Holly goes to poker school

My amazing weekend adventure started over a month ago when during our 17th anniversary dinner my husband handed me an envelope. I opened it and read that I would be attending the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament Academy and then tried to contain my excitement in the super fancy restaurant. It was nearly as hard as sitting quietly at a poker table when holding pocket aces.

*deep calming breaths*
*control body movements carefully*

The poker school was last weekend at WinStar Casino. It was a two day seminar of lectures, labs and a tournament. The academy professors were three professional poker players: Greg Raymer, Michael Gracz and Bernard Lee. The 35 or so academy students were from all over North America and I was one of 9 women.

My favorite part was the poker lab.

The poker lab was a frightening and educational experience. A poker professional would sit down at a table full of students, deal a hand and then watch the play. At the end everyone would flip over their cards and one by one defend their play.

Holy crap.

Let me just say that this was not only an eye-opening experience about how I play, but was a bit shocking to see the thought processes of other players.

So, how did I fare? Before I give you a few tips that I picked up, I want to mention that I was very proud of myself for not bursting into tears at any point during the weekend.

There is no crying in poker.

So here is how it went.

Michael Gracz gently reminded me that King – Jack is really not a premium hand even if it is suited after I called an all-in bet out of position and lost…

Greg Raymer commented I might have over-raised at 5 x the big blind…

Bernard Lee sat next to me for about 30 seconds during play and identified a huge tell…

I figure if I can remember my position, my cards, the pot odds, the implied odds, the reverse implied odds, the number of outs, the rule of 2, the rule of 4, how my opponents play, any tells they show, the amount I should raise, the amount I should re-raise, when to check, when to check-raise, when to fold, what cards are good in which position, how each of these elements might change at different levels of the tournament and recall this all within a 5 second pause after I look at my cards with a straight face and without moving my hands then I should be good.

Really good.

Until that time it might be in my best interest not to wear my WSOP Academy baseball cap when playing in tournaments…


  1. That sounds like a BLAST!!! Way to go! I would have been out before we even began.

  2. Marcy - The Glamorous Life! says:

    You might be the coolest SAHM now.
    Killer ‘poker face’ too.

    So jealous. Not the poker part really…but the chance just to sit still.


  3. WeaselMomma says:

    That sounds awesome! I can’t play for chips and I wind up just eating them.

  4. My head about exploded when I read your 5 second thoughts. 🙂 I am still laughing. I work for a women’s poker tour. We would love to have you play with us drop in on our website http://www.highheelspokertour.com We travel the US. Send me an email I would love to know more about your academy experience.

  5. Manic Mommy says:

    It reminds me of that scene in the strip club in Ocean’s 11 where Brad Pitt taught young Hollywood how to play poker. Looks like you had a blast!

  6. Angie Ledbetter says:

    All those rules! Think I’ll stick to the video poker machines. 🙂

  7. Sleeping with Ward Cleaver says:

    And here I thought a poker lab would be blond, furry and wag her tail a lot. Sort of your mascot while you gambled…Love that poker face in all of your shots!

  8. What a great opportunity. Looks like you had fun over all.

  9. TheNovemberNine says:

    Holly sat in the back of the class, but was no clown at the table. Was great playing against you.

    7-3 Off

  10. Sticky (not too) says:

    SOunds like a blast, what a great gift from hubby!
    Love your new look, stealing your button!

  11. Jennifer H says:

    I can’t even look at you anymore.

    (I’m so jealous! I would so love to do that!)

  12. On a limb with Claudia says:

    Ok, this is totally off topic, but I love the dark hair. God, you’re gorgeous! WOWOWOWOWOWOW!! I don’t know how Blog-Stedman let you out of the house. Wheett whooo.

    So who cares? At least you looked great!

  13. Your husband is nice!

  14. ?georgie? says:

    Poker? Really? I can barely play crazy 8s
    cool stuff!!!
    Great Pix!

  15. ?georgie? says:

    Poker? Really? I can barely play crazy 8s
    cool stuff!!!
    Great Pix!

  16. ?georgie? says:

    Poker? Really? I can barely play crazy 8s
    cool stuff!!!
    Great Pix!

  17. ?georgie? says:

    Poker? Really? I can barely play crazy 8s
    cool stuff!!!
    Great Pix!

  18. Happy Campers says:

    OK…that entire post could have been written in Aramaic because I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about!!! 🙂 Glad you had fun though, or sorry you lost your puppy…I can’t tell from your pictures whether it was a good trip or not! hehehehehehe

  19. Elaine A. says:

    Oh man, I bet that was so much fun for you! And glad to you were there to “respresent” us chicks!!

  20. Sounds like a fun weekend. Yea for unconventional gifts.

  21. Purple Teacup says:

    Long time no see…your hair is darker? I like it. Let’s go to Vegas!

  22. Holly may have sat in the back of the class, but she was no joke at the table. I had a great time doing battle with ya.

    Good luck!

    7-3 off

  23. That’s awesome. and you are so brave, ’cause I totally would have cried.

  24. The Dental Maven says:

    I’ll keep my day job.

  25. If I could only remember what cards I have more than 1/2 second after I look at them, I think I would be killer at this game. Poker camp – I would love this.

  26. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    Wow. Awesome and scary at the same time.

  27. Threeboys1mommy says:

    Did you get to touch Greg Raymer’s fanny… pack?

  28. Jenni Jiggety says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about…but it does sound like fun!

  29. Domestic Goddess (In Training) says:

    Good for you for being good enough to go to an academy. I still spend most of my energy on looking around for the server and the free drinks.

  30. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! Coolest thing EVA!!!! Jealous! yes….100% Jealous!

  31. Reluctant Housewife says:

    I love your necklace.

    (i read your words, too – good for you! I would have been so nervous!)

  32. She is very cute. Men and woman have in all likelihood been gambling on this or that since the beginning of time, mostly for the sheer pleasure and excitement of it all…..

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