PokerStars School: How did you first get into poker?
muckit222: I played quite a bit of it in the early 2000s before I decided to go back to University but everything always drew me back to this game!
I have got a degree in business/accounting and a graduate degree in the same field as well as I had the CPA accreditation, but I haven't worked since 2011. I was on leave of absence for while so started playing some online poker. After a few months of re-learning this game, I realised I just did not wanna gonna go back to work so I just didn't and I kept playing poker.
Sylvie's poker journey has brought her around the world including this trip to London in 2014.
PokerStars School: How do you consider yourself in poker? Amateur, semi-pro, pro?
muckit222: I got SuperNova Elite in 2016 (Editor's Note: This was once the top level a player could reach on PokerStars and if you made it to this level you were effectively considered a Pro player) but I wouldn't do that again.
I really enjoy the mix of SnG and selective MTTs these days. I also am enjoying the live game more and I try to go to at least 3 or 4 major live every year (EPTs, WPTs, WSOP's, PCA type of events). I hit the Montreal Playground Poker Club as almost every time there's an interesting poker series happening.
PokerStars School: Why do you think poker is so popular?
muckit222: It's gotta be a mix of a lot of things. It's a fun game where one can get lucky but where we also know the house doesn't eat you alive in the long run. It's also a game where if you work at it and become good, you are gonna be a have some great shots so it makes people dream. It's totally in the era of our time; we are wealthy societies here in North America and we do love our entertainment (if poker isn't entertaining then what is, wheter you are playing the event or watching it, its a very interesting fun thing to be around).
PokerStars School: Tell us about your Turbo Series experience, how was it for you?
muckit222: I am happy with what stars changed in that series. The stakes used to be too high in the Turbo series but now its perfect and there are just enough events on a daily basis. The satellites for the larger buy-ins are way better than they used to be as well so I really enjoyed that. I don't buy in directly much into most events that are above 55$ or 109$, not online anyways. Hence it's always fun to not know what I will get to play or not while looking at the lobby.
PokerStars School: You had three ITM finishes for $5,683.54, what were the highs & lows?
muckit222: Well I bubbled a satellite into one of the larger buy-ins so that was definitely my most disappointing moment during the whole series.
A deep run into the 109 Super KO, however, was quite good; I really had lots of big shifts in this one. Going from huge stacks to very short back to huge stack again. Then running KK into AA with around 30bb to bust in 5th was quite heartbreaking but I had many wakes of my own and won some pretty important flips as well so all in all I am grateful for the run and very nice cash!
PokerStars School: What's your best tournament result so far, have you have any other big wins?
muckit222: I've had quite a few wins over the years and MTTs were always a background game for me. I was pleasantly reminded doing this interview (I had completely forgotten that) of winning the Women Sunday for 5k a few years back. Even though that's not my biggest win, it made me very happy to be reminded of it! I love women events even if I never actually got to play very much of them. My biggest win would be the Big 162 for about 19,700$ a few years back.
Sylvie was lucky enough to win a package to the PCA in 2016.
Then I won a PCA package which I believe was worth about 15,000$ in 2016. I won that using a 215$ Step ticket, on my first try. I didn't cash the PCA main event but I finished 2nd in a Turbo side event for around $8,800. I have to say that the PCA was my best live poker experience and I've been to a lot of these large events. I absolutely intend to go back to the Bahama's event soon! The resort is a true gem with the nicest pools everywhere and a free waterpark and top of the line gym. PokerStars events are always amazingly well organised so it's not what made the difference! It is really an amazing resort and great customer service there.
PokerStars School: Are Turbos your favourite format of poker, or do you prefer something else?
muckit222: They actually are my favourite, when it comes to online games. As I mentioned I have always been playing SnGs as the main game and I love MTTs in the background here and there or I go on short MTT sprees especially during the Stars special events like this turbo series.
Turbos are fast and don't usually last 12 hours or worst turn into two days events so I really enjoy that. I am not generally willing to sit down for 8-14 hours to play regular speed MTTs anymore so I was super excited when I saw the changes that Stars made to the turbo series (which used to in January and the buy-ins were quite larger as a rule of thumb, there was no 11$, 22$, 55$s or even 109$ buy-ins, at least not every day if any at all.
PokerStars School: Do you follow a strategy when you play poker? Sort of like a checklist while you play?
muckit222: Well it will seem silly to some but before I sit down for almost any type of sessions, I make sure I have showered, I have prepared two coffees and they are both easy to access. I also put out one little snack near me and I make sure my laptop is all ready to go for emergency washroom trips and such. You don't know how long your gonna be forced to be sitting down in front of your screen when you start so this little list is a must not to end up timing out of tables or having to sit out for a while.
