Borgata recently announced the signing of Katie Stone as a sponsored pro for BorgataPoker.com. Stone, a recognized name in online poker with a career spanning well over a decade, will be representing the online poker site both online and while playing in live events.
Stone, who was born and raised in New Jersey, is a current resident of Brigantine. However, after the online poker landscape changed dramatically in April 2011, Stone moved her game to Rosarito, Mexico. When New Jersey authorized Atlantic City casinos to offer online gaming within state borders, Stone made the move back north to her home state of New Jersey, where she quickly found big success in the land-based and online worlds.
In November 2017, Stone placed first in the $260+40 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack event of the Borgata Fall Poker Open. A few months prior to that, in July 2017, Stone notched a first-place victory in the Ladies event of the Borgata Summer Poker Open. And while Stone’s land-based success list is impressive, her accolades in the online world are just as notable. We sat down with the all-star to talk about her success and how, in her opinion, poker is the great equalizer.
How did you find yourself in the world of poker? I was a professional chess player to start, but started playing poker back in 2005 with some friends that came from the chess world. A lot of people came to poker from chess at the time because they found they could learn the game a lot quicker than other people, and they became profitable quickly because they understood what to study. They weren’t looking at poker as a gamble, but as a systematic and strategic game. I fell into it myself and transitioned it into my career.
What about Borgata makes it feel like a good fit for you? Player sponsorships are sort of rare these days. With me, prior to poker, I had experience in business, and with this unique viewpoint, I’m able to see things from a different angle. Honestly, Borgata has always been the only poker room and site that has been so overwhelmingly open to suggestion and any feedback and improvement, and then they take action on it. There’s no other poker room or poker site who can say that. It just doesn’t exist. When I look at my decade-long career in poker, and I’m finally attaching myself to company, it’s a big decision for me. I’ve built my reputation as being very logical, very straight shooting, so I’m not going to be a part of something that I don’t believe in fully. Borgata has their finger on the pulse a little bit better; they have to do it online and live. Nobody else can say that.
How do you think we can get more women into the poker world? This is a question that I took an interest in really early. It’s so easy for guys to get up and travel and jump from place to place, but for women, it is not socially acceptable, unless it’s a group of girls traveling together. That’s one barrier of entry, the myth that it is socially unacceptable behavior. It’s an evolving answer: It can’t be presented as gimmick. It has to be set at the root level. We need to see more women working in and around poker, not just playing poker. We need more women as tournament directors and managing poker rooms. Leadership roles make a difference. That access is just so important. Borgata in particular is extremely enthusiastic about finding new ways to attract women to the game. There’s some really exciting things in coming in 2018, and I’m really exciting to be a part of these initiatives. These are things that I’ve wanted to do for years and years.
So things are changing? The face and the look of the typical sponsored pro is totally changing. It’s not the model in the bikini, laying on a poker table, anymore! There’s a big shift and that’s a very good thing. As online poker continues to become regulated in all the states across the United States, it will need to appeal to the entire market. I’ve lived in Vegas, Mexico, North Africa: I’ve played poker all over the world. That’s what is so amazing about poker: it is an amazingly equalizing game. When you and I are sitting cross the table, and we put our buy in, you could be a super famous person, but at the poker table, you’re my opponent, and we’re just playing poker. You’re meeting so many different types of people, too. It really opens up you to a whole new world.
Katie Stone continues to play online at BorgataPoker.com under the screen name KatieStone.