Women of Poker: Interview with Katie Stone from The Grindettes

PokerPinups had the pleasure of chatting with Katie Stone, pro poker player and founder member of The Grindettes, a team of four ladies who are flying the flag for all women of poker. Women of poker.

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What made you join up with the other ladies to form The Grindettes and do you ever play competitively against each other?

I was playing online full time and was a little unhappy with the misconceptions so many people had about female poker players. Most of the women who were well known in poker were known for their on-camera capabilities or how they looked in a bikini while posing awkwardly on top of a poker table, not their online ROI or recent Sunday scores. I personally knew of many women who were playing live and online and were crushing, but no one knew who they were or really cared for that matter to find out about them. So I decided that the successful and profitable online and live female grinders needed a face; the Grindettes were formed in early 2011.The four of us don’t really play against each other on purpose, but sometimes you do get seated at the same table as your friends. When you are playing online, it really doesn’t matter but when playing live this can be a lot of fun; someone to talk to and ease the boredom of live poker! We definitely do discuss hands together though, as we all have different strengths so it’s really nice to be able to call on your friends for advice on different situations. Women of poker.

Has your background in chess helped you as a poker player and do you see similarities in the two games?

For sure. All those tactics puzzles, chess lessons and tournaments I played as a kid have been very helpful in poker. I can see pretty deeply and I think I calculate well. My memory is also quite good which helps too. I think there are 3 main areas where chess and poker are similar and why chess players make good poker players: 1) I think that chess teaches you how to think and analyze in a way most other games do not. Chess players have an edge over other poker players because they have been analyzing, studying and breaking down positions a lot longer than most poker players. 2) Chess players are very good at accessing positions objectively and are conditioned to not be emotionally tied to their mistakes. In poker, being emotionally tied to your mistakes is called tilt which can induce poor play and is often a poker player’s biggest downfall. 3) Chess players are used to concentrating and being focused for long periods of time. Standard amount of time at the chess board in a tournament in the US is 4-6 hours per game with 2-3 games per day. Studying chess also requires a great deal of long-term attention. This is very helpful when you are on the 11th hour of a live poker tournament! Women of poker.

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far as a poker player and what ambitions to you still want to fulfil?

I recently reached the $250k badge for online winnings on Pocket Fives, which is kinda cool. It doesn’t reflect profit obviously, but it is still nice to see being that I so clearly remember the first time I saw those accolades online and thinking they were a cool thing to hit. Another neat thing recently that has me looking at my career in a circular kind of way…back when I was learning how to play online poker in 2009 I railed a ton, watching my friends so that I could ask them questions as well as other well known online players who were winning a lot. When I moved to Mexico after the 2012 WSOP, one of the guys who lived in my building was one of the players I had railed a bunch back then. We have become good friends and talked a lot of poker since then and now he is backing/coaching me. I never thought I would meet him much less become good friends with him much less begin to be backed and coached by him. So that’s a pretty cool travel route my career has taken! Women of poker.

As far as career goals in poker…it’s tough to say. I know that I need to continue to study and play as much as possible, and really that is my only focus right now. Every poker player dreams of that big score either online or live, and of course it would be wonderful to win something like that. But I just focus on volume, improving the quality of my play and figuring out ways to play better than/exploit my opponents; the results will follow. Women of poker.

If you could change one thing about live tournament poker to improve the game, what would it be? women of poker

Ha ha, I have 2 suggestions! One, I would add hand sanitizer stations to every poker table!! I’m not kidding! The chips and tables in casinos and at poker tournaments are so germ-infested and anytime I have played live poker for long stretches I constantly have some sort of nagging flu-like and cold-like symptoms. I think I took Day-Quil every day last summer for a month straight in Vegas! It’s terrible. I also wish casinos would wash their chips more often and take more care with the cleanliness of the poker tables.

Second, JUICING STATIONS! Every large scale poker tournament should have a juicing/smoothie booth!!! I hate eating heavy meals in general but they are the kiss of death for tournament poker players. Fruits and veggies are the way to go! My friend Kevin Thurman who is Poker Stars Team Online Pro ‘WizardofAhhs’ is a full-time juicer, and has been drinking his fruits and veggies for a while. He’s been a huge help in educating me on ways to eat better and seeing the difference it makes when your body and mind are happy!

Which poker players do you look up to and what’s the best poker advice you’ve ever been given?

I look up to a lot of poker players mainly because I think everyone is better than I am! I remember early on being a huge fan of Jen Harman and Vanessa Selbst. Not just because they are female, but because I see a lot in them that I like. I am actually friends with Vanessa now so it’s pretty awesome to be able hop on Skype and ask questions/talk poker with one of the people in your profession you respect and look up to the most. I also have a ton of respect for the online grinders who have been doing so well for so long. The online game changes a lot and these players have had to adapt and perfect their game so much over the years. Guys like cal42688 (Calvin Anderson), Illini213 (Steve Barshak), jdpc27 (Jason Wheeler), oncommand (Brandon Meyers) have been crushing for years and these are the guys I search for on Stars and FTP on a regular basis to watch them play and hopefully pick up on stuff they do.

Poker advice is a tricky thing. There is not one way to play a hand or win at poker. So advice is really relative to the game you are playing, the stakes and the player it’s coming from. I think that the best advice I have ever gotten isn’t something specific like how to play a hand or how to exploit a certain type of opponent, but more so about myself as a player and how I can improve. My ex boy friend is a well known chess Grand Master and has a lot of experience playing chess at the highest levels of the game. He has been the biggest influence on my career and his encouragement is why I continued with poker. Whenever I would get down on myself or frustrated about playing poorly or being outplayed or losing, he would always tell me “don’t worry, you will learn and you will get better” and that has always stuck with me. Even if I don’t ‘get’ something now, I know that I will at some point as long as I keep studying and playing. It’s reassuring and frustrating at the same time, but it is also what keeps me going…knowing that I can and will continue to improve and that there is still so much out there I have yet to discover about poker.

Do you think it is tougher to make it as a woman pro player?

I think that the lifestyle needed to be a professional player is tough for women, simply because of society’s traditional expectations of women, which in turn can make you question your profession choice. Women also tend to have children, so time-wise this can make it extremely difficult as well. I think that poker is kind of a selfish game, and in a way you become a little bit more selfish with your time and energy simply because of the commitment that is necessary in becoming a good player. I guess you could say it’s just priorities and being focused on your career, but women in our society are kind of expected to be the care-givers and when you don’t fulfill that role, sometimes people are disapproving of you and your career choice.

What top three tips would you give to women starting out in poker? Women of poker

I would definitely want anyone new in poker to understand what their goals are and how much they want to achieve and realizing the time and effort you will need to get there. Having a good support system of family and friends is crucial. When I first started in poker in 2004, I did not have the right people around me and I quit in 2006. When I started playing again in 2008 I had the right support system and the right people and it made all the difference.

I would also suggest playing online as much as possible and watching other good players play online. This is the best and fastest way to improve. Also subscribe to a training site and watch every single video they have on the games you want to improve in.


Thanks so much for chatting with PokerPinups today Katie and all the best of luck to you and The Grindettes.


women of poker,katie stone,poker pinups

Katie Stone

The Grindettes is made up of four ladies, alongside Katie there is Jamie Kerstetter, Katie Dozier and Jennifer Shahade. For information about The Grindettes visit their website.


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