Women in Poker are just as important as in any other sector in our society. Not only do we see the numbers rising during live poker tournaments, cash games, and online poker, the amount of women being active behind the scenes of the poker is just out of this world. Zuzana Mikulikova from Slovakia is one of them and undeniably one of the most pleasant, professional, and dedicated personalities in the European poker world. Her inclusion in our Women in Poker ranks was a decision made anonymously, recognizing her outstanding contributions. Currently, she serves as the Tournament Director at Banco Casino Bratislava, Slovakia. Originally aspiring to be a school teacher and even dreaming of having her own kindergarten, her path took an unexpected turn. At the age of 18, she shifted gears and entered the poker industry, embarking on a journey that would ultimately define her career.
Becoming a Poker Dealer
While still in high school as a senior, Zuzana Mikulikova was introduced to poker by a friend. Needing a job to support her studies, she seized the opportunity to work as a poker dealer in a local poker club. Before undergoing a two-week dealer course in her free time outside of her studies, she found the part-time job she had been searching for. This experience paved the way for her first venture into professional poker dealing at a real casino, specifically Banco Casino in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her stint at Banco Casino lasted only a few months before she transitioned to more significant opportunities.
In a short span, she became a part of major poker festivals across Europe. At King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, she dealt with prestigious events such as the WSOP Circuit Events and various other significant tournaments. King’s Casino recognized her potential early on, and despite her ongoing school commitments, she dedicated her weekends and evenings to work there. She progressed from being a poker dealer to a dealer coordinator assistant and eventually a floor manager. During her time at King’s, she collaborates with another prominent figure in Europe’s poker industry, Federico Brunato.
Federico Brunato, Tournament Director of King’s Casino Rozvadov: ‘’Zuzana and I started working together in cash games at Kings Casino about 7 years ago when we both began and gained our initial experience as floor assistants during festivals. I remember her as a hardworking person who could always be relied upon and who wanted to grow and learn new things. It's no coincidence that she's now demonstrating these qualities in her management of Banca Casino in Bratislava, where I've heard only positive feedback about, especially regarding the management and staff.’’
Despite her success, Zuzana felt a pull back to her home country. When offered a position as a floor manager, she embraced the challenge wholeheartedly. She maintained her unwavering dedication, emphasizing that the location or nature of her work did not matter; she would always stand firmly behind her choices and give her all to achieve her ambitions.
Poker Director at Banco Casino
A Poker Director, also known as a Tournament Director, is the individual responsible for overseeing a poker tournament from start to finish. This role involves a multitude of responsibilities and includes all aspects of organizing and managing a poker event.
In Banco Casino, Zuzana Mikulikova collaborates closely with Michal Borovsky, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, which is a fundamental aspect of Banco Casino's ethos. When I asked her about her daily routine, Zuzana emphasized the hands-on nature of her role during events, but manly the teamwork which is key for success.
Her responsibilities begin the moment she steps in, from setting up the tournament tables to providing instructions to floor managers. She oversees everything and manages every tournament taking place on any given day. Additionally, she dedicates considerable attention to the cash game area, ensuring a smooth gaming experience for players.
Zuzana's expertise, honed over years of experience, shines through in her decision-making processes, evident even to seasoned poker players. Her tasks include organizing table breaks, ensuring every player feels secure when changing seats, and managing player payouts, among other responsibilities. This insight provides just a glimpse into the extensive scope of her duties.
In the terms of administrative work, paperwork constitutes a significant portion of a Poker/Tournament Director's responsibilities. This aspect of the job demands considerable time and effort, particularly during events and in the post-event period. While managing local tournaments on regular weekdays is part of her routine, the intensity significantly escalates during major poker events, which Banco Casino organizes nearly bi-weekly throughout the year in Bratislava.
Zuzana's ubiquitous presence within Banco Casino is undeniable. It often seems as though she possesses an uncanny ability to be in multiple places at once, swiftly navigating from one poker room to another. Her unwavering dedication extends beyond her official working hours; she actively assists her team even outside the casino's operational hours, showcasing her commitment to the poker community and the collective success of Banco Casino.
Did You Know?
Zuzana Mikulikova's life is a blend of diverse experiences. Besides her poker career, she was a globe-trotting model and a freelance poker dealer, traveling worldwide. Despite her love for travel, she humorously mentions her now-disliked suitcase, symbolizing her constant journeys.
To maintain her well-being, Zuzana practices yoga, exercises regularly, and cherishes quality time with loved ones. These activities serve as her sanctuary, offering a balance to the demands of her profession. In the midst of her hectic schedule, she finds solace in these moments, ensuring she remains physically and mentally strong.
When it comes to measuring achievements in the poker industry, it's often easy to point to tournament victories or notable deep runs in prestigious events. However, when discussing the accomplishments of someone who is working in the industry, like Zuzana Mikulikova, the spotlight shifts to the events she orchestrates at Banco Casino. These events, like The Festival Series, Polish Poker Days, Tana Delle Tigri, Poker-SM Live, and the Winamax Poker Open, represent a significant chapter in her career.
The significance of these events goes beyond the tables and chips; they represent a culmination of meticulous planning, tireless effort, and unwavering dedication. Bringing these events to Bratislava wasn't a mere logistical feat; it was all about teamwork and great management skills.
The Winamax Poker Open holds a special place in Zuzana's heart, embodying the dedication and countless hours she poured into making it a reality. These events didn't just happen; they were brought to life through Banco Casino’s passion for poker and their unyielding commitment to providing players with an exceptional gaming experience. Zuzana was one of the main characters for this project. For every hurdle overcome and every moment of triumph, she expresses gratitude to every event that found its home in Banco Casino, particularly the Winamax Poker Open, a testament to her resilience and determination.
Women in Poker
Working in the poker environment is something where stress is something which often looks to be just behind the corner. Being a woman in a male-dominated environment takes a lot of self-confidence and powerful handling. Women need to be strong to be able to get even to the same level as men, which is in our opinion the key to this topic. The equality is still often farfetched, while the world is so much evolved nowadays. In the starting years of her great career so far, she was looking up to tournament directors such as Teresa Nousiainen, known for her work at the European Poker Tour and Kings of Tallinn, which only helped her in her quest for success.
Having a disadvantage physically compared to men, bringing the power women need to show to be treated the same as men is tremendous. The same counts for female poker players, it takes so much guts to sit at the tables and remain focused on their goal to succeed. In that sense and following Zuzana, there is much more respect to be given to female players as they just need to give more effort to reach the same goals as men. It automatically results in more respect in the end for their accomplishments.
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