Cat ‘Catrific’ Valdes Shows Her Poker Claws

5 years ago
Cat ‘Catrific’ Valdes Shows Her Poker Claws
05 Feb

While every poker player worth their salt is seemingly blogging and vlogging and podcasting about cryptocurrency, there’s a woman out there who mixes her poker skills with tales about cheating, getting drunk for the first time and why her neighbours hate her!

Los Angeles’ latest poker winner Cat ‘Catrific’ Valdes describes herself as a “huge nerd and a huge fan of strategy games” and has spent the last decade of her 28 years in California, the most recent seven of those making her living from vlogging on YouTube, “a cool job that allows me a lot of flexibility in my life, and the opportunity to meet tons of people I’d never meet otherwise” she says happily.

Poker made an early appearance in the brown-eyed beauty’s life when she was in elementary school, Cat explaining, “My Abuelo and Abuela (that’s grandparents to the non-Spanish speakers among us) taught me how to play 5 card stud and that was my first intro to poker”, but it wasn’t until very recently that she started taking the game seriously.

“Last October (2017) I entered my first tournament at my best friend’s house and thought I would try taking a stab at tournament style play which I had never done before”, she relates, adding that “a couple weeks later in November I entered my first tournament at the Bicycle Casino in LA (home of Live at the Bike, the first and only cash game poker captured specifically for the web). I ended up making final table and chopping with 5 players left and I won about $500. I was SO surprised and thought I just had to be lucky.”

Since then it’s been a steady diet of Bike events with the occasional Hawaiian Gardens tournament thrown in, Cat stating that “this past month (January) I have cashed at 8 tournaments and final tabled 6” – and incredible record for anyone at any level of play.

With Vanessa Rousso as her favourite female poker pro - “I first started watching her when she was on Big Brother Season 17, “and recently become a fan of her as a poker player”, says Cat – supporting the idea that poker players getting airtime anywhere is good for the game.

Of course, women in poker has always been a subject of great contention in itself, Cat Valdes’ smouldering good looks making her an obvious ‘target’ at the tables, but this is one woman who knows how to take care of herself, stating:

“If they’re too flirty I am just very direct with them and tell them to stop and that it makes me uncomfortable, which usually shuts them up pretty quickly.”  

She admits that she is more than happy to take advantage of the fact that “men play poker against women very differently” telling me:

“I like to think of it as an edge. If my opponent is either underestimating me, or is afraid of me because they don’t know how I play - I can use both of these things to my advantage. I haven’t been treated too horribly at the tables… the worst thing is when men try to mansplain the game to me right after I’ve won a pot!”

Away from the poker tables, as a ‘YouTuber’, the next obvious step would seem to be to create a podcast, and that’s exactly what Cat did:

“2 years ago I got into podcasting with my close friend Ingrid Nilsen, when she approached me and asked if I wanted to do one with her. I was stoked about it because I can just talk forever, especially with her, and I really have enjoyed doing it. It’s probably my favorite thing I do in regards to work.”

Whether that will ever translate into a poker-focused show or not is for the future, although this recent poll she started on Twitter might produce a quicker-than-expected answer, but the months and years ahead will almost certainly see Cat take her game to new levels, the Atlanta-born woman explaining:

“I have yet to play a tournament where the buy-in is over $300 and that’s what I want to do this summer, and hopefully cash. I also want to start learning more poker math - right now I mostly use mental game/reading people and that’s taken me a long way in a short amount of time.”

A long way still to go, then, but if this past weekend is anything to go by, Cat has a good shout:

“My biggest win at poker was the tournament this weekend for $6,000 when I got first place at Hawaiian Gardens. There were over 300 entries and there was about $25k guaranteed for the night.” 

And that’s a win that puts poker’s new Cat amongst the regular poker pigeons…

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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