Nancy Birnbaum: “I Love Being the Only Woman at the Table”


If the term “live grinder” ever made sense, it sure fits perfectly on Nancy “Trouble” Birnbaum. The pokerpro, who recently moved to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, spends most of the year traveling the WSOP Circuit. She is the only woman to win three Circuit Rings, and she has more than 400k in live tournament earning over the years.

PokerWomenNews caught up with the always busy Birnbaum, who’s heading to Palm Beach Kennel Club to play a WSOP Circuit event, to hear about her summer at the WSOP.

How many years have you played at the WSOP?
I’ve been playing at WSOP since 2006 for a total of eight years.

Why did you decide to play the WSOP this year?
It’s the biggest and most prestigious event of the year.

What expectations did you have at the start of the series? And were they fulfilled?
I really thought I was going to final table this year and have a shot at a bracelet. Luckily there is always next year! I went deep in a few events and cashed in the Little One Drop.

How many events did you play and how did you run?
I played roughly 20 events and went deep in the PLO $1500 and made day 3 of the Main Event.

Did you play the Ladies Event? And what’s your view on women-only tournaments?
Yes, after busting the Monster Stack I played the Ladies Event and was chip leader most of day 1. Unfortunately I made a few calls, that I’m not too happy about. Even though my reads were right, I called where I knew, I was beat. I play the Ladies Events to support women in poker. I would love to see more women play the game.

Thinking back at the WSOP, is there a special hand you recall – and can you tell us about it?
Actually there are two hands. In day 2 of the Main Event I played king-jack under the gun versus Erik Seidel. When he check-raised me, I should’ve folded top pair to his set of tens on a K102 board, because I knew, I was beat.
On day 3 of the Main I was in the big blind and the small blind had just sat down at our table, when the following hand occurred. The button min-raises, the small blind flat calls, and I look down at 88 and shove my remaining 10 BB. The button folds and the small blind tanks and finally says “if I can’t win with this hand, I can’t win with any hand” and calls. He’s got QQ and I’m drawing dead on the turn as he hit a queen.

What was the most fun this summer?
To play the Main Event as it was the furthest I have ever gone, and I really thought I was going to cash this year.

Your are among the 4-5% women at the WSOP. How is it often to be the only woman at the table?
It happens pretty often, except for this year, when there was three other ladies at my tables during the Monster Stack. In fact I love being the only woman at the table and I feel like I have a huge advantage. I’m usually pretty aggressive and try to pick my spots. Everything is situational.

What are your plans for the rest of the year poker wise?
I’m going to play some WSOP Circuit events, WPT events and a lot of Florida poker.

This is part 3 of our series “My Summer at the WSOP”.
Check out our first two interviews with Jamie Kerstetter and Maggie Morris here.

If you liked this article and think the world needs more news about women in poker, please donate

Leave a Reply