POKER LIFESTYLE

Meet Jennifer Solomon, Paying It Forward for Women in Poker

Meet Jennifer Solomon, a 40-year-old poker player from North Carolina. She started playing poker about 7-8 years ago and along the way discovered Poker League of Nations (PLON). She has always been a big fan of poker since Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event in 2003. I met her at South Point in a nightly tournament during the 2022 WSOP. My initial impression of her when I sat at the table was to tread carefully because she gave me the vibe that she might have some experience in poker tournaments. She played a tight game and confused me with her bet sizes and seemed to be doing well but eventually she ran into some bad luck and was knocked out. Later that night as I walked out, I saw her playing a slot machine and teased her for throwing money down the drain. We kept talking, I learned that she has some interest in other poker variants such as Omaha and that she had played some Omaha 8. As our conversation continued, she shared with me that she was in Vegas because she had won an online freeroll that was hosted by PLON.

Poker League of Nations was founded in 2017. They work to proactively increase the participation of women in poker worldwide to grow open player fields. PLON engages women to participate more in open events. They also assist in introducing women to online poker who have never played online. PLON accomplishes this through tournament staking which is supported by their Founder’s fund. Through their network of contacts and PLON ambassadors they host many ladies only events around the world in partnership with many industry leading poker tours.

Jennifer says she is not much of an online player but had found herself trying it out. She joined the online satellite that PLON was hosting and ended up coming in third place. The prize included a buy-in to the 2022 WSOP Event #66 Mini Main Event and a coaching session with Tristan Wade, a poker coach with Pokercoaching.com. The PLON freeroll was sponsored by Lena Evans, Kristen Bicknell Foxen, Lara Eisenberg, Phil Hellmuth, Maria Ho, Victoria Livschitz, and Chris Moneymaker.

Cardplayer Lifestyle is all about poker storytelling, and I wanted to get to know Jennifer’s poker story a little better. I asked her a battery of questions, which she was kind enough to answer below.

How did you first learn about poker?

I really got interested back in 2003 when Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event, and then around that same time is when they would have Poker After Dark. Bravo would have the poker series on, Celebrity Poker Night. All of that, I found it so interesting. I loved every aspect of it. The adrenaline rush when you are running a bluff, or you have an amazing hand, and you are waiting to see if they are going to pay you out. It did take me a while after I really became interested in it to start playing it for myself. The period between when I finished college and started playing it was probably 10 years maybe more. I have gotten into poker so much, that, I am definitely a serious recreational player.

Jennifer Solomon

How did you first find out about Poker League of Nations?

I played in a little family home game back in New York when I lived there. Several of the women that I played with there knew about it. It started going around as a Facebook group that you can be invited into, so I was invited into it by one of my poker pals up there. I actually became more involved with it than they did. I have stayed in contact; I still go to the meetups and represent by wearing a PLON badge or whatever to let players know who I am representing when I play. The ones who introduced me to PLON are not really active anymore.

Jennifer Solomon

What is it like being a member of PLON?

Being a member is really awesome! Lena Evans is the founder, a philanthropist who is a really kind and outgoing person who becomes friends with everyone that she meets. It’s very unifying to know there is someone out there that is trying to help you get ahead in this predominately male field. It’s really awesome! Every time they have a meetup in Vegas or all over the nation where there are smaller PLON groups, where they have home games or staking leagues, it’s really gratifying.

You go out to Vegas, and I don’t know anyone living in Vegas, but I sit down at a table and my dealer, I know her from PLON! Its really cool! While I was out there for Ladies week, leading up to the mini-main event. We had the PLON women’s tournament at Resorts World, they have a meetup brunch before the tournament, and everyone gets to know each other. When you get to the tables, its like a friendly home game. They take it a little but more seriously than that because we are playing for some serious money, but it takes out a lot of the hostility that you see sometimes at other poker tournaments.

What was like winning the PLON freeroll?

