Amanda Baker Talks Success in Ladies Events and Sexism in Poker
Given the large fields during the World Series of Poker, many players fly under the radar. Arguably one of those people is professional poker player Amanda Baker.
Baker has almost $500,000 in live career tournament earnings and is predominantly a cash game player. That's not the most impressive part about her career, though. Baker has had much success playing in the WSOP Ladies Championships over the last nine years, with six cashes and two final tables.
Friday was Day 2 of the 2019 WSOP Ladies Championship, and Baker came into the day with a healthy stack. She ran deep but ultimately fell just shy of making it to Day 3, finishing in 47th place for $2,824.
Here is a look at Baker's history in this event during her career:
Cash, Titles and Tournament Poker
As a cash game player, Baker is used to focusing on things like her hourly and consistently booking a profit across the majority of her sessions. When shifting to tournaments, Baker used to care about the titles, but now it's mostly about the money. "Earlier in my career, I would've said the title, but lately, poker just gets harder and harder. Money just came in easily in the beginning, but it's not really that way anymore, so these days the money means a lot to me.
"I think the best way to help other women is to tell men to get involved when they see it happening."
"The title is still important, but I've kind of shifted over now to 'money is important, having money is good, paying rent is important,'" laughed Baker.
Baker's most significant cash came in 2016 when she finished runner-up in the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship for $92,121. This came nine years after she won her first WSOP Circuit ring and $88,368 at Caesars Indiana.
When asked about her mindset while heads-up for a bracelet, Baker commented: "I thought I was gonna win, so it was a huge disappointment when I didn't. Things really weren't going well at all heads up. I never really lost faith until it was actually all done."
The cash game pro admitted that her tournament game had become rusty due to lack of playing. "Back in January, I started playing online tournaments again. So now I feel like my tournament game is much sharper than it was a year ago at this time. When you play online, you get the opportunity to play so many hands. I kinda started getting back into the tournament groove just from that."
Dealing with Sexism
It's clear that Baker is well in her comfort zone when playing ladies events, but the reasoning behind her love for these tournaments extends beyond skill level. "The environment is friendlier, and you don't have to deal with all the little sexist comments that men make. The really overt comments don't happen that often. But, all the small comments you hear all the time - it wears me down," admitted Baker.
Being a seasoned pro certainly helps Baker in situations where there may be a lot of misogyny, but it still helps to put one's self in situations where you're most comfortable. "It's just so nice and refreshing playing in ladies events and not having to deal with any of that. Just having a positive, fun environment. They're just a lot of fun."
"The title is still important, but I've kind of shifted over now to 'money is important, having money is good, paying rent is important.'"
In asking if Baker had any advice for women who are unsure about how to deal with sexism, she offers a unique take: "I really try much harder, instead of telling women how to deal with the sexism I try to tell men, 'hey, stand up for women when you see this happening at the table.'"
Baker prefers that men use their dominant voices at the table without waiting for women to say something. "I mean, women are gonna deal with it in various ways, and yes I want to help another woman deal with it, but I think the best way to help other women is to tell men to get involved when they see it happening."
Amanda Baker is no longer a force in the $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship. Follow the Live Updates to see who's still in as the event is down to 43 players.