Girl Talk With Vanessa Rousso

Vanessa Rousso
Vanessa Rousso playing in Day 1C of the 2007 Main Event

They call her the Lady Maverick and she is one smart cookie. She's an Ivy-Leaguer, a game theory enthusiast and really gives the guys a run for their money on the felt.

Vanessa Rousso took some time during her twenty minute break today while playing in Day 1C of the Main Event to dish on some poker and good places to eat. The fans love her too - I think she signed, like, eight t-shirts in the span of our five minute chat.

Here's what she had to share:

So how's the Main Event going for you this year?

Well, you know, despite the fact that I took two rough beats early on, I'm feeling good about my table, I'm feeling good about my prospects in the tournament.

But I took two rough beats with kings and A-Q with A-Q on the board. And although my chip stack is back down to what I started with, $15,000, I think I feel good things to come!

Is there anyone at your table that you're having a good time with?

I actually don't know anyone at my table. But two nice guys named Keith and Les are sitting to my left and right and we're having good conversation. I have a pretty nice table; they're pretty nice guys. It looks like we're a late breaking table so I'll be sitting with them all day. And now I just gotta hope that I don't get in the hole!

Vanessa Rousso
Bulls-eye

So how do you craft your game as a woman in this industry? Do you feel an advantage?

[Laughs.] You know, yes, especially in a field like this. There's a lot of more beginner-style players, and when you get to the table they just want to knock it out. The thing is at my table, my edge, being a woman, isn't that much of an advantage because no one's actually pushing against me. Actually I think I played the most hands at my table so far. So I don't know how much of an edge I have today.

You're a pretty recognizable player too -

Yeah, that actually works to my disadvantage. I think people see me and they want to try to bust me, and you know, I remember when it first started happening, when I first started getting my name out there, and I was like 'why would people call with these cards?!'

And then Doyle Brunson explained it to me. He was like "Kid, you've gotta understand. You've got a big fat bulls eye on the back of your shirt, and people want to bust you! And now I'm conscious of that and I'm aware that I have to be just a little more aggressive to protect my hands.

So what are your plans for the rest of the tournament day then, poker-wise?

Well, like I said, my day is going psychologically great, the cards aren't holding up that great. I lost with pocket kings. I checked, he bet - he's a pre-flop raiser. I called in the big blind. Then he checked and I bet the flop. He calls. I checked. Flush is on the ten, I checked, I had the king. I didn't think the nut flush was really there and unfortunately he bet and I called, and I thought he had a boat or nothing, but he had the nut flush, so I lost. And that was a pretty big pot.

In the other hand, I had A-Q, with a queen high flop, guy leads out, I call. At this point I was kinda short-stacked though. He bet on the ten [the turn] and I called. He bets out another $700 on the river and the board hits. There was no way I had the best hand so I had to lay it down. It was a pretty tough lay down. He didn't show so I have no idea if I had the best hand or not. After that hand I was down to like $9,000. Since then I've chipped back up just playing standard sized pots.

You're staying focused?

Yeah. I'm in a good place, really mentally focused right now, there's nothing really bugging me.

What do you do to keep it together?

I listen to music - I have a bad beats playlist, and a lot of music that really just keeps me calm. I work out, I had a great workout yesterday, and I went out to a great dinner yesterday with Robert Williamson III and my boyfriend Chad Brown.

Chad Brown
He's with her.

There were belly dancers at this great Lebanese restaurant - it was a really cool evening.

Where'd you guys go?

It's called Ali Baba? It was a lot of fun!

Thanks so much Vanessa, good luck for the rest of the day.

Thanks so much, girl! See ya.

* * * * * * * * * * *

And that was that. We walked down the hallway together, her heading back to the tournament room, and I to the media room dungeon. At the moment she is still chipping up in the tournament, and hopefully it stays that way until the end of the night.

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