I won a seat into the mini-main event at the 2022 WSOP. They gave us $1,000 cash and asked us to send a receipt of our buy-in and we agreed to pay the taxes on our winnings and then split any profit 50/50 with PLON to help invest in future players and promoting more women in poker. I have no problem with that; it’s freerolled, it’s a $1,000 entry. Any cash in that would be a really good cash. When 50% goes to a good cause, I think it’s a good cause. I think helping more women succeed in a field where they are the minority is really awesome.

Jennifer Solomon WSOP receipt

How did you feel about women’s presence while you were out in Vegas?

I don’t know how accurate my assessment can be with me having been out there during Ladies week. Because there were more women out there getting ready to play the WSOP Ladies Event, every day of that week there was a different Ladies event. I actually cashed at the Aria in their Ladies event. In that sense, I was playing with a lot of women. As far as the mix gender tournaments that I played, I played a lot of the nightly tournaments. I like the midnight madness at MGM Grand. I played over at South Point and at the World Series. In those mix gender events it was about the same as what I would normally see. One or two women per table, I think that is about average of what I usually notice. There are a few times that I would see more than that.

What would you say to another woman who might be interested in trying out poker but isn’t sure?

I would tell her to try a game or two. Sit down at a table, maybe something like $2/$4 limit where you can’t really lose more than $100 and it takes you like 10 hours to do that. Just so she gets a feel for the game. If she likes that rush, then maybe explore no limit. I actually did this with a friend of mine who really liked playing online. They wanted to learn about the game. They were timid about it and had never done any in person gambling. They were not certain about the betting process, the order of play, any of it.

I literally walked them through the game online and then I took them to Atlantic City with me and we sat down at a limit Hold ’Em table. I absolutely hate limit but to me it’s a safe way to keep my friend from losing a lot of money. We sat down and they won. They actually told me after that they would feel comfortable with $1/$2 no limit. I think it’s a good learning curve to get people into poker.

Did you learn anything new about poker during this last trip?

I know I did but it’s one of those things that don’t come up until you have to use them at the table. I think I did improve on my bluffing skills. I am not usually a big bluffer, and I don’t bluff against women. You can’t bluff a woman, I don’t know why, but I just never try to bluff women.

With men, a lot of time there will be guys at a table and think, “I am going to see what I can get away with, with her.” I will get in that same mindset and think to myself, “I am going to see what I can get away with, with him.” I will bluff really really hard, and I did that a few times pretty heavy. As matter a fact I even looked one guy square in the eye and smirked as I bluffed him. He thought about it for a second and folded because he thought that smirk meant “I got you bud”. I improved on that as the week went along. It’s one of those things that I have not really worked on much in the past and I think I did well with it this time.

Jennifer Solomon chip stack

What do you hope to get out of the coaching session that you won?

The main thing that I want to talk about in my coaching session is betting. I feel like I am hard to read; I think I have done a good job on that. I am pretty steady, calm, and cool. I don’t think I really go on tilt. I think my biggest weakness is not really knowing proper betting. So that is what I would like to work on with Tristan.

What are your thoughts about guys who join ladies-only tournaments?

I honestly don’t mind. The fact is that men come into these events and kind of know what they are getting into. Women are going to target them as soon as they sit down. Second of all they are increasing the prize pool. You can’t really be mad when there is money going into the prize pool. I personally think the more entrants there are the more money you can get. As far as PLON events, it’s usually more of a social thing. So, with that there are certain times where it really doesn’t matter if the men want to join in and then there are other times when we just wanted this for our own encouragement, safety zone, women getting to know other women poker players.

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Brian Bizzy Gutierrez
Written By.

Brian “Bizzy” Gutierrez

Bizzy has tried to live life through traditional forms of employment. He started out as a cook, eventually went to school, and completed a degree in Information Security. In addition to being a cardplayer he is also a gamer, movie geek, comic collector, and traveler. Bizzy met his wife on one of many travels and […]

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