Gabriela Cotelici in an exclusive interview for Casino Life & Business Magazine on the life of female players in this tough live poker world in Romania
Gabriela, thank you for accepting to do this interview. Here is the first question:
When did you start poker? And why poker?
I started playing poker at the beginning of 2011 as a pastime with my friends. It seemed extremely challenging and I felt an irreversible attraction towards it. It is a game that requires concentration, patience, mathematical calculations, strategy, control of the emotions in front of your opponents and self-control when in a tilt during unpleasant moments. It is then when I started reading online everything I could about poker and playing Pokerstars with virtual chips, besides my regular games with friends. The greatest test is the live version, so I began going to the casino and playing cash, quite successfully. But the competition was even more provocative and I started doing tournaments – the first one was the Pokerfest in Ploiesti in the fall of 2011. From a number of almost 200 players, I placed myself on the 55th. I have never played cash ever since.
A few words about your achievements.
I cannot actually boast about my achievements, since I know I still have a lot to learn and gain experience. The best results were in winning the Pokerfest trophy in the Ladies’ Event in Mamaia, June 2013, and the 20th place of 300 at the Pokerfest in Bucharest, February of the same year.
How is the ambience for a woman playing in a tournament where most players are men?
It is pretty good, since most men are respectful. But on the other hand, there are men who have no clue about common sense and good manners, and who would rather see us back in the kitchen. Vanities are huge for all, though, both men and women alike.
Would an all-female tournament be easier?
No, it would not. When a woman plays against another one, vanity is there. I do not know why. It seems that they get along, but tension is in the air. But, of course, there are exceptions, like everywhere.
After your calculations, are you in the red or in the black?
In the red.
Should you choose between live or online, which one would be and why?
Live all the time. The feeling when playing live is unforgettable. It is a real challenge to notice reactions, to try to ‘read’ your opponents, the cards, to touch the chips when collecting them. The online version does not longer fascinate me, especially that it is a soft which can be controlled.
Are you into any other games?
How is it for a woman to make money and set herself apart in a world of men?
When I was making money at the cash tables, I was feeling how the men were sniffing. This is again vanity and a little misogyny. It is really hard to assert yourself as a woman. You must know your game very well and play it flawlessly – this is how you will be respected as a poker player, unlike men who think they are good at it, that poker is their game and woman are not welcome there (I repeat, some men, not all fit this description).
Is poker a hobby? What does your family think about it?
Poker is a hobby and my family and friends acknowledge my ‘guilty’ pleasure .
How does poker balance with your family life?
Pretty well, as I do not neglect my duties towards family and I do not exaggerate with my poker game either.
How much online poker play in one day?
I said earlier, I am no longer playing online.
A day in the life of Gabriela Cotelici.
First thing, I take care of my small company I own and my free time is divided between family and poker.
Do you have a definition for the life of a professional poker player in Romania? Is it a sweet, hard, bitter life?
It is rather difficult to pinpoint an answer. I am only an amateur player but I would go with bitter-sweet from your question.
Any piece of advice for the people wanting to take up on this sport, either women or men?
Before they sit at the gaming table, they should learn as much as possible. Let them read anything about poker, watch the video materials online, TV shows on poker, to learn strategies, to play online for virtual chips until they have enough experience. And last, but not least, they should have patience.
Any other hobbies?
Taking trips. I usually travel four times abroad every year.
What is your wish from this March?
As any tournament player, it is obvious that I wish for a good result in an important competition. A final table would be wonderful, but it is not easy. Romania has a very good field of players and some of them are already professionals.
Our publication, ‘Casino Life & Business Magazine’, honors women in the March issue. What is your opinion about it? Can you send a message to our readers?
As a woman, I am glad to have an entire issue dedicated to us, in such an influential publication. We can only feel respected and spoiled. For the readers of ‘Casino Life & Business Magazine’, I wish them to have a great springtime, to reach every goal they might have, no matter how hard it is.
Thank you and hope you get the big full!