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Monday, October 24, 2005

Women in casinos

In 2002, Liebert made history as the first woman to win a poker tournament offering a million-dollar top prize at the first PartyPoker Million, a tournament held on a ship that cruised the Mexican Riviera.

"People are playing online everywhere and I'm not aware of the government going after people," she said. Everyone's doing it and it seems like it's pretty well accepted at this point."

Online means more competition at casino tournaments but also means bigger prize pools, Liebert said.

"You still have to beat the people at your table but it's better because there's more money in the pot," she said. "It means you don't have to play tournaments as often to make money."

Liebert, who has residences in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, said she anticipates a day when poker pros are invited to sponsor other products besides poker sites.

"It's very popular on TV and people are treating poker players like celebrities," said Liebert, whose likeness will soon appear alongside other pros on a set of trading cards. "People are starting to come up to me asking for my autograph. Even at the airport."

Another local who has capitalized on the poker craze is Brad Daugherty, a host for EmpirePoker.com. Daugherty, the 1991 World Series of Poker champ, was that tournament's first million-dollar winner. He now travels the country playing major tournaments.

As part of his duties for the site, Daugherty coaches players during online sessions and answers questions.

"People learn to play so well and so quickly online," he said. "In one year you can learn what it took me 10 years to learn. You can play three games at the same time and play a lot more hands per hour. The learning curve has been cut way down."