Interview with Melanie Weisner
Feb 12, 2017 NEWS
ReviewAndPlay had fantastic opportunity to interview Ms Melanie Weisner, professional female poker player. Melanie plays high stakes poker tournaments and offers coaching to aspiring players. We hope you enjoy reading this interview and, as always, please contact us with any topics you would like to read about next.
How do you prepare for the big games? Do you meditate, practice your skills, study opponents?
I have built a routine in my daily life that I believe is quite conducive to a high mental state going into important games. I meditate and highly prioritize sleep and exercise, and regularly read/watch poker and discuss hands with my contemporaries. I’ve found that having a consistent practice of poker and a healthy lifestyle is the best combination to feel mentally prepared to play A-game.
Do you know of any poker books you would suggest to beginner players?
My favorite books to recommend to beginners are Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and Tommy Angelo’s Elements of Poker. The first is an exhilarating read that takes you through every decision point of Hansen’s win of the Aussie Millions Main Event, and gives fascinating insight into the mind of a very daring, aggressive player. The second is a great balance to the first—an extremely solid and calculated approach to manifesting an edge over your opponents (primarily in cash games) that focuses on self awareness.
What is your opinion about playing poker online vs in live casinos?
I started playing online, and it took me a long time to adjust to playing live. Initially, I saw no reason to leave the comfort of my own home to trek out to a casino for a much slower game where you could only play one table at once. As I got more and more accustomed to the live arena, my opinion began to change, and now I feel completely opposite. Firstly, there’s nothing as exciting as playing a live major tournament such as the WSOP main event or other main events of the major world tours. Secondly, I realized that live play actually was far more interesting than online—while your mind is “busier” when multi-tabling online, there’s actually many more layers of information (and therefore more ways to exploit opponents) when playing live, and it takes the game to a higher level both in terms of edge and in depth of experience.
You offer coaching to prospective players. What type of players do you coach? Would you consider having your poker academy or do you feel that best coaching is 1:1? That said do you coach online too?
Coaching is one of my favorite things to do—there is nothing better than imparting your thought process to another player, building their game with them and then watching them succeed. I’ve coached a wide variety of players, from true beginners to intermediate/advanced online grinders, in both tournament and cash game formats. I’d definitely consider having an academy (I’ve been part of bigger academies and enjoyed it) and found it quite beneficial for students but I will definitely say there is no substitute for 1:1 coaching. The acceleration of improvement can be really transformative in that setting. I coach online and live.
How do you recover from a bad beat?
I cry and go eat whatever junk food i’ve been craving :) Just kidding. Bad beats can be very demoralizing, and it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, but I’d have to say I rarely get tilted from a bad beat because I’ve taught myself to derive satisfaction not from results, but from execution of my skill. So if I’ve put myself in a great position and did everything I could, I’m not upset if it doesn't go my way. Living with mistakes that are my fault, however, is something completely different. Those hands get replayed over and over in my mind and haunt me for weeks…
What are the poker tournaments you prefer to play at (and why)?
My favorite tournaments were the ones on the now non-existent European Poker Tour due to a multitude of factors—the venue and cities, which were always majestic and exciting, and the great structure of the games and international turnout. I’d probably say that the WSOP is my second favorite because there’s a new huge event every day and no matter what happens one day, the next is a fresh start in something with equally exciting possibility.
What tournaments you plan to join next year?
This coming year will be a slow tournament year for me as I have quite a few new students to regularly coach, as well as some cash game goals for the year. I just got back from Aussie Millions, and will certainly be out in Vegas for the WSOP, but unsure beyond that.
It appears US is a big market for poker players. Apart from US where do you think poker is at advanced level?
I think that it’s quite high in certain areas of Europe such as the UK and other gambling-friendly countries, in terms of the market involvement. It’s slowed down since online poker left the US but it’s still garnering tremendous interest in areas all over the world (especially Latin America and Asia) so it’s hard to say for sure where it’s the most popular right now.
Do you play other casino games apart from poker and if so what games do you like to play?
I try to stay away from the pit as being a poker player has conditioned me to play games where I have a skill edge, but every once in a while I’ll play some blackjack or craps for fun.
Can you think of any other games in general that may help in poker skills training?
Many of the best tournament players started out as Magic players, so I’d say that might be a good skill set to hone. Any game that requires anticipatory, critical thinking and decisions based on probability and logic is likely to be helpful. I’d recommend games like Caylus and chess.
What do you like to do when you do not play poker?
My hobbies outside of poker have to do with sports and arts—I train for pole vaulting (recreationally but competitively) and direct plays in Los Angeles. I’m also a big foodie and have been generating content for a few years to put up on my food blog, which will be up on my website soon.
Do you think there are enough women in poker? What advice would you give to women who want to start playing poker?
I do feel like women are underrepresented in poker. It would be great to get other smart women in the game. I’d advise women looking to get started to not be daunted by the elements of luck in the game—they will even out in the long run, and to know that being female can be an advantage as most players have less experience playing with females and tend to adhere to certain stereotypes regarding them, which you can exploit if you look for it. Poker is a game of mental mettle and women can be equally as successful as men if they put their minds to it.
Who are your favourite players to play poker with/against?
My favorite players to play with are probably the players which make the table the most fun, but may not be the players I most want to get involved in hands with as they are extremely talented! Dominik Nitsche and Griffin Benger are always up for entertainment at the table, and Liv Boeree and Jamie Kerstetter are two of my favorite female contemporaries.
Are there any real friends in professional poker world? Do you believe there can be genuine friendships and how could that affect the game?
This is a great question, and I believe the answer is that there are genuine friendships, but they are rarer than advertised. It can be a difficult situation to navigate, as poker is a zero sum game where someone winning is directly correlated with others losing, and sometimes this will pit friends against friends and the interests thereof. It’s most important to separate business from friendship whenever possible (a lot easier said than done). The people with friendships that remain unaffected by any of the politics or financial interest in poker are usually the players who are secure with their talent and conduct themselves in a transparent, reasonable, and ethical manner when these situations come up.
How much of poker success, in your view, is talent, practice, skill and luck?
In the short term, the luck factor is very high. In the long term, it is near zero (dependent on games). Talent represents a strong acumen with regard to the elements of poker; practice represents the work ethic and hours put into developing raw talent into an executable, malleable gameplay; skill represents the product of both. As in almost any field, however, practice and experience usually yield the greatest results.
Which win and also which loss is the one you remember the most and why?
The win I remember the most is the six-max event I won at WPT South Africa. My mom sat on the rail watching me for the entirety of the tournament and got to be in my winner’s photo, so that was very special to me.
The loss I remember the most is the $5000 8-max event at the WSOP a few years ago, which I was chipleader of with three tables remaining. I got involved a hand with the player who was second in chips, holding AK on AK9 (two spades) against her red AQ. It came running Q, Q and that was probably the worst beat I ever took in my career. It’s hard to get your money in better than that in hold-em!
Please visit Melanie’s website for more details and for coaching opportunities. If you are interest to play any slots or casino games online please feel free to select any of the trusted online casinos in our portfolio.