EPT8 Campione: Boeree and Weisner on trolling and talent
Great strides have been made to make poker if not a more welcoming place to women, then certainly more accessible. While tournament fields are hardly equality levelled it's certainly no surprise for any table to have one or two female players seated at it. While the internet provides the playground for online poker, which of course knows no gender boundary, it also provides the anonymous forum for cowardly comments and unaccountable trolling.
While it's not a major problem, thankfully increasingly less so it seems, it is an issue that some high profile women in the game have had to come to terms with. Few more so than Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree who's been in the public eye of poker since successfully auditioning for a reality TV poker show. In the aftermath of that Boeree made a few tournament scores before hitting the big time with that €1,250,000 EPT San Remo title but was forced to deal with some snide comments, both online and off.
"I guess that it's annoying but actually I just don't care anymore to be honest. I used be very paranoid about it but after San Remo and some other results, including online where I've been killing it, I just don't care anymore. It's quite nice to have disassociation from that now," she said with some obvious relief and a chuckle.
But how do you best distance yourself from some of the more unsavoury and juvenile comments? What approach would you recommend to those entering the game?
"Develop a thick skin and develop it quickly. It can be really hurtful, really, really, really hurtful. Unfortunately it's always going to exist, there's not much that you can do about that. I'd say either avoid reading it, that's the number one thing, but if you can't, such as someone tells you about it, then just be prepared to have a thick skin and believe in yourself. That's the best thing that I can recommend," said Boeree, whose $2,138,989 in live winnings prove to be the best response, putting her eighth in the women's all-time money list.
While the 'haters-gonna-hate' motto is a good one to brush off unfounded criticism, Boeree easily has enough ammunition to fight back against any detractors. Her online results - remember the 'killing it' comment? - are painfully good according to tracking sites: $380,935 won for a net profit of $162,681 for a *rub your eyes, now rub them again* overall ROI of 75%.
Any argument levelled by, let's face it, jealous online critics that she just happened to run good in one tournament simply doesn't wash. Her online record is just too impressive with firsts in a WCOOP $100 Second Chance ($40,448) and the Sunday Warm-Up ($147,781) backed up by other victories in notoriously tough online comps such as the $109 and $109 rebuy.
However when it comes to live performances no-one is as tough on Boeree as she is on herself. When asked how much pressure she feels to score another title or final table I barely get a chance to finish the question:
"All of it. Yup, all of it," she said quickly.
And where does that pressure come from? Inward from yourself or outward from other people?
"Both, I think. Definitely inward, definitely outward," said Boeree.
Poker as we know can be a fickle game, the turn of a card rocketing one player to a major final table and another player to the rail. The successful grinders know that it's about consistently getting yourself into the position where you stand a chance of making the money that matters. This is something that Boeree has done multiple times; 37th in the $25,000 WPT Championship ($40,855), 36th in last summer's €10,000 WSOPE main event (€27,500) and 12th in the £3,500 English Poker Open (£9,500).
Any of those could have gone differently, but we don't operate on a coulda, woulda, shoulda system in poker. That's just variance, I'm afraid. Will Boeree score another live final table soon? While you can't guarantee it, she's certainly got the credentials and competiveness to do so. She's currently on 45,000 here and set to cruise through to Day 2. She's got a good record against Italian opposition, you know...
Is it just sponsored female players in the spotlight that have to deal with a (thankfully very limited) number of abusive online critics? It seems not.
Melanie Wesiner, the fast talking and often acerbic American, has had to deal with bouts of chauvinism but - and this is unlikely to surprise you if you've met her - she seems to enjoy meeting any abuse head on.
"I guess it depends on what kind of mood I'm in. If I'm in a playful mood I'll just troll them right back but I rarely turn the chat off because I'd hate to miss someone saying something that is indicative of anything. I got into the habit of either trying to play it off or not responding and not dignifying it, if you know what I mean. I play a lot of heads up sit-and-gos and there's a lot more chat in those than in MTTs," said the American.
Weisner, one of the up and coming women in the game with $419,071 in live cashes and six EPT main event cashes, plays under the name of Callisto 5 and oddly enough shares a near identical online tournament profit as Boeree with $162,207. The success no doubt helping the 25-year-old to be typically whimsical about online trolling.
"People like to try and tilt you. In heads up sit-and-gos I get a lot of whining and general insults, people just trying to piss me off but I've got a really good handle on that. The plan is usually to just try to give them some kind of bad beat and then make their lives hell. I try not to get too dirty into it but if something's really funny then I appreciate it. It's part of the culture, you know what I mean? Honestly, I think it's a real mistake for anyone to take themselves too seriously in internet poker," said Weisner.
Well put, Ms Weisner. Let the cards do the talking.
Level 7: blinds 250-500, ante 50
Day 1B players: 295 of 392
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