Poker players from around the world dream of taking down a major tournament. British starlet Suzie Williamson did exactly that during the WPT Montreal festival, taking down the $162 6-Max PKO Turbo for a shade under $7,500.
Suzie took some time out from her busy schedule to chat exclusively with us about her fantastic win and poker in general. Here’s what she had to say.
Originally from Chester, Cheshire, Suzie moved to Wakefield, Yorkshire in 2015 where she now lives with her fiancee, Keeley. By day Suzie is a Business Manager for Pure Technology Group, a Yorkshire-based firm specialising in providing Information and Communications Technology. By night, however, Suzie can be found grinding online poker tournaments, something she’s loved doing for several years.
“I really discovered poker in my mid-20s after watching poker shows on late-night TV and signing up for an online play money account. I remember printing off a Texas Hold’em poker hand chart so I could check the cards I was playing, as I didn’t even know what hand beat what!”
How times change! Suzie was determined to excel in this game and started putting in study time away from the tables.
“I would describe myself as an analytical, competitive person who loves challenges, problem solving and puzzles. I like to win which is why I think poker really grabbed my attention. I have continued to learn and improve my game by playing online and watching lots of poker content, such as WSOP, WPT and Late Night Poker re-runs in the early days. Now I watch a lot of twitch streams and poker strategy videos. The partypoker MyGame Whiz online feature is also a great tool to learn from.”
A Shaky Start to Her Live Poker Career
Suzie’s first live poker experience came in 2015 when she won a seat to the £560 Main Event of GUKPT Leeds. She’d never played poker in a casino before that day and it was quite obvious to her opponents.
“I remember shaking when putting my chips in the pot as I was so nervous. I even got told off by the dealer for string betting and I had to ask them what I had done wrong! I may as well have put a big target on my head and a sign around my neck saying ‘First Live Event…Free Chips Available Here!’”
After getting a few more live events under her belt, Suzie’s confidence grew.
“I think as a woman, when you attend your first couple of events, it can be quite intimidating and a little overwhelming as it’s predominately male players, but that shouldn’t put you off. The majority of poker players are really friendly once you get past their poker face.”
Suzie became more involved in a number of online poker groups as her love for the game increased. Two in particular standing out from the crowd.
Encouraging Female Poker Players To Enjoy This Crazy Game
“I’ve been a member of the partypoker Ladies group and the FLIP (Fantastic Ladies In Poker) Facebook groups for some time now. It’s a really great platform to meet other female players, ask for some friendly advice, review hands, and celebrate the success of female poker player from all over the world. It’s full of support and I would say it’s more of community or one big poker family. We arrange to meet up at events, go for meals and drinks, so it’s social and fun too. It’s absolutely awesome to see so many amazing female poker players crushing it and if I can encourage more women to give it a try and get involved, that would be amazing.”
Suzie only plays No-Limit Hold’em tournaments at the moment, stating she believes she still has a lot to learn even after all these years. Like the late Mike Sexton said, “Texas Hold’em takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master.” Suzie still considers poker a hobby despite her continued success. You tend to find her in $11-$55 buy-in tournaments and satellites.
“I love playing satellites and I’ve had a lot of success with these. I think that it’s awesome that it’s possible to win your seat in a huge event such as a $10K buy-in from as little as $0.01 by working your way up through the various phases. For a lot of players, being able to play in a $10K event could be a dream opportunity.”
Turning $0.50 Into $12,000 While Sunbathing!
“I remember a couple of years ago I was on holiday sunbathing and noticed I could get WiFi access on my mobile, so decided to play a $0.50 satellite on partypoker. I won a $22 ticket and turned that into a $109 ticket and that one into a $530 Bounty Hunter $100K Gtd High Roller entry. I finished in second place for almost $12,000!”
Suzie recently took down the $162 WPT Montreal 6-Max PKO Turbo event even though she never planned to play it initially. Earlier in the day of the tournament, Lady Luck shone down on Suzie and she won around £300 from a 20/1 and 40/1 horse racing bet so threw caution to the wind and decided to play the tournament! Funny how these things often work out.
Things weren’t looking good for Suzie by the time she reached the final table. She was short of chips but she never let that bother her, setting her sights on the victory instead of laddering the pay jumps.
“When I reached the final table seventh of seven in chips with only 10 big blinds I wasn’t focussing on a seventh-place payout. My initial thought was one double up and I’m right back in it. I wanted the win.”
You Gotta Know When to Hold’em, Know When to Fold’em
Saving chips from folding is sometimes more important than accumulating chips. One hand at the final table demonstrated that concept perfectly. Suzie folded when she was tempted to call. Had she called, she would have dropped from third-place to sixth.
“I was holding , the under the gun player (the big stack bully) opened to 66,000, I called in the small blind and the big blind called. The big blind only had 11 big blinds, but a very tasty bounty on their head The flop checks to UTG, they bet around half pot and I tank-folded although I initially was tempted to see the turn as the big stack had been trying to target the big blind due to the size of their bounty.”
All the chips went into the middle following Suzie’s fold, the big blind hitting a flush on the river with their and the UTG player losing with a straight made by their .
Suzie got the job done and won all the chips in play at around 03:30 and became a WPT champion, which she describes as a dream come true.
“When the final hand played out and I won, it was a complete adrenaline rush, I was chuffed to bits. It was around 03:30 and I was on my own in the living room. There may have been a silent scream of YES! YES! YES!!! GET IN!!!! along with a few fist pumps and a little happy dance!”
— Suzie P♠️ker 🌈 (@Suzie_Poker) January 24, 2021
Sights Set on a BIG Score and Las Vegas
As anyone who had won almost $7,500 and becoming a WPT champion would do, Suzie has treated herself to a few small gifts with her winnings but is saving the rest for when we’re allowed to book a holiday abroad. Guess where is on Suzie’s radar? Las Vegas, of course! Until then, however, it’s back to the online poker grind and the hunt for a massive score.
“My goals for 2021 are a bit up in the air at the money as you would expect. I would have loved to have experienced the WSOP in Vegas as that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Really looking forward to playing a lot more live poker as soon as it’s safe to do so. For now, though, the plan is to continue with the online grind and work towards that BIG win.”
Suzie and anyone reading this exclusive interview has the chance to bag a huge win in the upcoming MILLIONS Online festival. Those value-packed satellites Suzie eluded to earlier are in the partypoker lobby right now, so why not give them a spin and see if you can follow in Suzie’s footsteps and become a poker champion?
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