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The Festival Series meets Mila Monroe- Co-founder of Herzdamen Club!

The Festival Series meets Mila Monroe- Co-founder of Herzdamen Club!

The Festival Series Rozvadov is coming up, and we are in full swing with preparations for our next big live event which takes place from May 31st, until June 9th. King's Casino in Rozvadov has been the poker capital for quite some years now here in Europe, and we are ecstatic to showcase our event on the big stage! Before we are heading towards the Czech Republic, we would firstly like to introduce to you to the Herzdamen Club, who is co-founded by Mila Monroe from Germany. Let's give her, and her poker community, a warm welcome!

In 2017, professional poker player Natalie Hof Ramos, who is married to Poker Pro Felipe Ramos, and her close friend Mila Monroe (known for her appearance at PokerStars Championship Cash Challenge including Kevin Hart, Daniel Negreanu, Faraz Jaka, Live Boeree, and Charlie Charrel) engaged in a conversation that highlighted a stark reality: there were only a few women participating in live poker events. Recognizing the need for change, they went on a mission. In 2019, they took the first steps toward creating a poker community exclusively for female players, driven by the desire to improve female representation in live poker and establish a platform facilitating easier connections among women in the industry.

Their philosophy is grounded in the belief that the best female poker players should not only study and learn together but also actively support and invest in one another's success. Contrary to conventional thinking, they believe that by empowering each other, players not only enhance their individual skills but also contribute to the growth and strength of the entire poker community. This ethos forms the cornerstone of the Herzdamen Club.

Natalie, Mila, and the entire Herzdamen Club exemplify the transformative power of collaboration and solidarity in challenging the status quo and to make poker more accessible for everyone. The work they put in to build a community for such a good and valid reason, can only be admired. We are positive that it aspires female players worldwide, offering them a supportive network and a platform for growth and friendships.

Melvin, PokerListings: Hi Mila! It's nice to meet you! I heard a lot of good things about the Herzdamen Club, and am really excited about this interview!

Mila: Hello! It's great to hear such nice feedback. When I met Nathalie Hof, we recognized the lack of women in live poker, and started talking to create something which would bring more women to the tables. When we started with a Telegram group, we just were with a couple ladies, and throughout time, we managed to increase those numbers up to around 50. Two years ago, we decided to make a non-profit company, which is called in Germany 'Verein', the Herzdamen Club. The idea behind that is, that we would want to have more women to the poker tables.

What we for example do is to have a call once a week, where we have guests with different backgrounds. Such as Jessica Teusl, Fedor Holz, Kirsten Foxen, Ana Marquez... people like that and we talk about poker. We also host 'study calls', where we have some teachers who help us to perfect our games.

Alongside this, we also have our own Herzdamen Festival in the Czech Republic, where we met. It's a mixed event, open for men and women, and last year we managed to set a world record, because we had 24% of the field being female, in a Main Event. We even made it to the news in Germany, and we were all very proud of this.

Melvin, The Festival: What do you think about poker tournaments just for women?

Mila: I think it's absolutely necessary. Why? Because for women it's like a step to step into the big men-dominated tournaments. So they have the first step, they can see how it feels at the table, and it always goes with a lower buy-in without risking to lose a lot. They can connect with other women from around the world, and after that, they can go into the bigger fields. And I think it's important for women to find a way into poker tournaments.

We've been at another event just recently, and there it was a complete disaster when it comes to the turn out as only ten women entered the tournament. And this is exactly the reason why I support The Festival Series so much, because the Ladies Event is on a Saturday night, with a lower buy-in, with nice levels, and not interfering with other events. And I think this is the way forward, to plan the tournament well. It's great, and I really love the idea of the Ladies Event inside The Festival.

Martin 'Franke' von Zweigbergk is a very nice guy which I just met a couple weeks back, and when I mentioned his name in our community, I received only good sounds and everyone thinks it's really cool to collaborate with The Festival Series.

Melvin: The Festival: What do you think about the entire tournament schedule for Rozvadov?

Mila: Open Face Chinese tournaments, a Crazy Pineapple tournament: Where do you have this kind of tournaments? I love the schedule! When I saw the schedule, I was like OMG, I've never see so many tournaments within one live poker series. This is really, really awesome. This is something that only Franke and his team manages to pull off, and no one else. I hope the German audience loves it also, and it becomes an event with a lot of German players overall. It's also a great thing that main goal is entertainment at The Festival Series, with side events such as the Hospitality events and Casino Games with a tournament structure.

Melvin, The Festival: Our Ladies Events have been fairly successful already! In Tallinn we had 32 entries, Bratislava 39, Malta 47, and 66 entries last year in Bratislava. What would be your guess for Rozvadov?

Mila: It all sounds very great, and if it's already 30, then it's already so nice, but I hope it will become more and more! We will stream on three Sundays in a row as part of a promotion, and will play the qualifiers on partypoker and invite all our girls for it. It's great to combine it with a separate tournament we host for the Herzdamen Club as well on these days. And I hope many women will find their way to Rozvadov eventually.

Melvin: The Festival: We also organise online qualifiers, specially for female players. But with a little twist, as men can win it as well, but then they need to donate their prize to a female player.

Mila: I believe that online qualification tournaments for Ladies Events, such as these, are an excellent initiative. They provide women with the opportunity to showcase their skills and prove themselves in a competitive environment, regardless of their location or other constraints. Furthermore, they contribute to increasing female participation in poker tournaments, thereby promoting diversity within the poker community.

Melvin, The Festival: I've seen that you are the reigning Queen of the Herzdamen Club! Can you tell us more about that?

Mila: We have an online league, just for ladies. Normally, our goal is to grow together with male players and on our live poker festival, we don't have separated events. But we thought it would be good as well to have our own online league, in which we will find our next Queen of Queens of our poker club. Women from all over the world can participate!

Melvin, The Festival: Every poker player has his or her own story. What does poker mean to you?

Mila: When I started poker in 2005, it was just a hobby. And then in 2013 I got involved in a big accident, which put me in a wheelchair. Poker brought me back to life you could say, at the poker table everyone has the same chances. It doesn't matter where you come from, male or female, wheelchair or not, money or not, everyone has the same chances and I love that aspect of poker. Equality within poker and the whole community around it, is just great. Thanks to poker, so many different people entered my life and it makes me so happy.

Melvin. The Festival: Have you set yourself, and for the Herzdamen Club, any goals for the future?

Mila: My aim in poker is that one day we have a poker tournament where the ratio of men and women is more towards 50/50, that it's not so men-dominated and more equal. On a personal note, I aim to make the girls who are now in our club, better players. But not only with poker, in general as well, we communicate a lot together about all sorts of stuff. It's important to grow together, and who knows, maybe we have a WSOP Main Event winner in our community in the near future!