Earlier this year, PokerStars announced that an exciting program created for women to learn more about poker would return in 2023, and it will soon culminate on Oct. 18 at European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus with a Showdown tournament, which will award a full package to EPT Prague in December
The Women’s 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. In preparation for that event, PokerNews wanted to profile some of the women who’ll be battling for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Here’s a look at some of the women already profiled as part of the upcoming Showdown:
Meet the Women of the PokerStars x Poker Power Women’s Bootcamp Showdown
Get to Know Jenny Larsen
One player who made their year to Cyprus all the way from Bayonne, New Jersey is 42-year-old Jenny Larsen, originally from Staten Island, New York. The oldest of four children, Larsen is “Aunt Gigi” to seven nieces and nephews.
“I’m grateful for a supportive upbringing full of opportunities for education in life skills and character development, I was always taught to follow my dreams, make myself proud, and that hard work leads to the best rewards,” said Larsen, who double majored in Biology and French.
For 26 years, Larsen has worked with On Your Mark, Inc., a not-for-profit that provides support and services for children and adults with intellectual and /or developmental disabilities.
“I’m proud to have found my calling early in life and am thankful for the mentors and colleagues that have supported my journey. My life is full of joy because of the work we do, making a positive impact each day in the lives of Staten Islanders and their families. In my current role as Associate Executive Director, I enjoy supporting our programs to meet their maximum potential and remember why I began this job by taking the opportunity to work directly with our individuals at every opportunity. I am constantly humbled by the care and commitment of our Direct Support Professional team.”
About a year ago, Larsen began looking for ways to improve her leadership skills, knowing that she could always improve and grow in that area. That is when she stumbled across an advertisement for Poker Power and although she did not join immediately, it lingered in the back of her mind as a great opportunity.
“Finally, I decided to take the plunge and enroll in the first four-lesson session,” she told PokerNews. “I was immediately drawn to the game under the teachings of Tammy Endemann, enrolled in the second session of four lessons, and then learned about the boot camp opportunity.”
She continued: “Once I learned about boot camp I threw my name into the hat, figuring I would take a chance. I was unsure if I qualified as a beginner, having taken eight basic lessons, but also knew I was ready for more practice, having not yet played a live game! When I was selected, I was over the moon excited, and I immediately requested time off from work for the October trip to Cyprus, sending my intentions into the universe! In the last few weeks since placing in the tournament, I’ve been getting more and more excited about the opportunity to meet other strong women and I recognize that I get to be a part of how Poker Power is making a difference in the world for women!
“While I am treated equally as a woman in my place of employment, I’m painfully aware that is not the situation throughout the world. Being an ambassador for Poker Power has given me the opportunity to share with other women that nothing is beyond reach, and I am inspired to use this opportunity to work with Poker Power to affect change at both the local and global levels. As far as my poker game: each and every opportunity that I’ve had to take a lesson under the experienced teachers has improved not only my game, (which is still in the infancy stages), but it has helped me to recognize the fire within. I am better able to make decisions in both my professional and personal lives, knowing when best to fold, and when it’s time to be aggressive. In addition, I began taking independent, solo travel trips about two years ago, and the experience has been very liberating!
“This is my first international trip solo, but it’s not really solo since I’ll be joining a group, however, getting here by myself made me feel so strong and brave! Having spent the last few years working on me, for myself, has been one of the most difficult, yet rewarding parts of my life. Knowing who I am, learning to love and understand my body and my mind, has made me a better person all around and this experience is the cherry on top!”
PokerStars Continues to Encourage Women
“We’re 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.
Learn More About the Women’s Bootcamp!
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.