So many women taking the stage these days!
Some say that it happens because of the internet where one doesn't directly confront other players. That might be true, but on the other hand it can only happen if the chat is not looked at, because name-calling and belittling still happen with a blatant sexist twist if the name can be interpreted that way at all—or icons or pictures can be seen that way. Of course there are many women that choose to play as men, and men that play as women—I do know both—and both have good reasons for doing it, it fits their style. Also, while poker is still largely a young man's game, it is not nearly as compartmentalized as it once was. Plus, percentage-wise the number of females in the game is still dwarfed by males.
It's not like the days where only Barbara Enright and Marsha Waggoner stood up to the men. Along came Lucy Rokach and Linda Johnson, followed by Kristi Gazes, Kathy Liebert, Jennifer Harman, and JJ Liu among others, and then the floodgates opened and so many appeared that I can't name them all here, with the Norwegian player Annette Obrestad leading the way.
Recently, in Costa Rica I played with one such woman—Natasha Ellis from Edinburgh, Scotland. She had the ideal presentation because it was hard to think she was as sophisticated at poker as she was, she said nothing and looked off into space and beat the hell out of me with a relentless aggression that was born from a lot of hours of online experience. She came in 15th, was the last female in the tournament, and a clear threat to win it all.
Mark, Natasha's significant other on the scene couldn't bear to watch and kept leaving the room and then returning soon thereafter as if he wasn't sure if he was supposed to be there. He relied on updates from Natasha and a few from me, but his basic problem was to be there…or not. I think others have had this problem as well.
In a live tournament for $2000 that Natasha played in a casino in Edinburgh as only three runners were still in it, she held and after raising from the button was called by another professional player in the big blind. The flop brought , he checked and she bet and he check-raised all-in. A call had to happen here, and did, and he held for a flush draw and after it blanked off Natasha went on to win her first brick and mortar event.
The thing that she seems to be the most proud of is that she has stood the test of time as an online professional—someone who has made a consistent living from poker for a number of years.
Her dad taught her poker at the age of five and on a two week poker playing cruise with him the following hand came up in a live no-limit game that was full, no one limped in and she raised with in the cutoff and both blinds called. It came and now she bet 80% of the pot and only JJ Liu called from the little blind. The turn was a and JJ checked and then raised Natasha's bet and called the re-re-raise all-in, only to lose with trips to the made full house.
In pre-UIGEA days on Full Tilt she was doing very well in 5-10 and 10-20 online cash games and one day went on tilt, playing at a higher level [25-50 blinds in a no-limit hold'em game] and warns everyone not to follow this example! The first hand was successful, but it is not the whole story…
Allen Cunningham and Stuart Patterson were two of the opponents as she raised with , The Donator called from the button, and the flop brought and she followed it with a bet of 600 and he flat called. Now she didn't like this situation one bit as he could have a huge range of hands. The turn brought the and she could check behind him if she had position, but out of position what is one supposed to do? So she bet 2000 and he called again! It has begun to look like he has a flush draw with two overcards like , or a set as he didn't raise on this street. The river brought and she checked and he checked behind with a busted flush draw, which brought Natasha one of the biggest pots of her life to that point in time.
From here she built her stack up to about 17,000, more than making up for the loss in the smaller game, when hurting arrived like an eighteen-wheeler that came out of the night. She put all her money into a pot where she decided that the other player was trying to muscle her out. She had top two pair and he had a flush. Whoops.
Remember don't play when you aren't right!
Until next time…play good, and be lucky!