You may not have heard her name just yet, but keep an eye out for Lauren Kling. Primarily an online player, Kling has had some impressive cashes online, most notably a second-place finish in the Ultimate Bet Online Championship Main Event for $163,244. We sat down with Kling to discuss how she got started in poker, what her plans are for the future, and what she is rockin' out to at the tables.
Tell us how you first found your way to poker, we want to know about your first time.
My first memory of poker is when I got to UC Berkley, freshman year. It was either the first or second day of living in the dorms, and the guys in my dorm were all sitting around playing with pennies, or quarters. I've always loved cards, so I asked them to teach me and they thought it would be cool to teach a girl to play. So they did, and I eventually started taking all their money.
What were the buy-in's you were playing at the time?
Maybe five to twenty dollars. It was never over twenty dollars. My senior year though, I started playing a cash game which was a $200-$300 buy-in.
What prompted you to take poker more seriously?
My senior year, after I got back from studying in Barcelona for six-months, which was a life-changing experience, I realized there was more to life than sitting in an office. After studying engineering and business in school, I had initially wanted to work in i-banking, or real estate. The economy was terrible, and I was making some money in poker and traveling to Vegas on the weekend to play as well, so I decided why not give it a shot and focus on poker.
How did you go about trying to better your game? Was there any player in particular you looked up to, and tried to model your game after?
I read a lot of books and played online as much as possible to get experience. I've always looked up to Vanessa Rousso. She's a smart female in the industry who has been very successful.
Talk to us about being a woman at the poker table. How different do you think playing is for you than it is for guys?
It really depends on the table that you are at. Sometimes I think it makes no difference at all, and other times it does. I would say for the most part guys probably don't take you as seriously, but that is the main difference in my opinion.
Your results so far this year have been impressive. Was there a moment when your game just clicked into place?
I think it was finishing second in the $1,000 UBOC tournament. It really gave me the confidence to believe in myself. That's huge in poker, because if you have the confidence in your game, than you can really start to excel.
You've been able to parlay that win into some nice live cashes as well, talk to us about the transition from online poker to live poker.
It's different in the sense that you don't get to see exactly how many chips a player has in their stack, or how much they have behind after putting money into the pot. I am constantly trying to calculate how many chips they have, or how many big blinds they have. Online, it's much easier to calculate all that. Also, live is generally much slower also. The blinds don't go up as fast, and people don't tend to be as aggressive as they are online.
Do you have any specific goals for 2010 when it comes to your poker game?
Really, just to be the best I can be. I'd like to have a big live result; either a big win, or a big final table.
What's a typical night for you in Vegas like?
Honestly, I rarely go out. I am usually playing online. I'm a dork (laughs).
What's the worst, or best pick-up line you've ever been approached with at the poker table?
One guy told me that he had aces and I should just fold. It's not really a pick-up line, but it was pretty crazy, so I folded.
Has PokerNews, any other poker media used the pun Kling-On, or mentioned that you are Klinging on to your chips?
PokerNews has used Klinging on, quite a bit actually. I've definitely read it more than once.
Do you listen to music when you play?
I listen to music every day when I play online, but not so much when I play live. I love a variety of music, from Lil' Wayne, to Led Zeppelin, to Euro Techno.
Do you have specific music when you hit a big online final table?
I usually try to keep myself pumped up with Lil' Wayne, or some driving techno.
Give us a song you would consider your guilty pleasure, that you'd listen to over and over, but probably don't want people knowing.
The first thing that comes to mind is Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" (laughs).
Favorite travel destination?
Barcelona is my favorite city. I also really like China a lot, I've been to Shanghai.
Tell us about one of your more memorable bluffs you've pulled off recently.
This one hand at the LA Poker Classic I felt really good about. This guy had raised on the button, and the small blind called. I knew the small blind was just calling to float the guy on the flop, as he had done it several times before. I called with six-seven, and the flop came jack-eight-ace, and the guy on the button continuation-bet, the other guy floated as I imagined he would, and I decided to go with my read, and raised pretty big with air. The button kept looking at me, and I knew he had an ace, but he eventually laid it down, as did the floater. I told him I flopped a set of eights, after he told me he laid down his ace.
Which player would give you ultimate satisfaction by busting them from a tournament?
Obviously it would be cool to bust Phil Ivey, or Tom Dwan.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us Lauren! Best of luck at the tables.