Female Global Poker WSOP Champ On Women In Poker

There just aren’t enough women in poker, right? So when a woman grabs the brass ring, er, gold bracelet, it’s worthy of a pause to celebrate.

For instance, when Nahrain “2Rivers” Tamero won the 2020 World Series of Poker Event #31, ($1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em) for a $310,000 payday. And, of course, the coveted bracelet.

Image: Nahrain, wearing signature Global Poker apparel.

I had a chance to catch up with her on the phone while she was cooking and looking after her 5-year-old son, Royal. “Honestly, the money’s great, but the bracelet is more important. I got my first one before my husband got his first one!”

Nahrain got into poker just four years ago when her husband taught her how to play (“We actually played heads-up a bunch – I learned a lot from that.”). She started playing for Gold Coins on Global Poker and said that the looser play helped her adapt to wild (sometimes maniacal) opponents right through the WSOP.

Image: Nahrain with her husband, Martin and 5 year old son, Royal.

But one of the big improvements for her was the gender anonymity of online poker. She was just like everybody else: an avatar, a stack of chips, and two cards. “Playing live, I sometimes let people intimidate me – usually by not folding when I know I should. Online, that doesn’t happen.” She also said that maybe her emotions show a bit too much when she’s playing live – another component of online poker that levels the field.

I watched the heads-up final of the WSOP event she won. I don’t know if her opponent knew she was a woman, but her heads-up practice with her husband paid off – she picked off two very big bluffs, including one for all the marbles that ended the tournament. Actually, now that I write this, I suspect that the commentators didn’t know that 2Rivers is a woman, because I didn’t see Maria Ho leap out of her chair, arms skyward, when Nahrain won the final hand.

Nahrain told me that she’s already seeing more women be open about playing poker, and that she thinks Global is the perfect place to do it. “They’ve got all the different options. You can play for free with Gold Coins, cash, tournaments. I love the Sit’n’Gos.” I said, “Yeah, if you can find 30 minutes you can bang one out.” “30 minutes? You can bang out six! 500 chips and 3-minute levels, it goes quick. Sometimes I have the iPad on the kitchen counter while I’m cooking dinner, watching Royal, and playing SNGs.” She also loves the progressive bounty tournaments (“They finally got them”) and Jackpot Sit’n’Gos.

Nahrain emphasized the opportunity to play for free, for low stakes, and to get a lot of hands under your belt quickly. “There’s nothing like it – you see so many hands, so many scenarios, and if you pay attention, you can learn other people’s ranges. Of course, position matters, but you figure out what kinds of hands people like to play and once I began to understand that, everything clicked.”

I asked her what was her single biggest improvement. “Oh, that’s easy – tightening up pre-flop. I stopped playing junk hands and my results just immediately improved.”

Nahrain has also been inspired by other women she’s seen in the game. She is a big fan of the aforementioned Maria Ho (okay, so who isn’t?). She was also delighted to see Kristen Bicknell land a (third) bracelet in WSOP Event #44 ($2,500 NLHE 6-max). To that point, I was about to say that “just” two women won bracelets in open WSOP events this year. But to be fair, I remember well when the first woman won a bracelet in an open event at the WSOP – Barbara Enright took down the Pot Limit Hold’em event in 1996, less than 25 years ago.

We’ve certainly come a long way, when two women win open field events, and we just say, “Beast mode confirmed.”

I spoke to a friend and poker buddy of mine who I’ll call “Gwen” (not her real name), a woman who is a regular Global Poker grinder, alongside having a family and a real life job. Echoing Nahrain’s comments, Gwen said that she particularly appreciates Global for the range of options. “If I have a few minutes, I’ll hit a Sit’n’Go or two. But the family knows that on Sunday, I want to settle in and grind the majors.”

Gwen also noted Nahrain’s and Kristen’s bracelets and the success of women in the game. “It’s obvious that women can compete toe-to-toe with men in poker. Playing online allows us to be ourselves and not have to deal with the occasional bullying we get from men at live tables. I think Global Poker is the perfect place for women to play.”

Returning to my conversation with Nahrain, I asked her about her future in poker. “More bracelets.” Pretty straightforward. But in the meantime, she says she’s grinding the Jackpot SNGs at Global and studying hard to improve her game.

As I said at the top of this piece, there aren’t enough women in poker, but that’s changing. People such as Nahrain Tamero, Kristen Bicknell, Maria Ho, and my friend Gwen are here to stay.

I’m delighted – let’s make the tent bigger, wider, and fill it with poker players of every gender.

Lee Jones has been in the poker industry for over 30 years. He writes at the Global Poker blog, plays poker every chance he gets, and coaches poker. You can contact him at www.leejones.com.