There are many ways to qualify for a tournament but for 30-year-old Louise Butler, her journey to the PokerStars Festival Dublin began not in a tournament lobby, but on Twitter. It was there that she saw a competition that Jake Cody was running. The Team PokerStars Pro was giving away five €109 Dublin Main Event satellite tickets, over 200 people entered and Butler was one of Cody’s chosen five.
With the ‘easy’ part over Butler took her shot at winning a Main Event seat and didn’t get off to the best start. “I was actually down to one big blind about ten minutes in,” she recalls. “I won a couple of all-ins and from there on it was pretty straightforward.”
— Lou (@LouiseB555) September 18, 2017
The win was no fluke, Butler is an accomplished online tournament player, but until three weeks ago though she’d never played a live tournament. Having decided that she wanted to start playing live poker, she astutely noticed that her satellite game was going to need some work. “I was terrible at satellites but I decided I want to play more live events, so last month I watched a webinar on satellites and have tried to improve my ranges. Since then I’ve won two satellites!”
The County Galway resident is no poker novice though, as she started playing over a decade ago. “I played in a really fun home game during college with some friends, that was about 10 years ago. One of the players from that game is a professional cash game player now. I then live abroad and travelled a lot. I lived in Thailand and Australia and just forgot about poker for a while. I would play very rarely.”
The PokerStars Blog played a crucial role in Butler deciding to give poker another try, as she happened across an article that we’d published. “About three years ago I saw an interview with The Firm (the Irish poker collective that includes Dara O’Kearney, David Lappin and Daragh Davey), I don’t know if it was because they were Irish, but I was like ‘wow, they’re actually really systematically making money.’ So then I started to try and learn a little bit more. Nothing crazy but for a couple of years I started to make money from poker and in the last year I started to make a bit more money and I’ve started to take poker more seriously.”
The PokerStars qualifier is coy on just how serious she is taking poker though. “I wouldn’t say poker is my profession but I’m taking it pretty seriously now. I have about $300,000 in cashes online and a decent bankroll. My average buy-in is about $22 but I’ve started to play some $109 tournaments too.”
It’s not just the success of Irish players that have inspired Butler, but the success of other female poker players too. “I used to play the Women’s Sunday,” she begins, “I remember I was heads-up against a girl and she was really good. I looked her up and she was a Romanian girl with almost $4 million in cashes.” That player, in case you’re wondering, is Luciana ‘luckyno75’ Manolea.
Growing up Butler was competitive and she played a lot of Golf and Camogie. That competitive drive has now been transported to poker and she’s constantly striving to improve her overall game. “Recently I’ve been playing a bit less online. Before I would play all the time and I realised my reshove game was horrible so I’ve been working on fixing that rather than mindlessly playing.”
Although very comfortable in the online arena, Butler admits that her lack of experience in the live arena has led her to make a couple of adjustments. “Just stupid things like putting my phone on the table when you shouldn’t, she says. “I’m fine with calculating the pot and stuff like that, it’s more things like remembering to put in my ante! It just takes some getting used to.”
Although Butler was knocked out on Day 1 of the Main Event she had only positive things to say about her experience. “”Really good experience, everyone at my table was really nice. I’m definitely going to play more live tournaments and try and qualify online. I’d like to travel through poker. South America is the only continent that I haven’t been to so I have my mind set on doing that through poker.”
With Butler’s thirst for knowledge and improvement at the poker table, we’d bet that she’d be getting another stamp on the passport sooner, rather than later.