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When I Was A Donk: Jamie Kerstetter

by Diana Cox |  Published: Jan 07, 2015


Jamie KerstetterIn this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

New Jersey native Jamie Kerstetter earned her undergraduate degree from nearby Rutgers University and then earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. However, after a couple of years spent in the courtroom, she decided she’d rather be spending her time in the card room instead.

Kerstetter then spent 18 months in Mexico so that she could continue playing online poker. After online poker became licensed and regulated in New Jersey, Kerstetter moved back home to become a site representative for PartyPoker.

In her short career, Kerstetter has already racked up more than $420,000 in live tournament winnings, including appearances at ten World Series of Poker Circuit final tables.

Here, she explains her mindset as a beginning player.

“My biggest issue when I first started playing was that I used to take things way too personally. I would raise and some guy would three-bet me. The first time, I would just assume he had a hand. But the second time it happened, he must hate me or something. If he did it again, well, I guess maybe he just hates women. As a result, I would go out of my way to beat this guy and wind up giving him all of my chips.”

“You get raised a few times and you get self-conscious, thinking that everyone must know you are a new player and can’t handle it. It took me a while to realize that usually, nobody is picking on you. Sometimes they really are just making a lot of hands, or perhaps their position at the table puts them in spots to continually come over the top of you. In the short term, these things can make something appear a certain way, but it’s really just variance.”

“Even if they are picking on you, you can’t let it affect your game. That’s when you need to stay level-headed and calm, and try to make an adjustment. It’s funny, because I look back at that time and laugh because now I’m the bully. Now I get to make other players feel uncomfortable.”