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Sharla Lehrmann What's the Deal? #5
By Sharla Lehrmann

The Smile of a Winner! I met Beth Even at my very first ARG (area recreational gambling) event in February 2000. That event was ESCARGOT (Extraordinary Southern California Recreational Gambling Outing and Tournament), which is held in Los Angeles every year. This article is written as a boost for all the new players. Hopefully, reading about Beth and how far she has come in such a few short years will show you that it can be done, and done well.

Beth Even
Beth Even
Although she had played in a handful of home "kitchen poker" games in the past, Beth was bored one day and discovered the AOL play money poker games in 1996. Thats what really got her interested in poker. She didn't actually step into her first card room until June of 1997, when her poker "career" started quite by accident. She was returning from a dog show in the San Diego area and happened to be taking Interstate 5 back to her apartment in West Los Angeles. The Commerce Casino appeared right off the freeway, and as people often do, she acted on a whim and exited to check it out. It wasn't that she had never been in a casino before, as she had played blackjack and a little video poker in Vegas and Laughlin on several occasions, but that didn't require a lot of interaction with a group of other competitors. She walked in and sat down in a 1-2 draw game, which she incidentally has never seen again. After a while she had managed to slip through $100 and decided to give this poker playing up for a while. A very nice woman from the table took her over to the California blackjack table and helped Beth win her $100 back. She says she has no idea how she won it back and has never played that game again. What an interesting first day in the poker world!

So, after that first day of melding into a poker playing environment, Beth made a decision to make a monthly trip to the Casino and start her "real" money lessons...........LIVE POKER PLAY. Her plan stemmed from thinking that winning real money certainly must be more fun than play money; and, although she didn't keep her plan of a monthly trip, she did make her way back to the Commerce a few more times during the next year to play the 1-2 hold'em game. By the time Labor Day weekend of 1998 arrived, Beth decided to check out Hollywood Park Casino located closer to her West LA apartment. She discovered the 1-2 hold'em game there, and ended up staying for 36 hours! She went back the following week and has been a regular poker player ever since.

Within a year, Beth was trying the 3-6 game...and six months later, she was taking her first shot at the 6-12 game. She loves to check out new card rooms, and in addition to all the LA card rooms, she has played in many of the card rooms in the San Diego and Palm Springs areas -- and has now started visiting the Bay area as well! Lately, she has been playing regularly in the Hustler's 9-18 hold'em game (Gardena) because she likes the single blind structure (one big blind/no small blind) and the comped food. She often plays at the Bicycle Casino (Bell Gardens) as well, because they have great food and great tournaments. According to Beth, the Bicycle Casino has "truly the best tournament team in LA" and offers daily tournaments at noon and in the evenings (in addition to other tournament events scheduled throughout the year.) The games are varied and this has given Beth the opportunity to try new games without investing a great deal of money.

Beth also highly recommends the Bicycle Casino's "Queens" tournament series for women to get their first experience in tournament play. The series consists of four "women only" limit hold'em tournaments during the year. One tournament is held for each Queen in the deck of cards. For instance, the Queen of Hearts event was held in February for Valentine's Day. The cost for this ongoing event is a rip roaring $8, which includes an incredible champagne brunch buffet held before the tournament. Usually, every table in the room is full when the tourney begins. As players bust out, the tables are converted to 1-2 side games for the participants. Everyone also gets a very special gift for playing. Man, what a deal! All types of women play in this tournament, including many beginners. Beth says that once she met a group of women who had never set foot in a public card room before -- but had played in a regular home game for 20 years! For years this was the only tournament Beth regularly entered, and although there are at least 200 women on the roster, she is proud to say that she placed 4th once.

Beth has only recently begun to feel more comfortable with tournaments, and now will enter if the cost is less than $100. She credits PokerPages for improving her no-limit hold'em tournament play. In February, Beth surprised herself by cashing in two tournaments during ESCARGOT, 6th in the Bicycle nooner Lowball Tourney and 5th in the ESCARGOT Razz-Omaha/8-Stud/8 (ROE) Tourney. Since then, she has cashed in three additional NLHE tournaments and busted "on the bubble" (one out of the money) in two others (NLHE and Razz). The smiling picture is Beth sitting at the final table of the ATLARGE (another event) NLHE tournament at Atlantic City's Tropicana. She is adamant that online tournament practice has improved her play dramatically, and with the PokerPages TOC Warm-up currently in progress, Beth hopes to qualify for Round Two and improve her Omaha/8 tournament play as well!

It seems that Beth sure gets around these ARG events! She says that she started to read the usenet group "" soon after venturing into the card room. She "lurked" for months (read the posts, but did not post anything herself) because she didn't want to contribute to the discussion when she felt that she knew so little about poker. She had posted only once or twice when she went to her first ARG event, ESCARGOT 1999, in her local area. Once she met other RGP'ers in person, she began to feel more comfortable sharing her thoughts and questions. Although she still felt too much like a "newbie" to enter any of the tournaments, Beth made her first appearance at BARGE in 1999. After that, she was hooked! Not only does she now count RGP'ers among her closest friends, but she has become involved in the planning and production of ESCARGOT. In fact, she will be the primary organizer for next year's event.

I asked Beth if she found being a woman more difficult at the poker table. She replied that she actually feels more comfortable around the "guys" because she has always enjoyed following sports, and with televisions usually showing the games in the card room, her sports knowledge has been a great equalizer. She also noted that some men assume that women don't know how to play poker and tend to play differently against a woman vs. another man. Beth decided that in this mental competition, poker players should exploit any edge they have, and she takes advantage of being a woman for all it's worth!

Beth said that at the beginning, her mother thought she was becoming a gambler and would lose her rent money. This was a reasonable concern, since after all, Beth has had many losing sessions (particularly during her beginning play.) With poker--as with anything else--it takes time and experience to become good. Beth was consistently losing $20-$40 at a time playing in her 1-2 hold'em game , and her mom would focus on that, developing a great concern for her. Even so, Beth's Mom realized that poker could be a way to entice a visit, and one weekend Beth was invited for a family visit with the words "and we'll go with you to play cards in one of the many card rooms around here."(San Diego) So, Beth was off to "prove" herself to her family. Yikes! The poker gods were with Beth that weekend as she got into a very good game, and scooped pot after pot in front of her mother. After that, her mom realized that poker could be a profitable hobby for Beth! Since then, Beth's Mom has had an opportunity to meet some of her RGP poker friends and is very impressed because they are all educated and "fairly" clean cut. Beth also introduced her stepfather (a recreational stud player) to hold'em and tournament play, so poker has now become a family affair. What a great story!

Beth's biggest fear at this point is that she will discover she actually has no aptitude or future in poker at all. What if any success to date has simply been due to luck? What if she never becomes a consistent winning player? All questions we ask ourselves, I think. Beth is determined to find out the answers to these questions, and she has buckled down, to take poker seriously by keeping records of her results with her focus always on improving her game. She continues to have fun, though, and truly enjoys playing poker, as anyone who has sat at a table with her quickly realizes! To conclude this visit with Beth, she would like to offer these tidbits of advice for new players:

  • Start by playing the PokerPages play money games. You can be completely anonymous and gain confidence without losing real money.

  • Ask Sharla questions. Again, this is totally anonymous and there are no "dumb" questions.

  • Check out "", the Internet newsgroup, or the many PokerPages articles on a regular basis.

  • If you have an opportunity to enroll in a class or go to an ARG event, jump at the chance.

  • Practice, practice, practice.

  • Most of all, have fun!

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