Tina Itschner hasn’t been on the poker scene long, but she’s grinding her way to many final tables across Florida. I’ve watched her play and move her head from side to side with her music always playing. She’s an unpredictable player (she prefers it that way). It’s a strategy that’s clearly working for her. She’s an up-and-coming player so expect big things from her, and when she’s sitting at the table with you, you’ll know. I had a chance to chat with her recently.
How long have you been playing poker? I played my first hand two and a half years ago on my sister’s birthday.In less than one hour, I was hooked playing Texas Hold’em.
What is your favorite game? Texas Hold’em, followed by Omaha, which I have not yet mastered.
What is your favorite hand? K-2. The reason is because no one ever suspects you would be holding K-2 and when hits, I clean up.
Do you play online? Yes, occasionally, but I prefer to play live-action poker where I can look my opponents right in the eyes.
How did you get involved in poker, and how did it segue into your life and career? My personal life is poker and family.I look forward to every weekend and this has become a family sport.In addition, my husband and I collect and distribute new suitcases and backpacks to kids in foster care.
How do you feel about the up-and-coming female players? I love the new up-and-coming female players as well as all of the ladies who have paved the way.Being a male-dominated sport, it’s great to see the women coming of age. Although, I was disappointed with the female (players) showing at the 2010 WSOP main event.
What is your poker dream? My poker dream is to cash in the WSOP main event and win a bracelet in the ladies event.
If you had some advice to female players what would that advice be? (Don’t) be intimidated by other players and play your game.Don’t be bullied or bluffed out of a hand.
Do you have a poker mentor or someone who’s influenced you? Yes, my brother-in-law, Malcolm, is my poker sensei. He watches my play and trains me to be a more competitive player. We are still working on the K-2.
Do you still feel you are learning all the time? Yes, every time I sit down at a table or online, I learn something new.This is an ever-changing challenging game and you have to be willing to adapt. Poker is much more than a card game, what do you feel is a large part of the game that drives you? I love the excitement and the immediate adrenalin rush I get every time I play.I am extremely competitive and love to win.
What can we expect from you in the future? I see myself playing higher stakes cash games and tournaments across the country and winning a WSOP bracelet.
– Lauren Failla is the founder of the High Heels Poker Tour.