With Kathy Liebertís nationally televised victory in Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes this March, she showed that indeed women can be the superior sex in poker.
Beating 11 other men and women in a show that aired on GSN, Liebert claimed a $100,000 first prize and lots of international recognition.
However, long before this attention-generating victory, Liebert was proving that she could play in the top echelon of poker. Liebert became the first woman ever to win a poker tournament with a buy-in of $5,000 or more and the first woman to win $1 million in tournament poker at the inaugural PartyPoker.com Million in 2002. Liebert, who has had two second place finishes at the WSOP and many other final table appearances, won her first WSOP bracelet this past year capturing the $1,500 Hold’em Shoot Out Event at the 2004 World Series and a $110,180 payday. Look for her on many televised final tables in 2005.
Ranked third for women on the all time money list at the World Series, Liebert, in her mid-thirties, is a no-nonsense, business-like professional. She could easily be mistaken for the executive she once was before “discarding” the corporate world for the world of cards.
Born in Tennessee, but raised on Long Island in New York, Liebert attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, graduating with a degree in business and finance. After graduation, she worked as a Business Analyst for Dun & Bradstreet. Becoming dissatisfied with the job, Kathy took the advice of her mother who encouraged her to do something she loved and the money would follow. During her time at D&B, she had played the stock market, doing well enough to quit her job and follow her mother’s advice.
Undecided about what precisely to do, Liebert decided to head to the West Coast, making a short stop in Las Vegas where she played casino poker for the first time. She’d learned the game when her parents invited friends into their home for occasional nickel-dime competitions.
Eventually, Liebert ended up in Colorado, attracted by the prospect of skiing in the Rockies. Central City and Blackhawk, communities in the mountains, had just legalized gambling, and Liebert went up to play $5-limit poker. She learned the rudiments of the game playing weekly, and was soon invited to become a “paid” player by the casinos to keep the action going on the poker tables. She further improved her game reading books by top pros.
A friend encouraged Liebert to try her hand at tournament poker, She headed for Las Vegas. Liebert surprised herself, finishing second in her first tournament, Omaha Hi-lo. A week later she entered her first Texas Holdem tournament—and took home another second. After one week of tournament poker she had won $34,000.
It was the beginning of her tournament career. She traveled to other major tournaments that year and had many victories. Consistently building her bankroll with good tournament performances, Liebert was able to buy houses in Las Vegas and California, and to create a lifestyle that fits her intensely individualistic personality. Liebert still invests in the stock market, which gives her a safety net from the swings of tournament poker.
Liebert travels the tournament trail playing the PartyPoker.com Million, the World Poker Tour and the WSOP. She has been ranked in Cardplayer Magazines’ Top 20 players, four times over the years (4th, 9th,12th and 18th) and is ranked third on the World Series’ list of top female money winners ($459,435). She also serves as poker coach to actor James Woods.
One of poker’s pioneering women players, Liebert continues to forge her own distinctive path, maintaining a calm demeanor despite winning great hands or suffering bad beats. Her classy businesslike personae serves her well in the poker world and she has earned the respect of her peers. Liebert is poised to be a role model for other women as they join the ranks of poker’s new female contingency. Long after women are regularly making the lists of top money earners, Kathy Liebert will still be remembered as the first female tournament poker millionaire.
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