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  • Talking Poker Strategy with Rousso, Ho and Boeree

Strategy, as any good poker player knows, is one of the most important aspects that can help win the game. Some of the best strategies take into consideration factors such as opponent, tilt, situation and table image. Vanessa Rousso, Maria Ho and Liv Boeree, three of the top female poker players in the world, shed some light on the complex game that is poker.

Profiling Male Players

According to Vanessa Rousso, now that she is a well known professional, the image affects others’ game-play against her. This image has more effect than her being a woman. However, back in 2004 – 2005 when she was starting out, she felt that her gender was definitely part of the mix. She said that some of her most lucrative wins have been when she was able to bluff against a male.

Liv Boeree said that profiling other players at the table, unmindful of gender, is one of the essential moves that any player must make. Where men are concerned, if she hasn’t already gleaned something about their poker game, she tends to classify them based on their age. She believes that older players are likely to try and be gentle when playing against a woman. This chivalry is absent in the younger players who believe a female player is a soft target and will attempt to demolish her efforts at the felt. She suggests that women catch male players off guard by making three-bets and four-bets, preflop and postflop.

In Maria Ho’s opinion, there are times when other players want to bust her. But this is more because she’s a pro player than the fact that she’s a woman. She considers her ability to size up other players as one of her biggest strengths. With this, she can adapt to what they are doing at the felt and use it to her own advantage. She believes that poker is a game of taking advantage of every edge that you have – including capitalizing on the misconceptions others have of her.

Advantages of Being Female

Rousso said that sometimes she gets lucky and is seated at a table with men who think women aren’t capable of bluffing. This stereotype is usually evident when they constantly fold when she bets. She says that floating is a good way to way to get some extra equity out of your competitor. This occurs when playing a hand against them and in a good position. She says that seventy percent of the time she wins the pot.

According to Boeree, when she was at the six-max event at Europe’s WSOP, she had the advantage because the guys at her table didn’t believe that a woman would bet 4-5 light. She has also noted that some of the more socially awkward men often find a woman scrutinizing them to be acutely uncomfortable, making them show tells that they would normally hold back.

Maria Ho’s story is set when she first embarked on a career in poker. She was playing $10 to $20 unlimited cash games at the Commerce Casio, LA. There was another player there who regularly told her that he didn’t think women were good at poker. After calling 90% of her raises, she caught him attempting to bluff her several times. Knowing that she had to slow-play him at a big hand on a coordinated board, she got the chance to do just that. She went on to win the game.

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