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Don't Be a Hater - Play Like Katja Thater!
She was one of the few women playing and she was also the sole member of Team PokerStars to make an appearance. That meant she was probably the most famous player in attendance but it didn't seem to faze her. Despite an up-and-down day, Thater finished with a decent stack and is in great shape to take control on Day 2.
Thater is of course one of the few females who have managed to win a gold bracelet in an open event at the WSOP so it's always a pleasure to talk poker with one of the game's leading ladies. PL.com caught up with Thater just after Day 1a ended.
So Katja, first of all, how did Day 1a of the EPT Prague treat you?
Well I finished with $28,400 in chips, which is a little bit over average I think. It really doesn't matter if you finish Day 1 a little bit over or below the average, it's all the same. It makes a much bigger difference on Day 2. I'm good with chips so I'm not worried about it.
How was your table?
I had a very tough table. It was a like a big roller-coaster when it came to my chip stack today. I was down to $5,000 and then I was up to $20,000 and then I was down to $3,000 and it was like that all day long. My game is usually not like that. I can handle it though, it's still poker.
With the majority of Team PokerStars playing a world away at the APPT World Final in Sydney, why did you opt to take the trip to the Czech Republic?
I wanted to see Prague. My dad told me, "Please go to Prague and see it." It's not so far from home either. I actually came from Paris and it wasn't a problem to travel here. Prague is a good opportunity for me. I'm so tired and I'm sick and I just don't want to travel that far.
What do you think of Prague so far? Do you like the city?
Umm, yeah. I really haven't had that much time to see it. I'm finally going to get some time tomorrow because it's my day off. [laughs] It's not even really a full day off because I have to do some things with the media.
How are you finding the tournament circuit after winning your bracelet at the WSOP this summer? Do you get more respect? Are there more people gunning for you now? Is it a good or a bad thing?
It's always a challenge to be a woman in the sport of poker. Sometimes it seems like people focus all their efforts on beating me by basically playing as many hands as they can with me in live or online play. Sometimes when I'm raising the whole table is calling. [laughs] Because I know that I can adapt my strategy, however, so it doesn't really change my game that much.
I heard you recently won the Leading Lady Award at the European Poker Awards. What does that mean to you? Is it a big deal?
Yeah it's nice to have. Annette [Obrestad] was nominated in that category so it was not bad at all. It was very nice.
What do you think of Annette and the year she is having?
Oh she's so sweet. I feel like a mother to her. Every time when I see her she is so nice and she plays incredibly good poker. When you play No-Limit Hold'em poker you don't have to be afraid of anything and she's doing a pretty good job of that.
What are the major differences in an event like this EPT one in Prague and the events at the WSOP?
I've only played the WSOP for two years now but I'm starting to get a better for feel for it. I really think the EPT is much harder to beat though. You don't find any dead money at the table but when you're playing the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event at the WSOP the room is full and there are thousands of players and half of them are amateurs. The EPT is really hard to play.
Do you have a strategy heading into Day 2?
It all depends on the table I get. I always adapt my strategy to who I'm playing against as well as my chip stack and position. There are so many variables but I'm fairly flexible so that helps.
Thanks so much, Katja; best of luck on Day 2.
Although Katja Thater is a nightmare to face at the poker tables she's also one of the nicest people you'll meet on the poker circuit. Congratulations to her for the recent recognition from the European Poker Awards. There's no doubt she deserves it.