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Poker needs (more) heroines.

It’s true that great strides have been made by women in poker over the last decade. Victoria Coren and Jennifer Tilly are just two names that the community can point to as examples with mainstream crossover appeal. Brand ambassadors such as Jessica Dawley who have proven themselves talented and dedicated outside of the game before turning to it as a profession are another step in the right direction.

And yet, we need more. We need a woman to win the WSOP Main Event.

Again this year, the poker community collectively held its breath as another talented female poker player approached the Main Event final table. Again this year, the poker community collectively groaned when Kelly Minkin – 2015’s “last woman standing” – was eliminated in 29th place.

She was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for us about preparation for the tournament, women in poker, and how much time she’ll spend at the felt following her Main Event run:

Did you have fun? If you had to sum up your experience this Main Event in 3 words, what would they be?

I had an incredible summer. If I had to sum up my Main Event experience in three words, I would say “life is good” 🙂

What was your thought process going into Day 6? Did the possibility of making the final table at the Main Event feel “real” to you at that point? If no, how did you keep it out of your mind? If yes, how did it affect you and how did you adjust?

I was just excited to be there. Yes the possibility was absolutely there for me, but I didn’t let it affect my game. I continued to play each hand at a time.

The Main Event is often described as a grueling tournament. How did you handle fatigue throughout the week? Was there a specific routine that you did each day to prepare?

That was probably the most difficult aspect of the tournament. I was exhausted, and just tried to get as much sleep as I could

Did you enter the Main Event with a specific strategy – or style of play – in mind? If yes, what was it and how did you manage to execute it so well?

I went into the tournament with a fresh mind and no specific style of play — the only intention I had was to play my best game and adapt the natural flow of each individual table

Can you break down your thought process during your final hand from a strategy perspective?

By shoving over the small blinds donk bet, I felt like a lot of weaker hands and draws were potentially calling. Additionally, I was not folding three 10s in that spot with less than 20 big blinds, so I felt like it was the only play besides a hero fold.

On your final hand, how hard was it to actually pull the trigger and put your tournament life at risk? Did you pause for a moment before you did?

Not difficult. The decision was pretty much made for me on the flop.

What do you think can be done to encourage more women to be active in the poker community?

I hope that women can be less intimidated and more encouraged to play poker after seeing my deep run.

What is the emotional release like at the end of six days of playing non-stop poker? Did you want to jump into a cash game right away, like when you are on a TV series binge and can’t get yourself to not start the next episode?

Absolutely not. I was heartbroken after I busted, and the last thing I wanted to do was play poker. It is a very bittersweet feeling to accomplish so much and still be disappointed, but it’s part of the game.

How long do you think it will be before you play another hand of poker? Are you taking a break or jumping right back into the fire?

I am winging it. I revolve my poker schedule around when I am mentally ready to play. I will most likely be playing a tournament or two in the next few months.

What is your best advice for how to make a deep run in the Main Event?

I think the best advice I can give is to live in the moment, make the best decisions you possibly can, and get your money in with the odds in your favor.

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Bradley Chalupski

Bradley Chalupski made his first deposit onto an online poker site in 2009 and has been paying rake and following the poker scene ever since. He received his J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law in 2010.