Maureen Bloechlinger is heading to Las Vegas for a high-roller combo of NAPT and F1 action after a Sunday satellite session on PokerStars saw her bag a $20k Vegas Gold Pass.
She’s helped countless other women get into poker and has a huge passion for the game herself, so it seems fitting that she’s now got the chance to test her skills on one of the biggest stages of them all.
The Vegas Gold Pass will see her play in the $5,300 NAPT Las Vegas High Roller, before getting VIP access to the F1 Grand Prix the following Sunday. If you think that sounds exciting, wait until you hear Bloechlinger talk about it.
PokerOrg: Congratulations on winning a Vegas Gold Pass package to the NAPT Las Vegas, Maureen. Talk us through how it happened.
Maureen Bloechlinger: It’s kind of a long story. Last Sunday, I started playing the $11 satellites on PokerStars. It was a really rough day. Then I tried one last satellite and got through to the $109. I usually play the Women’s Sunday, so I had that up, and I also had some smaller games up. The night was wearing on, I’m like busting here, there, and then I’m still left in the $109. There were over 900 players, and all of a sudden it’s down to like 90, and it’s starting to get real.
At one point, I was 57 out of 59 left, and I was prepared to bust. Then, all of a sudden, we’re in the money, the screen starts raining poker chips, and my husband starts getting interested. That was for a Bronze seat, which was another $109 ticket. Then, all of a sudden, people start dropping like flies, and everyone’s so short. I mean, I think the chip leader had about 22 big blinds. I had like six at one point. It was insane. And then all of a sudden I’m like, oh my god, we’re two people off of the silver package.
That must have been exciting.
MB: Right, but then I really wanted the gold, which was top eight. 9-12 got the silver. I was kind of card-dead and wound up having like six big blinds. I got ace-king, went all-in, and my screen froze. I didn’t know if I was in or out. To this day, I don’t know what someone called me with because I came back to a bigger stack, I didn’t even get to see the hand.
I’m there in my pyjamas, you know, no makeup on, hair all over the place. All of a sudden, we finished a hand, and boom, more confetti, more chips, and I was at the final table. So basically, we’re nine people and eight get a gold package. I’m sitting with about six big blinds. And the player to my right had .84 of a big blind. Then there was a crazy hand involving four people when the short stack was in the big blind. One of the bigger stacks ended up busting, and the player with .84 of a blind won a package. I don’t know what came over the other players, but yeah, they wanted to play this hand. And it got played and the tables turned.
And at that point, you didn’t even know you’d won the full Vegas Gold Pass worth $20k?
MB: I didn’t know it was the full F1 package until I got a phone call from someone sweating me. That’s when it really sank in. I just couldn’t believe it. And trust me, I got no sleep that night. Also, I knew there was an NAPT women’s event on November 5, and I told my husband that I’m flying early, whether you’re coming or not, I’m playing that women’s event.
My husband’s a big F1 fan, and we checked the tickets, and these are super VIP tickets, something you can’t really buy. I don’t even have words to describe it.
It’s one of those things where you just don’t think it’ll happen to you, and spinning up from $11 to $20k is amazing. What would you say you’re most excited for in Vegas?
MB: I think I’m the most excited about the F1 part. It’s an experience that you can’t buy. So it’s like ultimate VIP, and I’m a little bit spoiled. I never played an NAPT, so that will be a really cool experience, but the F1 just makes it so special. It’s crazy.
You’ve been supporting women in poker for the past few years. How did that get started?
MB: I started playing poker in Switzerland, and I found out they actually had specific tournaments just for women. One of the first I ever went to was EPT Malta, which doesn’t exist anymore. I played that because it had a women’s event, and for me at the time, it was a very affordable buy-in. I met some women who I’m still friends with today, including June Jenkins and Elizabeth Bennett. And I saw this great group of women who had the same passion for poker as me. I’m like, this is amazing.
After that, I was playing the WSOP, and a lot of women came up to me and said they didn’t know you could play poker abroad. That’s how I created my Globetrotting Poker Women group because the girls wanted to know where they could play outside of the States and wanted to keep in touch and get roommates for trips.
What else can people expect to find in the group?
MB: There’s a calendar where I list all the upcoming women’s events around the world. Then I did some research and looked at the top 100 women in the world. It’s my passion. I want to support the operators, casinos, and organizations who are putting on these events, trying to get more women into the game.
We’ve seen you around for years now, and it’s been cool to watch your progression. Aside from winning at the NAPT, what are your plans for the future?
MB: I was actually supposed to be in Cape Town, South Africa. Now that I’ve won the NAPT package, Cape Town will have to wait until 2024. Hopefully, now that I have a year to plan, I can get some others to join me. Some women have already shown interest. So that’s like a long-term trip next November.
For the near term, if I’m on a good run or there’s a really good tournament, I might hang out in Vegas after the NAPT. My other plan is EPT Prague, because again, there’s a women’s event. And let me just say it’s back, right? So for a couple of years at EPT Prague, there hasn’t been a women’s event. I saw it on the schedule, and I thought, I’ve got to make that one. I’m looking into going to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I like to chase flags. I’m up to 17 or 18 on Hendon Mob. Hopefully, I can check off another four or five next year.
Good luck, and we’ll see you in Las Vegas!
You can watch the full interview with Maureen Bloechlinger below. The NAPT Las Vegas plays out at Resorts World, November 4-12.