Stephanie is the 1st Place Winner of the WPA Player of the Year event at LIVE! Casino & Hotel in Maryland. She took 1st place in the Maryland State Poker Championship Ladies Event on Jan 5th, 2020. Congratulations Stephanie! And Cheers to LIVE! Casino and their poker room staff for supporting women in poker!
LIVE! Casino & Hotel
7002 Arundel Mills, Circle #7777
Hanover, MD 21076 | 1-855-5MD-LIVE
What is your background?
Born in Illinois, I am a stay-at-home military wife, married for 8 yrs. We have a cat, Hiro, named after one of the main characters in the Disney movie Big Hero 6.
How did you get started in poker?
Card games have always been a big part of fun for my family. I learned poker from my father when I was young. He used to play with me, teaching me everything he knew, even though he has never played at a casino before. Everything I learned from him, I took with me when I turned 21 and decided to play in my first tournament at a casino… and I’ve never stopped since.
What is a good early story about your poker beginnings?
When I was beginning my live poker experience, I entered a charity tournament in St. Louis, MO, that Dennis Phillips was appearing at (he had made the final table at the WSOP Main Event the year before). I decided to go to get a chance to meet him. When I got there, he announced that he was giving away a copy of Poker for Dummies to the first person that got knocked out… Guess who the lucky person was? And I promise, it was not on purpose! Being the nice guy that Dennis Phillips is, he signed the book for me.
Where do you go to find information about poker?
Reading books from various authors like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, and looking around various internet sites, have helped me learn more about the game. One of my biggest resources for learning more about the game, however, is from my many interactions I have had from my poker tournaments that I play. I find that just getting in there and playing the game itself can teach you many things, and help to improve your game from the hands-on experiences.
Tell me about an unusual or unique experience you’ve had while playing poker.
One time, I played in a charity tournament down in Daytona Beach, FL, where some of the best in poker make an appearance. I entered one of the events that weekend where you get a chance to play with the pros. At one point in the tournament, I was playing at the same table as Phil Hellmuth! Later, after he got knocked out, he announced a hand I was in with another player over the speakers. It was a fun experience.
How would someone external describe your poker play?
People have told me I tend to play a solid game. A lot of times when I get to a tournament, if someone knows me, they might announce, “Troubles’ here!”
Who do you confide in about your poker play?
When I want to talk about my latest tournament, or anything about poker, I will turn to my husband. Being about to confide in him and get the best advice on what I can do to improve my game, or go over things I need to take note that went right, and how to continue those things, is a great asset to me.
Is there a poker experience you are most proud of?
I have come to learn that you should NEVER give up hope when playing a tournament. A chip and a chair is truly all you need. I played in a tournament years ago, where in the mid-range of the tournament, I was down to one single 500 chip. One. What did I do? With time and patience, I came back to win the entire tournament! It can be done!
What were some of the unexpected hurdles in poker?
For me, still one of the biggest hurdles with playing poker, is the extra aggression I receive from some of the male players when playing. I have noticed that there are certain male opponents that you just know are trying to take you out because you are a woman. I have experienced this on certain occasions. Although this can be difficult, I do my best to adjust and play the best game I can.
How do you identify your greatest competitor at the table?
To identify my greatest competitor at the table, I will usually watch for a few rounds to get a good “feel” for how people play. I will then determine who seems to be the one to keep an eye on the most, and will reassess as time goes on.
What are some of the greatest challenges in your game?
To me, my greatest challenge is being able to travel to more tournament locations. I feel it is a challenge because I would like to expand where I play, but it is very hard for me to travel very far to play, so I do not get the opportunity very often. Being able to play in different locations, I feel, would allow me to play with a wider range of people, and I feel it would help me to become a better poker player.
Looking back at where you were when you started your poker journey, where did you think it was going to lead you?
When I first started to play poker, I had a dream to play in the WSOP Main Event one day. In 2017 and again in 2019, that dream came true! It was truly one of the greatest things I have ever experienced in my years playing poker.
Outside of poker, what do you do for fun?
Outside of poker, I like to draw, paint, run, and go to the zoo. Going the Disney, when I get the chance, is my favorite thing to do outside of poker. My husband and I go as often as we can.