Poker Legend Kara Scott shares her story with us here at RTR

Posted on by RTR Dennis

Kara Scott - Great Scott

Kara Scott is a well known face on the poker circuit. From hostessing the hugely popular High Stakes Poker to playing at the tables and represening PartyPoker.com she has become one of the most popular and engaging female poker players. Kara sat with us here at RakeTHeRake to share her tales from the high stakes poker world…

1) Could you begin by telling us what you’ve been up to recently? We saw you building some big stacks recently and chasing the big poker victory, how’s that been going?

It’s been a lot of fun to play in a few WPT events recently. Aside from the WSOP, I’d never played in any American events and was really interested to see what they were like. The fields at the Las Vegas WPTs tend to be very tough as so many pros live there and it’s like playing in their back yard! I certainly have learned a lot from playing in those tournaments although no big results as yet.

Kara Scott

2) Your seem to live an exciting jam packed life. How do fit everything in and how do you balance all the fun and all the work?

I’m really lucky that so many of the people who I work with at PartyPoker.com, the WPT and High Stakes Poker are friends of mine. I do tend to spend a lot of time on the road so it helps to enjoy what I’m doing and it’s always great to head to Europe to catch up with friends and colleagues there. I’m not sure that I’ve got the right work/life balance just yet as the past few months I think I’ve been on the road more than I’ve actually been at home. I can’t complain though. If that’s my biggest work problem then I think I’m a very lucky person!

3) Do you prefer working as a commentator or grinding at the tables? What are the best parts about both?

I really wouldn’t choose one over the other. What I like so much about being with PartyPoker.com is that there’s a great balance between both. I wouldn’t want to be a full time poker grinder. It’s simply not in my nature. Although I love poker, I don’t have a desire to be a full time pro. At the same time, I’d miss being able to play poker if I was only focussing on the TV side of work. The best thing is when I switch from one to the other – no matter what I’m doing, it feels like a break.
One of the best parts of playing poker for me is that I get to show up in a t-shirt and flat shoes, sit down at a table and really think about the game. While I’m being a commentator, there’s so much else going on that focussing on the poker play takes a back seat to TV production. That can be really nice though when I’ve had a bad run of tournaments. There’s no real ‘variance’ in being a poker presenter!

Kara Scott

4) We’ve been following the new episodes of High Stakes Poker recently and really enjoying them. Nice work! Can you tell us about the latest season? Did you enjoy working on it and speaking with the players?

High Stakes Poker is a real dream to work on. When they first spoke to me about taking the job, I was over the moon excited but also pretty nervous – it’s such an iconic poker show, after all. This year, it’s a good feeling to come into the filming days with a season already under my belt. I know the crew, the set up and being familiar with the production just makes the nerves melt away. I felt like I could relax into it and be myself a bit more and really enjoy the time there!

5) It seems you have a great way of getting players to open up and explain their thinking behind their plays. Do you have any moments that really stand out where you suddenly had an a-ha moment of your own from what the players were telling you?

Sometimes I wonder how many poker interviews I’ve done in the last 5 years – maybe hundreds? Interviewing players has pushed me to understand things at a better level. It wasn’t really one interview in particular that led to the ‘aha moment’ but hearing really good players say the same kinds of things over and over again is a good way to learn.

6) Having access to so many great poker minds must be a great assest. Who do you think you can learn the most from? Is there any particular players who’s styles you really like and would like to emanate yourself?

Being a great poker player doesn’t necessarily make you a great teacher. There are some people to whom poker seems to come so naturally, or perhaps they’re thinking about it at such an advanced level that they have difficulty articulating their thought processes to the masses. I’ve learned a lot from watching Cardrunners videos and I worked with one of their coaches, Bryan Pellegrino, on my heads up game before the NBC Heads Up Championship last year. That was a great experience for me and I enjoyed focussing on one part of my game.

7) Can you tell us about working with Norm on this season? Has it been a lot of fun?

