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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

CarmenSinCity Plays the LIPS HOE!

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The Ladies International Poker Series descended upon Vegas this past weekend when they swooped into the Orleans Casino for two days of fast paced poker. To get the weekend started, they offered a HOE Game on Saturday morning at 11:00 am for a $50 buy-in, a $15 rebuy and a $5 add-on for a total of $2000 in starting chips. The $5 add-on went straight to the dealers for the tip pool.

HOE is a combination game that starts with Limit Texas Hold Em, moves onto Limit Omaha Hi/Low and rounds out with Stud Eight or Better. The blind levels increased once an hour and the game changed after 20 minutes.

The LIPS Tour was founded by Lupe Soto who was born in San Jose, California in 1958. She was raised by her family and lived in San Jose for most of her life until she married a sailor in San Diego, California and as every military wife knows, she ventured on to a life of moving from place to place for the next 16 years. Eventually she found her way back to San Diego, moved into the field of computers, became very involved with the internet and found her true passion, women's poker. Poker has long been known as a "man's game" and Lupe was instrumental in creating a place for women to play and feel comfortable at the table.

In addition to creating the LIPS Tour, Lupe also opened the first poker club online exclusively for women called "The natural progression was to develop opportunities for women to play together in competitive, yet friendly and comfortable environments." At first this was done exclusively on the Internet. But as time passed, and with encouragement from fellow women poker players, she developed the Ladies International Poker Series, the LIPS Tour, where women who play both live and on the Internet can compete with each other.

My first experience being around all female poker players was this year when I was covering the Ladies Event during the World Series of Poker. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the field was intimidating. There wasn't much table banter. The usual smiling happy faces that I see around the poker room were gone and instead I was greeted with intense glares, deafening silence and a general air of seriousness. I thought to myself "these ladies are here to win", a lot of them didn't event want to be photographed and I was glad to be watching from the sidelines instead of playing.

I expected to walk into the HOE Event on Saturday and be greeted with a similar experience. I was nervous, I've never even played Omaha Hi/Low and I'm equally unfamiliar with Stud Eight or Better. Thankfully, my experience at the LIPS Tour was the exact opposite of intimidating. Everyone was smiling, talkative, friendly and in general they were a happy and fun group. Out of the 136 players that entered the HOE Event, I would say that about 36 people knew how to play very well and the other 100 were there to have fun, learn some new games and socialize with other females interested in playing poker.

To start things off, Lupe introduced herself to the crowd, she gave a little speech and informed us that the winner would be receiving a free entry into the next day's Orleans Open $300 Ladies NLHE Event. To shake things up, if your aces were cracked you would get a very stylish LIPS visor, there was a bounty on Lupe and if you knocked her out you would receive a $100 cash prize, and the bubble girl would get a free copy of Susie Isaac's book "Queens Can Beat Kings". At this time Susie Isaacs jumped up and grabbed the microphone, introduced herself, cracked a couple of jokes, promised to sign a copy of her book, told us to relax, have fun and play some poker!

My table was great. I think there were two ladies out of 9 who actually knew how to play all three of the games, the rest of us had fun, laughed a lot, learned as we went along and trusted the dealer to look at our hands and figure out the winner.

Things started off a little disorganized. Limit Texas Holdem was our starting game and after 20 minutes we changed to Omaha Hi/Low and the blinds went up from $25 - $50 to $50 - $100. I started thinking that if the blinds were going to increase at this rapid pace, I might not even make it to see Stud and I certainly wouldn't make it to Texas Hold Em again unless I got really lucky. As soon as Susie Isaacs realized what was happening, she talked to Lupe and they approached the tournament director and let him know that this structure was increasing way too fast. So, the TD immediately took corrective measures and made an announcement that blinds would increase once an hour instead of every 20 minutes and they came around and gave every player an extra $1000 in chips. That is what I call excellent customer service. This was truly one of best experiences I've ever had playing in a tournament.

Since I'd never played Omaha Hi/Low in my life (with the exception of using play money on, I was nervous when we moved to the 2nd round. My mind doesn't think in 10 directions at once. I knew that I had to use two cards in my hand; I knew that there was no chance of a low hand if there weren't 3 low cards on the board, and I knew that with every card, the chances of your hand winning could dramatically change. For instance, I was dealt a pair of red 7's and then two low spades. When a 7 came on the flop, I was thrilled and hoping to fill up. I stayed in the hand probably longer than I should have because I had a feeling that I was beat.

When we turned over our cards, I ended up having a flush! It never even occurred to me to pay attention to the spades in my hand; I was concentrating on the set of 7's. Thank god for Peg sitting next to me in the 2 seat, she noticed my flush when the dealer didn't even see it.

Next hand, I end up with a low straight to give me the high and the low; another hand I won and didn't even know it until we turned over our cards. Now I'm starting to think this Omaha game is pretty cool. I'm getting a little cocky. Next hand I end up with a full house (tens full of seven's) and I'm sure I won this hand, until "Miss Thing", in the four seat, (one of the girls who actually knows how to play Omaha), turns over pocket sevens to give her quads. So, what did I learn about Omaha? When I think I've won the hand, I've probably lost and when I think I've lost the hand, turn the cards over and let the dealer figure it out.

With 136 entrants, the 1st place winner won a total of $2,465, 2nd place scored $1,445 and a total of 15 places were paid. The total prize pool was a lofty $8,495. Not bad for a $50 buy-in!

Sitting in seat 3, was a girl named Julie and she is very involved in the LIPS Tour. She told me about an upcoming event at the Ocean's 11 Casino, in Oceanside, CA. "It's the most fun you will ever have, they treat you like royalty, the food and service is outstanding, they plan all kinds of fun games and events for you and what better way to meet more female poker players and become involved"? Ocean's 11 week end is also known as California State Ladies Championship Weekend and the theme this year is "Hot Latin Nights". This is a LIPS sponsored Event that is running from September 27 - September 30 and you can find more information at . I have bookmarked the LIPS website because I had such a positive experience playing with these women. I look forward to the next LIPS Event and I hope to see you there too.

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