PokerStars School: Has PokerStars School helped you in any way to improve your game?
muckit222: I believe that PokerStars School is the first place I went to back in 2011 when I decided to get back to poker.
After a while, I decided to get coaching because the SnGs were so tough back then and I also wanted to play mid to high stakes. I have been coached by two different great players in the past, one for high stakes MTTs and one for SnGs in general.
I keep checking the school out every now and then for various reasons, such as knowing what the trends are and what is the information available to new players but also like to go through a few sets of questions here and there. Especially when on a downswing and losing confidence.
It seems to me that the material on it has dramatically improved in the last few years! Its really a good head start with good content and the questions become more advanced than I would have expected!
PokerStars School: International Women's Day is coming up on March 8th, what's it like being a female in a mostly male-dominated activity?
muckit222: It used to be different. When I played in the early 2000s, I could be the only female in the entire poker room for cash games or in a live tournament. On top of the fact that I was very young, it could get a bit weird at times. I will never forget this one Texan cowboy in a Michigan harassing me throughout half of a final table live event. Going on and on about respectable little girls not being around a poker table and how back in his time this would never be allowed. The floor staff finally had to threaten him to take throw him right out of the tournament and building if he so much addressed to me or talked any more about gender.
But things have dramatically changed and I don't feel negative things like that anymore. Of course, women are viewed differently in live events but so are the much older man and young boys who dress really eccentrically or older ladies as opposed to younger girls... We even stereotype nationalities; who doesn't know about the wild Russians in Poker right? We expect American players to be savvier than Czechs which are expected to be ABC nits at best and Brazilians to be wild nonsensical gooses and such none sense (these are real beliefs from a lot of the online Pros and I would think we carry this into our live games to a certain extent). We all stereotype and get stereotyped to a certain level (it is totally human) and one has to learn to use those stereotypes to their advantage. But more importantly, one also has to learn to be very careful about the way they stereotype opponents and not trap their own minds that way. It can be very costly!
Women are welcomed more in today's poker game than what it used to be like years ago reckons Sylvie.
I actually felt a great shift in the way woman are perceived in the last few years. We used to instantly get underestimated and the large majority would peg us as ABC nits at best until proven wrong. But now I feel that some people actually do the opposite; they give me credit for being a great player before I even get to look at two cards. As a woman in the huge buy-ins must be a crusher or a Pro (someone told me this to me last year at the WSOP Montreal). That's pretty silly too.
PokerStars School: What tips or advice would you recommend to beginners, especially new lady players, thinking of taking up poker?
muckit222: My number one tip is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't rush fully into this game too fast! Take your time to learn and practice a lot and fully enjoy the learning process! By learning, I don't just mean technical knowledge, I mean the whole lot of it. Don't rush into stakes and put pressure on your bankroll, but even if your bankroll is very comfortable, no need to rush into higher stakes. Winning little money is more fun and empowering than struggling at higher buy-ins. Its' better for your overall confidence!
The way one manages emotions is the key in this game! I know some players who are amazing at this game and have the knowledge and talent to crush any games but they keep rushing into different new games and stakes before being ready financially and mentally. If losing certain games and bad beat affect you too much, going down in stakes probably is part of the answer.
My number two tip. Poker is either your job or it is your hobby, either way, it really shouldn't be your entire life. Just like any other fields, jobs or hobbies, having some sort of balance is a mid to long term absolute must.
As for the ladies, I say, don't be intimidated! Player's, in general, are way more welcoming these days to women as a general rule. I can't think of a live game that I have felt particularly uncomfortable in since the early 2000s.
If someone, however, is rude or unwelcoming, don't assume its sexism; poker players can be cranky and rude at times, especially when on losing streak or after a bad beat. It's pretty uncommon but it probably has nothing to do with gender.
This cannot be said enough (and this applies to men as well really) but whether you are in a casino or a poker room, if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, badgering or being rude in any consistent way, don't instantly consider leaving and put up with it! Get up from the table and go tell the floor manager! It's part of their jobs and as I have seen it in the past, they take it seriously and do it very well and have quite a range of solutions to keep the games comfortable for everyone! It's not only a public place but it's also a business and they WANT YOU there, not rude ignorant people who are being improper or disrespectful. Security also is always available to walk you to your car if it's late or you feel someone has been weird in many ways or even if you simply feel that you are leaving with too much money and it worries you.
There is a lot of helpful material out there and groups, as well as women group! There is also very nice promotions that aim at us as well as women-only tournaments which may be a nice way to ease your way in and get feedback from a wide type of recreational and professional women! Poker rooms and poker tables are one of the only places where I see women truly cheering for each other on a consistent basis.