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2010 Ladies World Series of Poker Redux June 20, 2010

Posted by Jennifer in : chess,feminism,poker,travel , add a comment

I’m back from Las Vegas, where I played in the Ladies World Series of Poker and covered the National Open for Chess Life Online. I also made a quick stop in Saint Louis for meetings related to the 2010 US Women’s and US Junior’s Championship (July 9-19)and to give a group of Saint Louis women a sneak preview into “Play Like a Girl”, the 9queens/Mongoose Press collaboration that will be coming out later this year. It was all a blast, though predictably, I came back with a serious case of the Vegas/airplane flu.

I reported on the Ladies World Series of Poker on the second episode of Women’s Poker Hour and in an article on WomanPokerPlayer.com, which begins thus:

At the Ladies Event of the World Series of Poker, Vanessa Hellebuyck of France won her first bracelet and a prize of $192,000. Despite the uproarious applause of what seemed liked every French man or woman in Las Vegas, Vanessa’s win barely registered a peep compared to the media coverage of the dozen men who took their legal right to play in the “Ladies’ Event” seriously.

About ten minutes into the event, Seth Palansky made it clear that Harrah’s was not happy about the men who infiltrated the Event #22 of the World Series. A woman, who I later found out was Joy Miller representing Bluff Magazine, also announced soon after the tournament started that online poker legend Shaun Deeb was playing (in drag) because he lost a prop bet.

Women’s poker tournaments have a great atmosphere. Daniel Negreanu called it “electric!” We compliment each other’s clothes and handbags, offer each other gum and lip-balm, and spend the first three levels set-mining and waiting for aces. Except of course if Shaun Deeb is on our right in which case we three-bet him until his mascara, applied by none other than Liv Boeree, drips and he changes his mind, decides that drag is uncool and women’s poker tournaments are just wrong.

Some more salient points from my reportage:

1. I was eliminated from the Ladies WSOP shoving A3o from the Cutoff in an unenviable but inevitable spot. My opponent called with AQo and I was busto minutes before the dinner break.
2. I cashed in my private lesson with pokerstars pro Vanessa Rousso of Big Slick Bootcamp. Vanessa is really passionate about poker and teaching, and I will write a full article on my lesson with her. One tidbit: she is not a big fan of three-bet shoving, which was comforting cause there were a few such spots in the WSOP that I wisely chickened out on. Rousso is currently in the Elite Eight of the 10K Heads-Up competition, which started with 256 players. Good luck!!
3. Phil Ivey is better looking in person than on TV poker tables because a. he is much taller than you’d expect (often obscured by slumping over the poker table), and b. he dresses well (often obscured by full tilt gear).
4. Of the dozen men who crashed the Ladies WSOP, one used a tampon as a card-protector. While this may be a rude, I don’t think it merits a penalty. The same sort of male tournament director who gives a penalty to someone for that is the type of boyfriend who would think it’s “gross” to run out to the CVS and buy a pack of Tampax for his girlfriend. It’s a tampon, not an illicit device!
5. Two more stories coming on my aforementioned lesson with Rousso and a pokerchess match that I contested against a chessplayer turned poker pro.

Women’s Poker Hour and the $20 Headphones Rebuy June 5, 2010

Posted by Jennifer in : feminism,poker , add a comment

I’m proud to co-host with Amy Zupko, Women’s Poker Hour, a radio show sponsored by womanpokerplayer.com. On our first show (check it out here) , we interviewed the lovely Danielle Benham from Australia, who recently signed with Felt Stars. Danielle is also a blogger and edits Women’s Poker News.

In the next edition of Woman’s Poker Hour, I’ll talk about my go around at the 2010 Ladies World Series of Poker (coming up in just a week!) and my lesson with professional poker player and entreprenuer Vanessa Rousso. One of Vanessa’s pet projects, Big Slick Bootcamps, donated a private Rousso lesson to a freeroll I won on womanpokerplayer.com.

A Tale of Two Headsets

About four years ago, I went to a RadioShack and bought the cheapest skype headset in the store. With that headset, I commented on chess.fm shows from the World Championships to the US Chess League. The sound was OK, but I’d often pop an advil or four during the broadcasts, cause the headphones smashed my ears together and gave me wicked headaches.

This April, I lost a 10:1 chip lead in a heads-up match which would qualify me directly to a tournament I really wanted to play in Monte Carlo. The value of first was around $4500 while second was just $600. Afterwards, I ripped a glossy art magazine and a New Yorker to shreds, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to destroy a heavier item. Keyboard and monitors were too dear to my blogger’s survival instinct and NO WAY was I hurting googie (my pet name for my google phone.) So the target of my rage was bound to be those headphones of many headaches. On the other side of the Atlantic, the villain, Atheanna from Oslo was probably popping champagne as I smashed plastic. It was the first time I ever broke something after losing in poker (or chess for that matter), and hopefully the last.

I’ve moved up in the World, so when the time came that I needed a headset, I went to Staples and picked the most expensive one in the store. Could I win back the love of my ears, which had endured so many years of helix abuse? “Yes,” said the soft fabric of the new headset, massaging my ears. Unfortunately, the new headphones distance the sound of my voice on the receiving end, reducing the pleasure of the listeners. Well for most listeners at least. People seem to either love or hate my voice. The majority like me, but detractors are vocal and graphic, like one ICC troll who said I reminded him of a strangled cat. It alarms me that anyone would know how that sounds–I’m clasping my hands around my neck now to try it: meogwghwgh.

So after a much anticipated week in the City of Sin, I’ll rebuy those earphones of frugal days. Then armed with a bottle of Motrin, I’ll call Amy, and the stories from Las Vegas will flow.