Lucy stakes her all in Vegas

Lucy Rokach won $92,500 playing poker in Binion's Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas last week - "a very disappointing result," she says.

Ms Rokach, 47, from Stoke-on-Trent, is one of a new breed of women poker players who are challenging male domination. In three tournaments of the Poker World Series, she won $5,000, $68,000 and finally $19,500 in the climax, the world championship.

"It was my first try in the world championship. On the second day it was vicious, like a testosterone match. If I tried to win even a small pot, the men players would instantly bet their whole stack at me, like $40-45,000 in chips. It was as if they were saying 'I am more macho than you. Don't you dare to steal my ante'."

Ms Rokach played her usual ferocious betting and bluffing game. "I've never seen anyone so aggressive in moving their chips," a former world champion, Phil Hellmuth, complimented her at one point.

Her $19,500 was for reaching the last three tables (27 players) out of 295 competitors - far and away the best result of any British player in the world championship. This followed her spectacular $68,500 third place in a previous tournament, ahead of nearly 200 male players.

"I have never played in a tournament as gruelling as this world championship," Ms Rokach explained. "The intensity of concentration is relentless. There is simply no moment you can relax."

She was upset at a mistake she made on the third day of the championship. "I failed to bet my hand to win the pot outright. It allowed my opponent to improve his hand and take all my chips. I don't mind losing if I am outdrawn or catch bad cards, but I feel very upset if I play a hand badly."

The winner of the event and new world champion is Huck Seed, 27, from Montana, a Las Vegas pro. He won first prize of $1m to join the superstar tournament players of Las Vegas.

Any idea that women cannot compete with the hustlers and rustlers and cowboys who throng Binion's casino, old-fashioned heart of poker in Las Vegas, was exploded last week. "I don't need to be considered a woman at the table, I am simply a player," says Annie Duke, mother of a 13-month- old baby girl.

Ms Rokach,who plays mainly in Derby, Birmingham, Stoke and Nottingham, does not earn the astronomic sums of successful American women players.

"But there is a lot of money in the Midlands. In a good year I hope to make as much from poker as an engineer or a doctor or any other professional. I lost a lot of money when I learned to play about 10 years ago so I've got a lot to make up."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high