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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Sandra Naujoks

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

It’s not often in our “Where Are They Now” series that I get to write about a player coming off his or her biggest win in their career.  It’s always fun to write about a female player succeeding in a game where to this day an alarming amount of people still feel a woman’s only place at a poker table is dealing, or serving drinks.  Some of these critics feel this way because it seems the women who do get the super sponsorship deals receive them for a couple of reasons that have nothing to do with their poker playing ability.  But don’t be fooled by Sandra’s Naujoks looks, she has proved both online as “The Black Mamba” and now at one of the premier poker events on any tournament circuit, that she can play with anybody.  

Sandra Naujoks, 27, was born in Dessau, Germany, and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.  Despite her young age, Naujoks has lived quite a full life already.  In college she studied German and history while hoping to become a teacher after graduating.  That’s exactly what she did, but despite enjoying that job, she found herself interested in other things.  As a child she had an interest in designing, and a job opportunity presented itself in the field of graphic design.  While she had to start that job at an entry level position, it wasn’t long before she was successful in the field.  Also, during her time she was climbing up the ranks in the field of graphic designs, she added another line to her resume, model.

Somewhere along the line Naujoks added poker player to her growing resume list.  Where she found time to play is anyone’s guess, but it didn’t take her long to make a name for herself in the online poker world.  In fact, as she was working up the ranks in the online poker world, she also worked as an event planner.  While she was starting to make a name for herself playing online, it wasn’t until she won a live tournament that she began to be recognized by the poker community as a whole.

In October 2008 at the Casino Austria Poker Tour, Naujoks took down an event netting her $240,289.  While the CAPT isn’t one of the most popular tournament circuits around, it was still quite the accomplishment.  In heads up play she defeated Russian pro Alexander Kravchenko, winner of multiple poker tournaments, including being a WSOP bracelet winner.  Proving she can play with such respected players both sent her shooting up the respect ladder in the poker world, and gave her the sense that she can accomplish anything in the poker world.  The year of 2008 also ended with her being crowned European Female Player of the Year.  

Her biggest victory came just mere days ago at the European Poker Tour event in Dortmund, Germany, making it a pretty sweet homecoming party. The final three players were all Germans, including Holger Kanisch (finishing 2nd) and Marc Gork (finishing 3rd). Naujoks dominated the final table, but showed that even good players can benefit from some luck. The last hand of the tournament saw all the chips in the middle of the table with Naujoks holding just a slight chip lead.  Kanisch flipped over an unsuited A-Q, and Naujoks was way behind with an A-9 off-suit.  The flop brought an Ace, and Kanisch was just two cards away from taking an overwhelming chip lead.  However, the turn card brought a 9, and when the river was a blank, Naujoks was $1,159,541 richer.  Naujoks also became the second female player to win an EPT event, the other being Victoria Coren in 2006.

Naujoks is usually known at the poker table by her black cowboy hat, but was without it at her EPT victory.  Naujoks is also known for being a cigar aficionado, posing for many pictures online and in magazines smoking one.  She is one of PokerStars “Shooting Stars,” after spending 2008 as one of Full Tilt Poker’s pros.  She certainly deserves any sponsorship that comes her way.  

It’s amazing to think how much Naujoks has already accomplished, being just 27 years old.  It wasn’t that she was spending time looking for a job at which she was good; it’s that she was good at every job she tried.  It’s this writer’s guess that she didn’t have too many million dollar paydays at her other jobs, so we will probably see her around the poker table for a long time to come.

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