Poker Queen

6 Questions with Poker’s Jamie Kerstetter

Jamie Kerstetter 2021 World Series of Poker

Photo courtesy of WSOP/Caesars Entertainment

In a male-dominated sport, poker player and World Series of Poker commentator Jamie Kerstetter stands out on her own. The Rutgers University graduate left her job as an attorney to focus on poker full time. Now, she’s not only playing and cashing at WSOP events (although she’s still in pursuit of her first WSOP gold bracelet), but she’s also lending her voice to the broadcasts.
Who taught you to play poker? What do you like best about the game? I played with my brothers growing up and watched all the WSOP broadcasts on TV to learn the game. I love that poker involves enough skill to reward those who want to study and take it seriously, and enough luck to make it fun for those who don’t.
How can you tell if someone is bluffing? It’s hard to answer because individual players react to the discomfort of bluffing in a variety of ways. My best advice would be to slow down and observe how a player’s mannerisms change in the minute or so while you’re trying to make your decision. Someone who becomes more comfortable as time passes—their breathing slows, and they aren’t sitting rigidly—is more likely to have a good hand.
Why don’t more women play poker? The age-old question! There are likely many reasons including women more often being the primary caregiver for children, having less disposable income, societal pressure to be more risk averse and more responsible with money, feeling like an outsider as such a tiny minority in a poker room, and I don’t want to discount the possibility of genetic differences in our brains that could make risk less palatable for women. However, great strides have been made over the last decade to welcome women into the game. I wish more would give it a chance.
Are women better poker players? I don’t think women are inherently better players, but we may have an edge when it comes to reading people and participating in the social aspects of the game. What would it mean to you to win a WSOP bracelet? I’m going to have to bad beat hundreds, if not thousands, of people. What is more difficult, playing or doing commentary? I find commentary more difficult because you have to try to see the game through the eyes of multiple players at the table to better understand the motive behind their actions, and you have to pay attention to every street, every hand. I let my mind wander occasionally when playing, as days can be 12+ hours long, but I can’t do that for even a second in the booth without losing track of the action.
This year’s WSOP featured a full poker schedule with 88 live Gold Bracelet events at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and an additional 10 online games.

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