are so many different types of satellites for my favorite tournament of the week!"
Why is the Women's Sunday her favorite? "The Women's Sunday has low rake and a fantastic structure. Additionally, I enjoy the camaraderie in the tournament. Women will often chat, and it feels wonderful to see so many women as excited as I am about playing!" In all of that excitement, she is doing well in the event already in 2013, finishing ninth on January 20 and then eighth two weeks later. "I haven't won yet," she added, "but I really hope to ship it in 2013!"
Katie's success comes from much experience and study of poker, but her consistent improvement in the game comes from talking to others. "Discussing poker with people that you have respect for is crucial!" she told us. "So is reviewing your own games. I spend around 10 hours a week studying poker away from the tables. I look over my hand histories and employ poker software to help me to continually improve. Poker training videos are a great resource as well." Sharing this passion with her husband, Collin Moshman, and fellow Grindettes Katie Stone, Jamie Kerstetter, and Jen Shahade also helps.
Let's just say that we won't be surprised if she does ship a Women's Sunday this year.
We hope to see you in the Women's Sundays as well! Find out more on our tournament page.
Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.