Vanessa Hernandez recently took 2nd place and won a bounty of prizes including a trip to Las Vegas, a Bluetooth Speaker, a $500 hotel voucher and tons of clothing merch by competing in a free poker tournament hosted by World College Poker. She graciously took the time to speak with us about what matters to her in poker: family, fun, and competition.
PP (Poker Power): Where did you learn poker?
VH (Vanessa Hernandez): I learned (poker) at home from my husband and family a couple years ago. My family has a poker game every weekend and we’ll have as many as 10-12 players all playing at once! I like playing online too because I see hands so much quicker and I feel like I learn faster.
PP: Why do you like to play?
VH: I mainly just enjoy being around friends and family, but I also like the chance to be competitive when I’m in the mood to be. The flexibility of poker is nice because you can play for whatever length of time you want, and you can choose to really focus when you’re feeling competitive.
PP: Are there any memorable hands from your tournament run?
VH: Two come to mind: early on I got pocket aces and knocked out a player which really propelled my momentum to the final table. The other moment was the very last hand of the tournament. My opponent and I both made pairs and I think I bet too aggressively. I could have had first, I wanted the belt! Anyway, I was really happy to have done so well in the first serious tournament I’ve ever played. It was awesome to know that players from around the world were being represented in this event!
PP: What are your poker goals?
VH: I mostly hope to continue having fun with poker, but I want to play more tournaments. Hopefully that takes me somewhere, but I don’t have a specific goal in mind.
PP: Is there any advice you would like to give our readers?
VH: Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in a competitive setting. Some newer players default to the passive play, but if you have confidence in your ideas you can make some big plays to rise to the level of competition. So long as you’re having fun it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, so you may as well try something new.
PP: Thank you so much and congratulations on your accomplishment!
VH: Thank you, the prizes are still coming in the mail so every day has felt like Christmas recently!
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If you want to play like Vanessa but don’t have poker-playing family to practice with, don’t worry. You can join our community of female-identifying poker enthusiasts here. If you’re a college student, don’t forget to check the World College Poker schedule for more events in 2021 (worldcollegepoker.com). Poker Power is a proud sponsor of World College Poker.