Lauren Roberts talks to Paul Phua Poker about her high-stakes cash poker, surviving cancer and learning to trust her instincts.
Lauren Roberts has learnt to rely her instincts while negotiating the largely male domain of high-stakes cash poker. In her former life, as a hedge-fund manager, she was used to playing with large sums, but was rigorously analytical with her clients’ money. It was her rebirth as a poker player playing with her own bankroll that taught her to listen to, and trust, her inner voice.
“It turns out in business and in poker, if l have this strong intuition, l’m always right,” she tells Paul Phua Poker. “And l also have a pretty good mathematical ability. So l can recall a lot of hands and l’m pretty good with my hand equities and l’m able to sort of put people decently on ranges and that sort of stuff. So l think probably the combination of those two things, and they’re kind of yin and yang, you know, make me a decent poker player.”
Lauren Roberts on Beating Cancer
Roberts grew up in a gambling family (“I’ve been to every racetrack on the East Coast, you could say it’s in my blood,” she says). She learnt to play 5-card and 7-card stud at home at the kitchen table, but it was only in the mid-noughties, after a serious brush with death, that she took up the game seriously.
“l got ill. I got cancer about nine years ago and l had about 16 surgeries in three years and l was not the happiest camper,” says Roberts. “I didn’t wanna go out of the house. And so l started playing online and fell in love with the game. And so that’s how l started playing and my dad actually was the one that brought me into the first casino at Commerce, because l was terrified, and taught me about stringing and all these other things and could answer questions like, ‘Dad, what’s a straddle?’ And he said, ‘It’s just a faster way to lose your money.’ So, you know, l had that wisdom, and l think he’s proud of how much l’ve accomplished at this point now.”
Lauren Roberts on High-stakes Cash
While Roberts has enjoyed some success on the tournament circuit, live high-stakes cash is her bread and butter and the work she’s put into honing her reading instincts has been paying off, literally.
“I’ve really worked on my reading and a player l play with fairly often, l picked up just a fantastic read on him, and so twice in one week l called down all-in shoves by him – maybe it was a $400,000 pot each time – with ace-high. And won both! So that was a particularly happy moment. I double and triple-checked that read and l was pretty sure that it was good and l think he figured it out because he subsequently got rid of it.
“But at any rate, you know, those are the times when you take some confidence to be able to do that and l really felt good about what l was doing.”