The WSOP Ladies Event is rattling towards the latter stages, and one name that might look familiar to fans scrolling through past players in the event is Amanda Sizemore. Sizemore finished 10th in the event in 2011, then did even better just two years ago when she finished third for $61,268. This year, she was sitting pretty with one of the biggest stacks with 45 players remaining, so we caught up with her to ask if she thinks she can go two places better than in 2015.
“I hope so!" she said. "Last year, I can’t even remember if I played it. I think I late registered and busted early. I didn’t play much of the World Series at all in 2016. I was happy to cash it again this year, I love this tournament. It’s fun!”
That agonizing third-placed finish 24 months ago still hurts Sizemore as she recounts how near and how far she got to a WSOP gold bracelet.
“It was all at the same time exciting and heartbreaking. To get so close, it was even more painful. It was a great experience. It’s funny, but I only play the Ladies, and the Main Event, I got pretty close to cashing the Main in 2015. I’m mostly a cash player.”
Another area of expertise for the versatile Sizemore has been what until this summer was the Rio’s best-kept secret. Earlier this week, we caught up British pro Jamie Burland his strategy for crushing Sit ‘n’ Go satellites. Burland refers to Sizemore as the ‘Queen of the Pit’.
"It was all at the same time exciting and heartbreaking. To get so close, it was even more painful."
“I like to play a lot of them here at the Rio. I make most of my money in the series in the Single Table Satellites and love them. The $275 games are the best value for me, you can get the best side action going in those and the rake is so low, you can’t beat it. There’s no juice on the side bets, that’s where the edge is.”
This year’s Ladies Event field has surprised Sizemore by being so friendly. Her previous memories are from the 2015 Ladies Event when she knocked so many of them out on her way to finishing third.
“This year is very friendly. I’ve had great tables and just hope I keep crushing. It’s not normal. When you get a bunch of women sitting together, I feel like although women are just as amazing as playing poker as men, emotions tend to get involved a little bit more. It could just be my experience, though, because it’s one of the only events I play. I had the floor called on me in 2015 a lot.”
One of the many hopes for female players in poker is this year’s WSOP Main Event. Could there finally be a lady in the last nine for the first time since 1995 when Barbara Enright became the only woman to date to make the final nine. The 2012 Main Event saw both Gaelle Baumann (10th) and Elisabeth Hille (11th) get close, but Sizemore is positive about female players' chances very soon in the Main Event.
“It has been so long. It would be amazing if a lady reaches the final table this year. I think either this year or next year for sure. There are so many women playing right now. I look up to anyone who plays a great game and does something different to your basic ABC poker. I really like Jennifer Harman; I think that she’s a really great hum being in general, but there are so many amazing people in the game such as Annette [Obrestad].”
Sizemore has a few reasons to admire Harman. Both share a love of animals and philanthropic nature. So how did an animal lover end up moving to Las Vegas from Los Angeles?
“It’s not a farm out here! I’m the black sheep of my family. I grew up in LA and just always loved animals. I have horses and a fainting goat! I love rescuing animals, they’ll always love you. I’m on probation from my family for having too many animals. I have 19 chickens, but if there’s one that really needs home I’ll find space!”
Sizemore hails from the acting capital of the world, Los Angeles, but although she dabbled in the arts as a child, she moved away from the bright lights of Hollywood when so many teenage hopefuls moved in the opposite direction.
“I actually did a lot of acting as a kid, I was always dancing. Every parent in L.A. thinks ‘My kid’s going to be a star!.' Every kid is in a band aid commercial at some point. I was on a couple of kids shows on FOX Family as a child, but the lifestyle wasn’t for me.”
Sizemore mixes poker with a realtor practice in Las Vegas. Sin City has become of the hottest places in the world to live in recent years and not just due to the year-round sunshine.
“I would call myself a part-time professional l. I’m a realtor and in the last couple of years, the market has been incredible. It’s so hard to predict but I think in Las Vegas we’re on an upward swing. We have the hockey team, the football team and I think property will go up for a while. I’ve played poker professionally before and it’s very stressful. I really respect women and guys who play full-time. I’m very comfortable with playing poker part-time. I don’t like to lose, but it’s nice to have income from somewhere else.”
Sizemore is already in the money in the Ladies Event and is now battling for the win. It’s Vegas gold or bust for the Queen of the Pit.
“The cash is locked so that’s good, now we just have to climb the ladder. There are zero places apart from winning it I’ll settle for if I make the final table. I’ll feel like a three-time failure if I get there and don’t win. Let’s go!”
Have you ever wanted to write your own articles about poker? Maybe you've got some experiences or opinions about poker that you'd like to share. PokerNews is proud to launch The PN Blog where you can have a platform to make your voice heard. Learn more here.