Meet the Women of the PokerStars x Poker Power Womens Bootcamp Showdown
PokerStars announced earlier this year that an exciting program created for women to learn more about poker would return in 2023, and it will now culminate in a special Showdown tournament at the currently underway European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus stop.
The Womens Bootcamp, in partnership with Poker Power, is aimed at beginners who will then be mentored by PokerStars ambassadors including Jen Shahade, Lali Tournier and Georgina GJReggie James.
The final recruits battled it out in Home Games Tournaments, where the winners were awarded the chance to travel to Cyprus and compete in the ultimate Showdown, which is slated to take place on Oct. 18.
The winner of the Showdown tournament in Cyprus will be awarded a full package to EPT Prague in December, giving them a chance to chase life-changing money at the final EPT stop of the 2023 season.
Were delighted to be joining forces with Poker Power for the second year and continue developing our commitment to encouraging women into poker," said Rebecca McAdam Willetts, PokerStars' Director of Partnerships, PR, and Consumer Engagement. "We are doubling the length of our Bootcamp to eight weeks, and we will not only teach women how to play poker, but also provide them with skills that can be applied to their daily lives.
According to research by PokerStars in the United Kingdom, 42 percent of women who play poker believe the game brings improved focus and concentration while 38 percent believe it could improve their ability to make decisions. Despite this, over half of women surveyed (55 percent) said they feel that poker is not inclusive.
Here's a look at the women that will be competing in the PokerStars x Poker Power Womens Bootcamp Showdown in Cyprus.
Learn More About the Women's Bootcamp!
Born and raised in Germany, Yvonne Mai moved to New York and then London, where she received her Marketing degree the first in her family to do so. With a degree under her belt, she followed her dreams to become an actress, starring in hit TV shows, independent films, and Hollywood action movies. She loves to try new things and push boundaries, keeping in mind her personality, her friend, Alexandra OBrien suggested she try poker. Yvonne feels intimidated in the beginning, with many different moving pieces to watch out for in both the online and live games. Once she got the hang of it, her confidence grew and she enjoyed playing poker more than she thought she would winning her first tournament and came first in stack size. She is in it to win it.
23-year-old Laura Lebailly is from France, and is about to start her final year in Business School (Luxury Marketing). She has always been intrigued about poker especially the rules and strategies but have always thought it too difficult. She started to learn more when she read a book about poker, and wished to play poker both online and live ever since. She learnt about the Women Bootcamp when reading an article by PokerStars on their website, and is excited to attend EPT Cyprus to learn more about poker and improve her skills.
Katie Hopkins is from the suburbs of Philadelphia and is working as an Associate General Counsel at Nasdaq, focusing on securities law. She is first introduced to poker via a golf group she is involved in (Fore the Ladies) and Nasdaq in an intro session by Poker Power. She thought that it was the perfect time to dive in and try poker when she saw the Womens Bootcamp opportunity as she was injured due to a stress fracture in her foot, which means that her usual hobbies of running and doing triathlons were off the table. She now loved poker and have added it to her list of hobbies.
Drea Renee is a poker personality and reporter who came from San Antonio, Texas, but has been residing in Los Angeles for over a decade. Her involvement in the poker industry began 14 years ago when she worked as a massage therapist in poker rooms. She transitioned into sideline reporting about seven years ago, thanks to the encouragement and guidance of Maria Ho, a prominent figure in the poker world. Throughout her career, Drea Renee has been associated with various poker-related projects and events. She has worked for the Heartland Poker Tour, hosted episodes of Poker After Dark, and had her own show on PokerGo called Deep Issues. On her show, she conducted interviews with notable poker personalities such as Kevin Hart, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Tilly, and Phil Hellmuth. During her longtime involvement in the poker industry, she developed a personal interest in playing poker. She initially dipped her toes into the poker scene by participating in charity events. With the support of Poker Power and PokerStars, she is preparing to make a more substantial foray into playing poker professionally, making her an emerging player to keep an eye on in the poker world.
Sabrina Chevannes is a former professional chess player who is now running a creative agency. She decided to learn poker to improve her decision-making and how to handle failure and losses better. In just a few weeks of the bootcamp, she has changed the way she approached her business, and she is able to assess things better with little information available. She finds learning poker more difficult than chess, and constantly reading about the comparisons between the two. With poker, she realises that there is a lot of variances, and she needs to adapt to peoples strategies. While it is similar to chess, there is usually a right or wrong answer in chess. Poker is also more flexible than chess. She is really enjoying her poker journey thus far, and is excited to keep on learning and see where it can take her.
28-year-old Katerena Nowosad is from Leeds and is an accountant for a financial services company. She has always had a strong interest in poker and have friends who would regularly play at university but she has never joined as she felt like she did not have the right skills or knowledge. She has enjoyed her poker journey with PokerStars and Poker Power, and loved attending the weekly sessions and learning about the different skills, techniques, and strategies to improve as a player. She has also enjoyed playing on the PokerStars app between home games, and learn how different players approach the game. She is looking forward to EPT Cyprus to compete in her first live game with other Womens Bootcamp attendees.
Patrice is a business leader whose drive and determination are deeply influenced by her Caribbean heritage. With a strong foundation in finance and commercial sectors, she has gracefully navigated her way through leadership roles at British Airways, Royal Mail, and Virgin Atlantic. On top of these, she is also a certified Executive Coach who is all about heart-led leadership. In 2022, she took a leap of faith and fully invested in her Leadership Development and Commercial consultancy, Eminere. She focuses on creating leadership teams that only excel but also reflect the diversity of the world. She is the maestro in reverse mentoring, amplifying voices that deserve to be heard, and making a lasting impact. She met Jen Shahade in May and was inspired by her to join the launch of the Womens Bootcamp in June and came second. This fuelled her to participate in the 8 week bootcamp and hone her skills. She is looking forward to play poker live in Cyprus.
Jennifer Jenny Larsen began her Poker Power journey after conducting a quick search for fun ways to develop her leadership skills. Having grown up with amazing support from her parents, family, and teachers; she knew that life could be challenging, and maintained a stubborn determinationto get the job done in order to achieve her goals. During the one-hour virtual poker lessons, she quickly saw how being aggressive at the poker table could develop her assertiveness in the Board Room, and is most grateful for how discipline in the game has helped her to better choose her battles in life! Jenny enjoys living as full a life as possible, filled with gratitude and positivity, seeing the best in people, and saying yes to opportunities and adventures!
Ines Lafosse is a photographer, content writer and trained hotelier. Born in Argentina, Ines fell in love with Brazil after visiting Rio De Janeiro in 2017. Now Brazil is her most frequented destination. Through her social media she covers the following topics: travel destinations, accommodation, ecotourism, extreme sports and photography.
Ines's Poker Journey: I started playing on the Pokerstars event in the Bahamas and I was so excited to be playing poker live. Was amazing to experience the feelings around all the players. After this, I was available to participate in the Women's Bootcamp and I learned so much. It makes a big difference in my decisions in life and playing poker.
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