Director Sandra Mohr Discusses Upcoming Film "Poker Queens" Ahead of Ladies Week in Las Vegas

Sandra Mohr, author of 'Black Widow Poker' is directing a new film called 'Poker Queens.'

In its 50-year history, the World Series of Poker Main Event has never had a female champion. Worse still, only one woman has ever made the final table on poker’s biggest stage — Barbara Enright in 1995.

With last year’s number of females in the Main Event up to a “whopping” 3.4 percent — 300 out of 7,874 entries — it’s not too tough to see why this has been the case.

The number of serious female poker players running deep and winning big events is on the rise though. That’s why poker player, author and movie director Sandra Mohr has decided this year to put out a feature length documentary film, focusing on some of the best women in the game battling at the WSOP.

“This is their story, and their quest for the top prize in the World Series of Poker.”

The upcoming film, titled "Poker Queens: Glamour, Glitz, Guts, Glory: They’re All In," will follow several of poker’s best-known female stars in their quests for a bracelet, including in the big one — the $10,000 WSOP Main Event.

In addition to the historical female poker figure Alice “Poker Alice” Ivers, among the ladies the film hopes to portray are Maria Ho, Kristen “krissyb24” Bicknell, Jennifer Harman, Loni Harwood, Vanessa Rousso, Barbara Enright, Liv Boeree, Lauren Roberts, Kathy Liebert, Lily Kiletto, Gillian Epp, Jennifer Tilly, Angelica Hael, Kayla “Wino” Voogd, Kristy Arnett, Linda Johnson, "Sia Layta" aka “The Black Widow” (Mohr herself), Kelly Minkin and Jan Fisher.

According to the film’s website, “Through interviews, personal video from player vlogs, dramatization, reality footage and up-close tournament play, 'Poker Queens' will follow the most popular female poker players today on their journey to the 50th Anniversary of the WSOP (Summer of 2019, Las Vegas, NV).

“This is their story, and their quest for the top prize in the World Series of Poker.”

Interview with the Producer

PokerNews recently caught up with the film's director, Mohr, known by some under her pen name "Sia Layta," under which she authored the book "Black Widow Poker" to learn more about the project.

“Women are just now starting to take back their power,” said Mohr. “It’s going to be amazing to see the change in the years to come.”

“I promise this year, women are going to crush - and more women will continue to get into it.”

She’s of the belief that it is only a matter of time that a woman makes a run at the WSOP Main Event title, and that time is not far off.

“It’s been 1995 since the last time a woman was at the Main Event final table. We need to up our game a little.”

Mohr mentioned that female participation has increased over the years to around 30 percent in the online poker arena, and she sees live poker following that path in the not-too-distant future.

“I promise this year, women are going to crush — and more women will continue to get into it.”

Furthering the Cause

Even though Mohr considers herself retired from making movies, she couldn’t turn down the request she received from Christine D. Beatty, the executive producer who is financing the film.

“She’s the one that deserves the real credit for the whole project,” Mohr told PokerNews.

Director Sandra Mohr Discusses Upcoming Film "Poker Queens" Ahead of Ladies Week in Las Vegas 101

Mohr hopes the film, which she called exciting, will shed insight on how the girls were when they were kids, how they got into poker, and to follow their journeys as they go for gold.

The approach for the documentary is to cast a wide net, track several ladies and let the film naturally take its course to determine who filters until the end. The result, she hopes, will motivate other women.

“I want it to be the ‘Rocky’ of women’s poker. I want it to be a movie where, for some women who are thinking about playing or frustrated playing, they throw on a sweatsuit and eat some raw eggs and run up the stairs after watching this film. I want it to be inspirational.”

A Palace Fit for Poker Queens

As part of the documentary project, Mohr and her crew have rented out a huge 1,600-square-foot suite at the Rio to serve as headquarters for the ladies who will be featured in the documentary.

The Rio “Poker Palace” will be a haven, complete with refreshments, small meals, free massages, as well as strategy presentations by other poker pros. There will also be brunches, happy hours, a cast party, and energy workers including alphabiotics, a practice that centers the body much like the work of chiropractors.

“I want it to be the ‘Rocky’ of women’s poker."

“The idea was since we’re making a documentary about women in poker, to capture some interaction between them and have them stay in one place, but with everyone having different schedules and so forth, it wasn’t really possible.”

The “Palace” will still double as a filming site with an equipped studio inside. But most importantly of all, it will be a complimentary place to hang out, relax, network and get away from the tables for well-needed breaks — a place to “rest, restore and rejuvenate.” The festivities kick off with the WSOP Ladies Event Welcome Party on June 20 from 1-8 p.m.

“I want this to be the best party of the year,” Mohr said.

Ladies Week

Speaking of best party of the year, the opening of the Poker Palace coincides with "Ladies Week" in Las Vegas, which starts on Monday, June 17.

In addition to the $1,000 WSOP Ladies Event, there are several other tournaments reserved for female poker players scattered around town. Here’s a look at all of those options running through next week and into the following week.

Las Vegas Ladies Week Event Schedule

Monday, June 17Venetian11:10 a.m.NLH LIPS Ladies Day 1$500$50,000
 South Point12 p.m.Helix Poker Diamond Bracelet (Ladies) Event$300$25,000
Tuesday, June 18Venetian11 a.m.NLH LIPS Ladies Day 2  
 Planet Hollywood11 a.m.NLH Ladies$300$50,000
 Aria11 a.m.Ladies$350 
 Orleans6 p.m.LIPS (Ladies) Shootout$200 
Wednesday, June 19Rio6 p.m.Ladies Warmup Re-entry$150 
 Golden Nugget11 a.m.NLH Ladies$150$10,000
 Orleans11 a.m.Ladies Triple Threat Sat$275 
 Orleans6 p.m.Ladies Mega Sat$160 
Thursday, June 20Rio (WSOP)11 a.m.Ladies Event (1 Re-entry)$1,000 
Friday, June 21Orleans11 a.m.LIPS (Ladies) Championship 1A$300 
Saturday, June 22Orleans11 a.m.LIPS (Ladies) Championship 1B$300 
Sunday, June 23Orleans11 a.m.LIPS (Ladies) Championship Day 2  
Tuesday, June 25Wynn11 a.m.NLH Ladies$400$50,000

The Poker Palace will remain open and the documentary crew will be filming through the completion of the WSOP, which wraps up July 16. "Poker Queens" is expected to release in November 2019 on Amazon Prime.

For more information on the film project, the full Poker Palace schedule, or to get involved with the project as a producer, head over to the Poker Queens website. You can watch the preliminary film trailer below:

  • Mohr also talks about the 'Poker Palace,' a haven for the featured ladies to visit while grinding WSOP events.

  • Take a look at the various Ladies Events around Las Vegas starting next week.

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