Lara Eisenberg once flew through the air amongst a field of 400 sky-divers, setting a world record in Udon Thani, Thailand back in 2006. The historic formation was held for 4.3 seconds but took countless hours of preparation to pull off.
Fast forward fifteen years and Lara Eisenberg is at the Rio in Las Vegas flying through a field of 644 entries in the $1K buy-in Ladies Event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Grateful to @apestyles & all the @BBZPoker coaches who helped me get to today’s WSOP ladies final table! Shout out to @JonathanLittle & Alex Fitzgerald for great content too & thankful for so many supportive poker friends. Much love! 💕
— Lara Eisenberg (@eisen009) October 14, 2021
Eisenberg, a radiologist from Maryland, went on to win her first gold bracelet and the $115,694 first-place prize. This time her feat took four days to pull off, not to mention the countless hours Eisenberg spent studying poker in preparation for her trip to the WSOP.
“Being part of the BBZPoker Daily Seminars took my game forward once again,” Eisenberg tells us, having returned home with her gold bracelet. “Being able to benefit from hearing the thought process of the top minds in the game is indispensable.”
We caught up with Eisenberg to talk about her incredible result, the pressure of playing under the bright lights, her journey in poker, and more.
BBZ Blog: Hi Lara, congratulations on the win! Winning a WSOP bracelet is an amazing achievement. What does it mean to you to take this down?
Lara Eisenberg: Thanks! I hadn’t really allowed myself to dream about winning a bracelet as it seemed too big a dream! I had set my sights on making a major final table, although I try to focus more on goals that I have control over and not outcome goals. So this really is even more of a dream come true. So often we grind a lot without feeling like we see a direct reward for our work and study. This really feels like validation that if you put in the time and effort, you will eventually see the reward.
Did you feel pressure on the final table knowing it was being streamed and, if so, how did you manage it?
I felt a bit nervous for the first 30 minutes or so as I really didn’t want to do something that looked completely ridiculous right off the bat. After that, I kind of settled down and fell into a groove and didn’t really think about the fact that it was being streamed too much.
Making the final table of a major tournament had been my next dream goal and so I really felt like I had already achieved that. Also, going into a final table as the shortest stack takes the pressure off in a lot of ways. If you bust first, it’s not unexpected. And if you ladder up at all, that feels like icing on the cake. So I really tried hard to have no expectations at all about how the day would go and that helped take the pressure off.
Being part of BBZPoker helped me feel I was as prepared as I could be and I had a couple of great friends who helped me prepare the morning of the final table so I felt I had done all I could do to be ready.
When did you first start playing poker and how did things progress to this point?
I had quite literally never played a hand of poker in my life. Then right after the Moneymaker thing happened I was watching TV and a commercial came on for some online site, likely PokerStars, and I was floored that you could actually play poker for money on the internet! I immediately set my sights on learning how to play and bought the books that were available back then, read them, and started playing online.
I eventually started going up to Atlantic City from time to time and at some point ran into tournaments that seemed so much more fun. More and more learning opportunities became available like WPT Bootcamp and then one online training site after the next, culminating in starting to work with [BBZPoker coach] Apestyles at MaxValue.
So we have Apestyles to thank for bringing you into the BBZ community?
Yep! Now I get to learn with Apestyles and the other amazing BBZ coaches. The training sites and software available now are so amazing and they accelerate your learning tremendously.
Being part of the BBZ Daily Seminars took my game forward once again. Being able to benefit from hearing the thought process of the top minds in the game is indispensable. Being immersed in deep analysis of hands using solvers with Jordan and John and doing deep ICM work with Jargo and getting to discuss everything in real-time is amazing. And, of course, Apestyles has two seminars a week which are fantastic!
How do you balance your work as a radiologist with your poker play and study?
I work seven days on and seven off as a radiologist which gives me more time and flexibility than many other physicians have. It does mean that I can’t be on the seminars live when I’m working, but the replays are quickly put online and I watch them as soon as I can.
I can’t put in as many study hours as someone who plays full time but I try to maximize my results by getting the best coaching/being part of the top training sites, using the latest available software, and working hard on my mental game.
It is great that BBZPoker has its own mental game coach, Frank Hamel, who we get to meet with weekly to talk about all things mental game!
What’s next for you after this big score?
Really more of the same! There is always so much to study and learn. I’m looking forward to heading back out to Vegas in a couple of weeks for the WSOP Main Event!