Randi Calabro from Harmony, Fla., is making noise in poker rooms across the United States. She has amassed roughly $125,000 in live career earnings and has gained the respect of her peers, locally and nationally. She won a World Series of Poker circuit tournament at Lake Tahoe (Event 11, $7,283) and finished third at the WSOP ladies championship ($106,494).
Ante Up’s Garrett Roth caught up with her to discuss the beginning, future and greatest accomplishments of her poker career.
How did you first get your start in poker and what increased your learning curve so quickly?
I first got interested in poker by watching it on TV in 2005. I was living in Sacramento, Calif., and working for a company that I had to travel a lot. The only way I knew how to unwind at the end of the day was to watch poker on television at night. I remember watching a tournament featuring poker pros Scotty Nguyen and Freddy Deeb. I really got fascinated watching and learning from the professionals, but never thought I would play myself.
What has been the most rewarding accomplishment in your poker career?
Every cash, for me, is an accomplishment. The very first live tournament I ever played was the WSOP circuit event in Lake Tahoe, in which I took first place. I busted the No. 1-ranked woman in the world, Kathy Liebert, on the bubble and went on a tear from there. I would, however, have to say that coming in third at the WSOP ladies championship was incredible for me.
You participate in a lot of Ladies International Poker Tour (LIPS) events. Which do you enjoy more, ladies-only events or open fields?
I enjoy any tournament, ladies or mixed. It doesn’t matter what the field is. I’m not easily intimidated but I have to say the play is very different. There seems to be a trend with most ladies’ events, however I think I’m the exception to the theory about how ladies play.
Who was your toughest opponent at your WSOP final table?
I didn’t worry about who I was playing. To be honest, I didn’t know who I was playing against until after the tournament when I got to read bios on them. I came to the final table eighth in chips and ended up taking third.
What is your favorite tournament series?
The WSOP circuit is amazing because of its large rewards, but I play everything from charity events to single-table tournaments. I also have just begun playing on the Ante Up Poker Tour and I have to say I love playing these deepstack events. I think the blind structure and the rooms that these tournaments are being held in are great.
How often do you play and what cardrooms do you enjoy playing in the most?
I play as much as I possibly can. My husband also plays and we have been trying to play at all of the new rooms. The closest to where we live is Melbourne; however we also play in Daytona. We like to vacation in Siesta Key and love the One-Eyed Jacks room in Sarasota. We also recently began playing in Ocala and Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.
What do you think are your biggest advantages in a tournament?
I honestly feel like I have a natural gift and feel I’m unreadable at the table. I’m excited to make more final tables and get my name out there more. My claim to fame is being a great short-stack player. It takes a lot of talent and patience to be able to overcome a short stack and win a tournament.
Now that you have already captured an amazing six-figure score, what are your future goals?
I would like to play a lot more tournaments, including the WSOP, WSOPC and AUPT events. I would love to play against some more professionals to test my game. I also have great support from my husband, Chad, who’s a very good player. Poker has become a huge part of my life and I would love to obtain a sponsorship to play as many tournaments that I possibly can to be successful.