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
Q&A w/ Katie Hopkins
Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia where she resides with her husband, Brian, and their dog, Josie, and cat, Cheeto, 36-year-old Katie Hopkins. She studied finance at the University of Notre Dame, where she was a scholarship athlete on the swim team. After two years working in corporate finance, Katie went back to school full-time and obtained her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and her MBA from Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
She is an Associate General Counsel at Nasdaq, focusing on securities law. Katie joined Nasdaq last year after spending 6 years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
PokerNews recently caught up with Hopkins to get her thoughts on the upcoming Showdown.
PokerNews: When and how did you learn poker; or how were you introduced to the game?
Katie Hopkins: I was first introduced to poker because of the women’s network at Nasdaq and a women’s golf group I was involved with (Fore the Ladies). Both had “intro to poker” sessions with Poker Power that I attended.
What inspired you to partake in the Women’s Bootcamp?
After being introduced to poker through the Poker Power introductory sessions, I started following Poker Power on Instagram. When I saw the boot camp opportunity, I thought it was the perfect chance to dive in and learn poker because, at the time, I was laid up (on crutches and in a boot) due to a stress fracture in my foot. My normal hobbies of running and doing triathlons were off the table.
How did you feel about the experience? Do you feel it improved your game?
The boot camp was an incredible experience. I learned a ton and met amazing folks throughout the experience. Without the class, I don’t think I would have felt comfortable sitting down at a poker table and playing.
What was your favorite part of the boot camp?
It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the boot camp but I think the trip and opportunity to play in Cyprus might just take the cake! During the classes, I really enjoyed getting our feet wet with the poker math and also loved hearing tips from professional poker players.
Did you learn anything that you’ll be able to apply to your real life?
Learning how to play poker and participating in the boot camp has taught me important skills that will prove useful in my career and life in general. They have given me confidence and taught me to take risks but also to exercise discipline and know when to fold.
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.