Yes, it's probably a little shallow, but I thought I was destined to be "someone" my whole life. So, when I won my first poker tournament at Binions, I called everyone I knew, started buying and reading poker books by the dozen, joined an online poker site, and made the decision to move out here to Vegas. Yes, I had caught poker fever, and I've never looked back.
I'm not alone with my silly little fantasy. I think a lot of us have dreams of winning a bracelet at the World Series of Poker. When the Ladies Event started on Sunday, I was beyond excited! I was lucky enough to have a few good friends playing and they were nice enough to sit down with me afterwards and answered all of the questions running through my head.
Lori "Irongirl" Christina (irongirl01.blogspot.com) was victim number one. My first question and the thing I was most curious about was the nervous factor. Was she nervous? No way! Lori plays in a lot of tournaments, and she's very comfortable at a poker table. "I play with a lot of guys and they don't intimidate me" Lori said. "My motto is that you fear no one and respect everyone". She was lucky enough to be staked for this event, so winning a satellite wasn't an issue.
I wondered how the ladies were feeling about the tournament structure, and I got mixed reviews.
Kelley Hamilton (in white), a mortgage broker from Colorada was thrilled with the structure. Kelley also plays a lot of tournament poker and she travels out to Vegas a few times every year. The blinds were liberal increasing every sixty minutes, and although she isn't used to playing with antes, they didn't pose a problem.
Lori wasn't thrilled with the structure because, like most players, she feels that a deeper structure better suits a strong player instead of the push-fest that eventually took place.
I noticed when walking through the Amazon Room that these were some serious players and they meant business. I'm not really sure what I was expecting to see, maybe some friendly banter, jovial chatting and a little gossip? I mean, that's what I do at the poker table. This is probably why I'm sitting in the Media Room writing about the event instead of playing in it.
At any rate, the room was tense, emotions were kept at a very even level and I didn't see many smiles. This is not to say that these weren't some of the nicest women I've ever talked to. Every woman I've introduced myself to has been accommodating and friendly, but I wouldn't mistake the kindness for weakness at the table, because these ladies were there to win.
Both women agreed that the experience was phenomenal and they were both pleased to have had the opportunity to play. Kelley is hooked and will be playing for years to come. Even though she was extremely nervous for the first hour or two, her stomach eventually settled down and all of the fears dissipated.
Lori and I talked about the "walk of shame" and she agreed that it was the worst feeling in the world when she busted out and had to leave the table, go back to the other side of the ropes, and make the long walk out to the line of cabs waiting in the HOT desert sun. She replayed those hands in her head for hours.
Eventually, she was able to let it go, and she was very happy with her play overall. She had a great attitude when I spoke with her, and she was nice enough to talk to me just a few minutes after busting out. I would have gone home and sulked for a few days before talking to anyone.
I caught up with Kelley the day after her tournament life was ended, and she was had a great attitude as well. She wouldn't have changed a thing, she had the time of her life and we look forward to meeting up again at tables.
I'm drawn to powerful, confident and fun women - both Lori and Kelley share these qualities. There is no doubt in my mind that we'll all meet up at the tables again and I look forward to it.