Gold Mining: WSOP Ladies Champion Lara Eisenberg Finds Success After Sharpening Skills

October 20, 2021
Gold Mining: WSOP Ladies Champion Lara Eisenberg Finds Success After Sharpening Skills

Lara Eisenberg had a huge decision to make right out of the gate at the final table in the World Series of Poker $1,000 Ladies Championship last week.

She entered play lowest in chips out of the five players remaining. She raised the action with pocket Eights on the first hand.

Poker Hall of Famer JJ Liu then made a big three-bet. Both players were short on chips and Eisenberg faced a critical choice.

“In a vacuum, I should probably shove there but I just had a sense that she was never doing that with a pair worse than 8-8,” Eisenberg says, “which meant I was in pretty bad shape.”  

After some thought, the part-time poker player from Maryland folded. That proved to be the correct move as Liu held pocket Aces.

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Eisenberg’s instincts paid off and she staged a rally to win the tournament for her first WSOP bracelet and $115,694.

“It feels amazing,” Eisenberg says. “I try to only set process goals and not outcome goals that I have no real control over, like winning a bracelet. But it feels great to have won a major tournament and have that reward for putting in the work.”

Working on her game

The win at the WSOP seems like a culmination of some recent training for Eisenberg. She’d won a WSOP Circuit ring in 2019 and has scored a few cashes on the World Poker Tour.

But Eisenberg hoped for even more and began working with the BBZ Poker training site. She credits that, along with plenty of hours of her own study, to propelling her game even further.

Eisenberg encourages others to take advantage of the numerous poker coaching and training opportunities now available to players.

“When I started working with Jon ‘Apestyles’ Van Fleet a few years ago, that really marked a leap forward in my game,” she says. “He and the other BBZ coaches have incredible high-level content and a community of really studied players who are working hard to improve.

“I have also benefited a lot from Jonathan Little’s content. There is a ton of really good content available to players now at all sorts of different price points. It is an amazing time to be in the game.”

Skydiving and card playing

Lara Eisenberg during her time as a competitive skydiver.

The win at the WSOP adds quite a bullet point to Eisenberg’s poker career. She topped a field of 644 players, which produced a $573,160 prize pool.

“The women were so much fun to play with – friendly and supportive while still playing well,” she says of the event. “That really made it a joy. I had never really felt like it was a big deal to have a women-only tournament, but honestly it was fun to have a change of pace and not be the significant minority. I love playing with the guys too though.”

Eisenberg is competitive by nature and spent more than two decades jumping out of airplanes as a skydiver. As a cameraman filmed, she and several teammates created unique formations as they plummeted back to Earth. She made more than 4,500 jumps and was part of a world record formation featuring 400 skydivers.

“I was jumping for 24 years,” Eisenberg told “I wasn’t in it for a big adrenaline rush. You’re competing so it’s really more about having a competitive outlet.”

Eisenberg works as a radiologist, seven days on and seven days off. This allows plenty of time to travel for some card playing competition.

Closing out a win for a WSOP bracelet

Looking back on the Ladies Championship, another crucial moment stands out for Eisenberg beyond her big fold. With four players left, Diane Cooley raised with a short stack and Eisenberg three-bet with AK.

Chip leader Mikiyo Aoki then moved all in, leaving Eisenberg with a huge decision for her tournament life.

“The short stack folded and it put me in a tough ICM (independent chip model) spot since the short stack was much more likely to bust before me, which would let me ladder up a spot,” she says.

“I eventually decided to call because calling and winning would give me a strong chance to win the whole thing. Mikiyo is a great tough player and was definitely very ICM aware.”

Aoki showed A♥Q♦ and a King on the flop would give Eisenberg a massive pot, vaulting her into the chip lead. After the win, she now has $336,302 in live tournament winnings. Eisenberg is grateful for the entire experience including appearing on a live-streamed final table.

“I thought WSOP and PokerGo did an amazing job running and covering the tournament and the dealers were amazing,” she says.

More poker is ahead and Eisenberg now has a bit more cash to pursue her passion.

“While it’s my biggest poker score,” she says, “after paying taxes and shares to backers, most of the rest will stay in the poker bankroll as padding for future downswings.”

Lead image courtesy PokerGO

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