Interview with Vanessa Rousso on Day 1 of the 2008 WSOPC Rincon

Vanessa Rousso
Vanessa Rousso on Day 1 of the 2008 WSOP Circuit Harrahs Rincon main event

Vanessa Rousso, sometimes known as The Lady Maverick, is one of the most recognizable faces on the poker circuit. Her trademark oversized black sunglasses, green cap and Bose headphones make her stand out in a crowd of poker players - not to mention the fact she's usually the only female still standing.

Rousso rose to fame with final-table appearances at the World Poker Tour and then the World Series of Poker. Earlier this year she placed third in the WCOOP main event but was then awarded second when the winner was disqualified, giving her a total of $700,000 in the online tournament. Most recently Rousso cashed for $17,213.

The LadyMaverick had a lot of chips throughout most of Day 1 at the WSOPC Rincon and despite some intense criticism from Theo Tran she kept her cool and made it through the day.

Rousso was kind enough to talk to at 2 a.m. just after the tournament finished for the day.

So Vanessa how was your day?

I had a good day. It was actually my birthday and it seemed like the cards, for the most part, were going my way. I guess that was like a birthday gift because I didn't really celebrate it or anything. It was a nice substitute to run well. Other than that I think I'm about the chip average [Rousso ended with 89,800] and there is nine more until the money so I'm optimistic.

Vanessa Rousso
The birthday girl keeping things relaxed on Day 1 at the WSOPC Rincon.

What do you think of WSOPC events? It seems like you play a decent amount of them...

Yeah I do. I used to play a lot more of them when they were televised but now I play them when they are nearby. I'll be playing the L.A. Commerce so this was pretty close. I also played the WSOPC event in Tunica and bubbled there. The WPT was there at the same time so that made sense as well. I wish they would televise these events; that would be great.

You pretty much play every major poker circuit including WPT, EPT and WSOP. Do you have a preference out of all of them?

The WSOPC events are good because they usually offer weaker fields, while the WPT events are good because they give you more chips and better structures. It's kind of a toss-up between the two. My very favorite tournament is the $25,000 WPT Championship because they give you $50,000 starting chips. For my style of play that's the best tournament.

How do you keep your composure at the table after a hand like the one you had against Theo Tran today?

It was easy to keep my composure in that particular hand because I knew I was 100% in the right. I just thought it was really uncalled-for to have any player yelling at another player. It was especially hard because I thought Theo and I were friends so I was a bit taken aback.

Theo Tran
The source of the controversy.

I mean I had the gut-shot flush draw so that means I'm about 50-50 if my read on his hand is correct. I'm getting 1.8-1 on my money. It's a great spot. I don't mind gambling. I'm not trying to cash; I'm trying to get enough chips to win this thing.

Last time I checked I paid my buy-in and I should be able to play the way I want to play. The way he berated me afterwards I was more shocked than anything. I was just like, "Theo, what's up man?"

I'm sure he'll calm down. I'm sure he was just having a bad day.

What did you think of your tables today? It seemed like you had some tough draws...

Early on I had a great draw. My first table was super-soft and that allowed me to get off to a good start and I launched right up to $50,000. It was after that I was moved to a tough table and it just went downhill from there. This last table was extremely tough. I would re-raise with A-K and someone would push with A-J. I folded so I was pissed about that hand. That hand was characteristic of the extremely loose and reckless style that was present at that table.

Vanessa Rousso
Sunglasses? Check. Hat? Check. Bose headphones? Check. Vanessa Rousso is in the house.

I tried to just step back and pick my spots as best I could. I kinda floated around $100,000 the whole day. I couldn't really chip up much past that. Every time I took a chance to get more than $100,000 it didn't seem to pan out. I'm comfortable now. I have a decent stack and I think I held my own at the table. It was a good day of poker.

The TV advertisement for PokerStars where you are bungee jumping is getting a lot of airtime these days. Did you actually perform the stunt in the ad?

Yeah. The reason they picked bungee jumping is because that's one of my favorite things to do. Actually I prefer skydiving [laughs] - I'm a little wacky. We're currently discussing me doing skydiving in the next ad. We'll see what happens.

Do you have a [particular] strategy heading into tomorrow?

Just reevaluate my new table. I guess I'll probably go home tonight and do some research on where I stand chip-wise and where I stand compared to the rest of my table. At this stage of the game there is a lot of strategy in playing certain hands when the blinds are really weak. It's a lot less about the cards and more about the individual players' stack sizes and their styles. I'll just try to adapt accordingly.

Thanks so much, Vanessa.

No problem.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Just after the interview ended Theo Tran showed up and apologized to Rousso for losing his cool. Apparently there are some happy endings in poker. Join us tomorrow as both Rousso and Tran attempt to grab a seat at that coveted final table at the WSOPC Rincon.

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