Poker. It’s not just a night-in with pizza, beer and a ban on ladies.
It’s a multi-billion pound industry draped in glamour. Well, it is for those who take it seriously to make the big leagues. And there are thousands of girls in the big leagues who are seriously wiping out the lads every day.
Vanessa Selbst is the leading lady, with more than $8milion in poker earnings to her name. Just 31 boys rank above her in the world. Her success, along with the likes of Annette Obestrad and Vicky Coren, has helped inspire a generation of women to make a living from the game.
And it’s not just any living.
Let’s take Sofia Lövgren’s career for example. Now, Sofia is a ‘poker starlet’ and is at the very early stages of her journey to becoming another Vanessa Selbst … but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying the life of a superstar.
A Year in the Life of an ‘Average’ Female Poker Pro
Okay, ‘average’ might be a bit of an insult to Sofia now … but she comes from humble beginnings - she won’t mind.
How does playing poker for money sound for a year’s work? Sofia has developed into a force on the poker circuit and for somebody who loves to travel, has been living the dream since signing for Team PKR Pro.
Just uttering the words ‘Miami’ or ‘Bahamas’ is enough to get any of us in the mood for a holiday, but just imagine what it’s like to visit these gorgeous locations for your job.
Lövgren was all over the planet in 2012, Miami and the Bahamas being the standout stamps in her passport – not to take away from the likes of Paris, Rome, London, Campione, Nova Gorica, Sicily and Dublin to name but a few that were in there too.
That last location provided the backdrop for the first chapter in her year; a struggle in the January World Poker Tour.
Here’s the pokery version of what happened in Dublin that year (take a breath):
Sofia never recovered after Andy Black flopped Trips to wipe out her Aces at the WPT Dublin. It was shaky start and set a precedent for the weeks to follow; bowing out at the mercy of a similar hand in the PCA Ladies Event (Bahamas), before going on to run her Kings into Aces at the IPT San Remo Main Event, and busting out.
Translation: Sofia was knocked out of the main event in Dublin via a very unlucky hand. This happened again in the Bahamas. And again in San Remo. She probably opened an umbrella indoors or something at the beginning of the year.
After those exhausting (but probably lovely) trips to the likes of Dublin and the Bahamas, Sofia was faced with the biggest poker event in any player’s calendar – The World Series of Poker (Las Vegas).
In preparation, and in reflection of her rocky first three quarters, she studied some new poker strategies - which definitely paid off.
Whereas she won nothing in the Main Event, the Swedish beauty snatched some hefty wins in three side-tournaments, meaning she brought home $26k from Sin City.
Then in November, the lady was riding her winner’s momentum and returned to San Remo (where she lost at the beginning of the year) for what turned out to be some kind of Rocky-like comeback. Finishing in 30th out of a field of 800, Sofia bagged €9,000 and was the highest placing female, and the highest placing Swedish runner.
The best bit? Sofia was paid to travel the world and compete in these tournaments by her sponsors, PKR.
Today, Sofia Lövgren is still part of Team PKR Pro and is going from strength to strength. Most recently, she won £21,540 by coming 16th in the 2013 European Poker Tour, high roller tournament. This one was in London – not all the big competitions are exotic … but they are always more glamorous than the lads would let on.
Who’s next in line?
Well, as far as PKR are concerned, the next in line for a globetrotting year/lifetime of poker is Patty ‘BabyTes’ Beaumier, a 24-year-old law graduate from Paris.
As she takes on another Masters, this time at the Graduate School of Journalism in her hometown, Patty will be playing her poker hands for Team PKR Pro.
Why? Because she’s already proven her talent in the cheaper poker games online.
PKR seems to have an eye for these clever youngsters. As time goes on, and more women start clawing prize money from the boys, brands like PKR are expected to elevate even more ladies to ‘pro’ status (and all the luxury that comes with it).
Poker. Its laddy image is fading into an ideal lifestyle choice for anyone with the metaphorical balls to take it on.
Have you played before? Fancy a game? Get back to us in the comments.