She is 28 years old, originally from Iasi, plays online with the pseudonym “luckyno75”, mainly on PokerStars, and in 2012 she won tournament on three major poker sites: PokerStars.com, PokerStars.fr and 888. According to PoketFives.com her total winning are of $3,433,251. The highest amount won was $ 105,733, at the Progressive Super KnockOut tournament.
How did you start playing poker? Why?
I learned by myself playing on the Internet, I started with the SNG format “Double or Nothing” and right from the beginning I figured out that it is enough to win a few games a day to make an entry level salary. Poker won me over real fast.
What made you choose a professional poker player career and not something else?
Even since I was a University student I felt that I would not want a working schedule from 9 to 17 and that I like to work alone. I also had “beginner’s luck” in poker, so I had enough funds to support myself and to continue my work.
How did your family, acquaintances, friends receive the news that you have made poker a full time job?
How many hours do you spend playing poker each day?
I haven’t told my parents at the beginning, I waited to have consistent results, and then they have supported me.
My friends were delighted. I used to play a lot in my first ears, about 8-9 hours a day, after that I reduced the volume of games and I began to study more. Volume is not everything.
Which of the tournaments you won meant the most to you?
The most important prize for me was when I made deal in three as chip leader for $ 10k in a $10 tournament on PokerStars. It was my first great result, at the beginning, when I had no bankroll.
If you were to start it all over, would you choose poker again? Why?
Certainly I consider myself lucky to have found poker; I love my profession and I feel it suits me very well.
Can you tell us the total amount of buy-ins paid by you since you play poker?
There is a confusion regarding this topic for those who are not players.
In order to find out your profit, based on the total buy-ins, one uses the term ROI (return of investment). This is also a measure of the player capacity, but on short term is not relevant because it is influenced by luck. Many regular tournament players have an ROI of 20% at mid-stakes. For example, in a session in which they paid a buy-in of $3,500, they had a profit of under $700. This is just an average. In some sessions one can also lose it all and in others can obtain a very large profit.
Please tell us what are the main satisfactions poker gave you?
To travel and socialize are the most important satisfactions poker gives me. I am grateful for the people I’ve met through this.
What is your biggest regret related to poker?
I have no regrets, because I am convinced that I have learned from every mistake I made at major tournaments. It is human to be a little disappointed right after coming out of a tournament due to a mistake, but I know that we all make sub-optimal decisions sometimes. We can only analyze the situation, leave it behind and focus on what we play at that time.
We have a new law in forcé governing gambling and by default poker in Romania. There are new taxes and a number of sites were also banned for poker players, while others were licensed. From your point of view, how did the new regulations affect poker players?
All players are affected by the fact that we can no longer play on French sites; this is the biggest disadvantage. I choose to see the glass half full: I play at fewer game tables now and I pay more attention.
Lately there are voices among players saying that poker is no longer a good financial offertory, both online and live, that it is in a decay, do you experience this situation or is it just a rumor?
It is true, online poker is no longer what it used to be. It is more difficult for beginners to make money out of it. I do not experience this situation because I am studying continuously, for some time now, and I am convinced that I will keep on winning in the future as well, as long as I maintain this grind and study program.
As for live poker, it will always be a tenderer, although there too, the players become better and better.
Given the fact that you play poker very well, I conclude that this is primarily a hobby for you, please tell us what other hobbies do you have?
Yes, poker is a passion for me. My other passions are sports and healthy cooking.
Surely there are plenty of women who want to become professional poker players, what would you advice them?
As a beginner, I think one will progress faster if they devote more time to study than to playing games. It is important to have realistic expectations, patience and good bankroll management.