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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | Poker Personalities

Liebert in the Limelight – Kathy Makes First 2008 WSOP Final Table

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She is the top female tournament earner in the history of poker with over $4.5 million thus far. She has more accomplishments on her poker resume in a span of 14 years than most players could hope to accumulate throughout a lifetime. And yet Kathy Liebert is one of the most underpublicized, under-sponsored players in the game of poker. But it’s not Kathy doing the complaining, as she simply goes about her business of playing poker and crushing the competition, as she did last night by finishing third in the first event of the 2008 WSOP.

Among her numerous accomplishments, Kathy has 24 World Series of Poker cashes with a bracelet in the 2004 $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout event, 13 World Poker Tour money finishes, four of which were televised final tables and another the WPT Ladies Night Invitational. She won the 2002 Party Poker Million cruise that made her the first woman to ever win a million dollars in an open event. Need I continue?

In addition to her tangible successes, she has been a perfect example of a class act at the poker tables, paving the way for women to join the masses without making a spectacle of her gender and demanding special treatment. She is respectful of competitors, on and off the tables, and always has time to discuss the game with reporters. Always modest, she never flaunts the money that she makes from poker and her other investments and doesn’t live an extravagant lifestyle. She is someone with whom every woman can identify.

Several years ago, Kathy did enter into a sponsorship deal with InterPoker, an online website that left the U.S. market after the enactment of the UIGEA law. However, since then, several sites have continued to cater to U.S. players and build their rosters of professional players. The glaring omission from all of those player lists and sponsorship opportunities is Kathy Liebert. Players with tremendously fewer accomplishments and reputations that are shaky, at best, have semi-lucrative deals because of one major tournament victory or the weight/shape of a supermodel.

On June 1st, when Kathy prepared to enter the first final table of the WSOP – in a $10,000 buy-in world championship of pot-limit hold’em – that would be televised on ESPN later this summer, PokerStars approached her for a sponsorship deal – a one time deal that would make her a member of Team PokerStars for one event. At the same time, just down the hallway of the Rio Convention Center, Patrik Antonius, who would later join Kathy at the final table, was in front of media cameras and reporters to accept his position as a Full Tilt Pro next to other members like Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer. The deal was undoubtedly a lucrative, long-term, and celebrated one.

Keep in mind, Kathy vocalized no complaints whatsoever about her one-event deal offered by PokerStars. If impressions are correct, that is simply not in her nature. The point remains, however, that she is the top-earning female in poker and generally ranked among the best players in general. And she has no sponsorship deal. Enough said.

After her third place finish at the June 1st WSOP final table, she graciously wished luck to Andy Bloch and Nenad Medic in their quest for the bracelet, thanked the audience for their cheers and support, and made the trip to the cashier cage for her $306,064 prize. She then took a few moments to speak with me about her most recent success.

JN: How was the tournament for you?

Third place!

JN: Of course. Congratulations!

(Smiles) It’s bittersweet. If you would have told me at the beginning of this tournament that I was going to finish third, I would’ve been ecstatic. It’s disappointing not to win, but given the field and the lineup and my chip stack, I feel pretty good about how I’ve done. I did have a chance to win…

JN: There were several times you were down and came back.

Yeah. Well, I started off well in the tournament and doubled up early, so I was in pretty good shape. I really wasn’t under a lot of pressure for most of the tournament. And the structure is pretty good; I actually had a fair amount of time. I didn’t get a lot of hands, but I got enough hands, didn’t take any bad beats… Sometimes in a tournament, you always take risks obviously. At one point, I did have Kings against Aces, but fortunately I had enough chips and was able to survive that. You know, you’ve got to get lucky sometimes.

JN: How did you feel coming into the final table?

I wasn’t worried, though the other players were tough. I actually didn’t like that this internet player [Mike Sowers] was on my immediate left because I know he was very loose and aggressive. I hadn’t played with him before but I knew he was going to gamble with me. So I felt like I had to play a little more solid because he might not have known me as much. I think the other players would give me a little more respect, and I felt like he was going to gamble with me a bit, which you really don’t want at the final table. He wound up moving in with a 9-4 when Mike Sexton raised, and he reraised and wound up going broke with it, so my read on him was correct.

JN: This is the first event of the World Series. How did you feel coming in and going forward?

I feel great! It’s just a long tournament, and to do well in the first event is a great start. I don’t know what I’m playing next, probably the next no-limit hold’em, so I’ll take a couple days off and rest. It’s very tiring and stressful to play for so long, and if you don’t pace yourself, you can really wear yourself out and then you have no chance.

Solid advice and humble words from one of the best players in the game. Thanks to Kathy for her time and best wishes for the rest of the 2008 World Series of Poker!

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