He’s a very funny man! I’ve only met him once actually as we record our bits at different times but he was really lovely. I’m spending a month in Europe at the moment for work with PartyPoker.com and the World Poker Tour so I’m missing out on watching the new season of High Stakes. I’m looking forward to sitting down in front of the DVR and having my own HSP marathon when I get back.

Kara Scott

8) When not playing poker we believe you like to relax in Santa Barbara, is that right? What do you like to get up to when not working? Is it a case of turning off poker completely?

Life in Santa Barbara is pretty relaxed. I spend a lot of time catching up with friends and trying to make the most of the time that I’m at home. I’m often away for weeks at a time so I try to really focus on spending time with the people I miss while I’m home. I do a lot of walks on the beach with my dog or we spend a lot of time cooking and having people over to eat and play games or watch the sun set. It’s a great way to de-stress from the crazy travel schedule.

9) Congratulations also on your new goal, and actually achieving it, of playing more good will tournaments, such as the firefighters one recently. Can you tell us about this new resolution and what the motivation behind it was?

Poker is, by nature, a very selfish pursuit. As players, we’re all in the tournament or cash game to win money/chips from the other players. It’s a great way to indulge my competitive side but I think it’s fantastic when poker can also be used to help out causes. It’s nice to have that to balance it all out.
When I heard about the Santa Barbara Firefighters charity poker tournament, I had already decided that I wanted to get involved with something in my local community. The guys who I worked with there were great and the event itself went off really well. Poker PROductions (the company that produce High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark) contributed some great signed posters for prizes, the World Poker Tour sent us a huge box of stuff for the players and Cardrunners donated shirts for the final table.

10) Having been on tour now for a few years you must have some great stories. Could you share with us something amusing or interesting that we probably have never heard before?

What goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas 🙂

Kara Scott

11) Can you tell us about your involvement with PartyPoker.com too? How did that come about and how is it going?

Nearly two years ago I decided to stop hosting the European Poker Tour and move to the US where I would be working on High Stakes Poker. I wasn’t really seriously looking for a sponsor but when PartyPoker.com approached me, it seemed like such a perfect fit that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. The first TV tournament I played in England (years ago!) was the PartyPoker.com’s Women’s World Open. That was also my first cash and final table. Soon after that, I played their Sports Star Challenge event and won that. Ever since then, I’ve been friendly with many of the people at PartyPoker.com and had even worked with them as a TV host a few times. The idea of joining Mike Sexton as a brand ambassador made me really happy as I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and what he’s done in the poker industry. He’s certainly taught me a lot since then! We have a small but close player team and there is a real sense of community and approachability that I love about the company. I’ve been with PartyPoker.com officially for over a year now and have signed on for another year and am looking forward to the future!

12) Are you excited for the 2011 WSOP? Will you be playing a lot of events?

I haven’t really decided how many events to play this year at the WSOP but I’ll certainly be there to play a few including the Main. It’s always a really exciting time and I love being in Vegas over the summer. Its the only time of year that all of my poker friends (Canadian, American, European and everywhere else) are all in one place. It’s kind of like summer camp for poker players!

13) Would you have any advice you could share with players going to the WSOP for the first time? Also, anything in particular for female players that can help give them a bigger edge?

If you’re going to be playing in the WSOP for the first time, make sure you go down the day before and walk around a bit. It’ll help you find your bearings and then you won’t be rushing around lost right before you start playing. It’s such a huge event and it can be a bit overwhelming the first time so do what you need to do to make yourself comfortable. Bring a snack with you, even if it’s just a banana or something simple. The breaks are short and particularly if you’re male, the lines for the bathroom are really long!

Kara Scott

14) 22, Jack Ten suited, or Ace King?

– Ace King, definitely.

15) What does the future hold for Kara Scott?

It’s so hard to say. 10 years ago, even 5 years ago I never would have dreamed that I’d be where I am right now. I love what I do and am really lucky to be able to say that. Like everyone that plays poker, I’d love to have a title and win a lot more money but generally I just watch and see where life takes me.

16) Can you leave us with one piece of advice for both poker and life success?

Make sure you find a balance that suits you. Also, if you want to improve at something, don’t just think about it – put the work in!

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