As the year winds down, the competition gets tougher each month in the two divisions of the PokerStars Women's Poker League. Of course, there are monthly cash prizes to be won that can help any bankroll and boost a player's confidence for further competition. But moreover, there are big monthly prizes up for grabs, with a PokerStars Women Live package going to the yearly winner of each division and thousands of dollars to be distributed to the other top finishers.
At this point in the game, there are many consistent players on the leaderboards for the Women's League, and one who has been there often is KleopatraRTS. And this month, she topped even herself by winning both divisions! We had the chance to get to know her, and that feature is below the final rankings for November.
Division 1: $1.10 League
The halfway mark of November saw KleopatraRTS already staking out her first place spot in this division with 105 points, but redeics was not far behind with 98, and zemlyanikasw was in a solid third with 86 points. But the November 24th numbers showed leenekid jumping from ninth to first place, overtaking the lead with 146 points to the 143 of KleopatraRTS. Maadcaroma also leapt from eighth into third place with 138 points, whereas redeics fell to sixth place. Zemlyanikasw only fell to fourth place.
When the final numbers were listed, though, it was KleopatraRTS of Poland who retook the lead and soared to victory with 180 points for a $250 cash win. Leenekid of Canada lost her first place grip but finished in a solid second with 164 points, and zemlyanikasw of Russia was back in third by finishing with 157 points.
November Top 10:
1st place: KleopatraRTS (Poland) - 30 tournaments, 180 points = $250
2nd place: leenekid (Canada) - 30 tournaments, 164 points = $170
3rd place: zemlyanikasw (Russia) - 29 tournaments, 157 points = $140
4th place: PAO083 (Colombia) - 26 tournaments, 152 points = $120
5th place: maadcaroma (Portugal) - 30 tournaments, 149 points = $100
6th place: REBEKC (Mexico) - 30 tournaments, 141 points = $90
7th place: laimee (Canada) - 29 tournaments, 135 points = $80
8th place: tjumpy (Canada) - 30 tournaments, 129 points = $60
9th place: domblonde69 (Brazil) - 25 tournaments, 118 points = $50
10th place: ~Chipsqueak~ (Canada) - 29 tournaments, 116 points = $40
Division 2: $.10 League
As of the middle of November, there were two players tied for first place in this league - MCathy68 and swtangie - each with 83 points. And KleopatraRTS was coming up quickly with 75 points. Ten days later, swtangie sat in the top spot alone, though, with 114 points and a solid lead, while butterflysh (who was in fourth place at the month's midpoint) and KleopatraRTS were tied for second with 105 each. MCathy68 had fallen to a sixth place tie with zemlyanikasw.
The final November numbers showed nothing but determination from KleopatraRTS, who climbed into first place with 142 points and took the win in both divisions. Jachna, also of Poland, came from outside the top ten to take over second place with 134 points, and MCathy68 of Mauritius rose back into third with 133 to solidify her finish in the top three. Swtangie ended up finishing in fifth, butterflysh in a seventh place tie, and zemylyanikasw in sixth (for top 10 finishes in both divisions).
November Top 10:
1st place: KleopatraRTS (Poland) - 30 tournaments, 142 points = $100
2nd place: Jackna (Poland) - 30 tournaments, 134 points = $90
3rd place: MCathy68 (Mauritius) - 29 tournaments, 133 points = $80
4th place: KOKIRITA (Argentina) - 26 tournaments, 126 points = $70
5th place: swtangie (New Zealand) - 29 tournaments, 125 points = $60
6th place: zemlyanikasw (Russia) - 29 tournaments, 117 points = $50
7th place: A.captain.T (Russia) - 30 tournaments, 116 points = $45 (TIE)
7th place: butterflysh (Spain - 30 tournaments, 116 points = $45 (TIE)
8th place: butterflysh (Spain) - 30 tournaments, 114 points = $30
9th place: danamo09 (Romania) - 30 tournaments, 112 points = $20
10th place: Demi ces (Canada) - 29 tournaments, 109 points = $15
Featured Player "KleopatraRTS"
Izabela Potega could never have predicted that a love for competition and a professional Scrabble endeavor would lead to poker. The inspired young woman enjoyed game challenges but pursued many careers, including musician and journalist, even working on a television show for a time. But when a friend introduced her to poker and showed her that it was than a game of luck, everything changed.
Potega hails from Lodz but has a "highlander's roots," she notes, and has lived in many countries in Europe. Now 25 years old, she lives in a small town between Poland and Germany but will be moving to the countryside soon, where a peaceful forest and lake beckon.
Only four or five years ago, a friend told Potega that he was flying to Mexico for a poker tournament. "I was shocked," she recalls. "I knew poker was a game with cards, but I did not realize you could travel the whole world to play poker. I thought that poker was just like gambling, where all that matters is luck." But then another Scrabble player encouraged her to try poker as well, and she played an Omaha freeroll, winning a few cents. "From then, there was not a single day without a freeroll game for me!"
Playing poker regularly led her to her present job, working for the poker school at PokerStrategy.com. She records and dubs poker training videos and hopes to move into other facets of poker work as well. She plays a couple of hours each day online at PokerStars as KleopatraRTS and spends time to improve her game. "I analyze all my moves," she says. "I make a lot of mistakes because I am not very good with math, but I am learning. I make notes on every player, which is one of the keys to my success."
Further, Potega reads many poker blogs and watches live poker event coverage online to become a better player. She plans to study poker mathematics as well. "The Polish poker community has a lot of amazing players, and I learn a lot from talking to them. Playing Scrabble also taught me how to think rationally and make quick decisions."
In the future, she hopes to play more live poker. "It is my dream to play it in the future," she tells us, having loved playing live a few times in the past. She loves the live tells obtainable from other players' body language in live events, but the prohibitive factor is that Poland has not yet legalized live poker. Outside of occasional travels to countries like the Czech Republic, she focuses her attention on online poker, which she enjoys because of the ability to multi-table and play fast.
Potega's attention to the Women's Poker League tournaments is unique because it's different from other games or even the Women's Sunday tournament. "You have to adjust to your female opponents," she says. "For example, new players often go all-in before the flop with 2-7! WPL is special and challenging." And her dedication to mastering it brought her to the top of both divisional leaderboards this month.
She hopes to see more women get into poker. Her advice is simple but important: "Observe the players, make notes, read poker articles, do not go all-in with crap cards, and do not steal blinds when you see me at the table." She adds a smiley face here. "Remember poker is not a lotto game but one of skill, so you should really invest your time in learning strategies. And one more thing ... Eat legumes!"
With a supportive mother cheering her on, Potega looks to make her family proud. Her mother calls every evening to ask, "How are big and small blinds doing?" She wishes her luck on a constant basis. And even her brother, who does not understand her passion, does not criticize it and even tells his friends about her successes.
The bottom line for Potega is that exact passion. "I simply love poker and anything related to it." And that is all it takes to start climbing the poker ladder of success.