I used to be solely a ring-game player, but after a few ventures into the tournament poker arena, I realized the vast difference between ring-game and tournament play. The overlay that poker tournaments offered prompted me to get serious about learning how to properly play them.
I had a great coach, bought a poker book and studied tournament play. I concentrated on seven-stud, limit hold 'em, and no-limit hold 'em. Within a few months I had won back-to-back titles in the ladies seven-card stud and hold 'em events at the 1998 Queens Poker Classic (which will never be broken, since there is no more Queens Poker Classic) and followed those successes with a second-place finish in one of the Queens' no-limit evening tourneys. I went on to win a seat in the $10,000 championship event at the 1998 WSOP and finished 36th out of a record-breaking field of 350. I was nine players shy of the money and very heartbroken to say the least but also pleased with myself for such an impressive finish for someone who only started playing no-limit six months earlier.
Last year I took third place in the big seven-card stud event at the Orleans and was thrilled to walk away with $10,000. I qualified for the TOC with a win at Oceans Eleven in 1999 and went on to play the TOC. I just qualified for the TOC 2000 in Reno at the Pot of Gold Tournament in February and am looking forward to playing in the TOC again this year.
Along with the major events I mentioned I have won several weekly events at the Orleans, Stratosphere, Frontier and have had my share of places and a lot of heartbreaking knockouts on the bubble. I was also instrumental in the writing of the strategy section in "MsPoker: Up Close & Personal" by Susie Isaacs, along with being the publisher and designer.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
E-mail Debbie Burkhead at POKERMS@aol.com.