Kitty Kuo is a female poker pro ranked 4th in Taiwan. She has over US$1.6M in live earnings. She is a well-traveled player frequenting the biggest tours annually such as the WSOP, EPT, and the Aussie Millions. Once in while she’ll hit the felt in Macau where she won the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup back in 2009. We caught up with Kuo at the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic tournament ongoing at ARIA Resort & Casino after she made it into the final table.
Somuchpoker: You came in as one of the shortest stacks today and now you are into the final table. You obviously had a strategy coming in.
Kitty Kuo: Yes, I did. I had the chip leader on my left, I came in with around 20 big blinds so this morning I was working with my coach, talking about 20 big blind strategy, how to play the small blind against the big blind. So I was working my range, on how to limp-raise, limp-call, but I doubled up on the first hand and I wasn’t so short anymore then I doubled up on the second hand and I was okay. I didn’t need the short stack strategy anymore. But I studied a lot, every day I play I ask my coach every morning, make sure I make less and less mistakes.
SMP: Is it private or can we ask who your coach is?
Kitty Kuo: I have two coaches. Last year, ARIA purple jacket winner, Steffen Sontheimer, he is my coach. He is the best coach. I was actually so happy because this tournament is really tough. My first day, I had five 300K High Roller players at my table. Luckily I have a good coach so I know everyone’s range, so that made it okay. I also have my American coach for a lot of live tournaments because since every day my coach is so busy so I have a second coach.
SMP: Are you going to be staying in Las Vegas after this event?
Kitty Kuo: I live here. I’ve been living here for 8 years but I just never go to the casinos and play. I just travel to Montreal, Barcelona, EPT, Australia. If I don’t travel to play poker, I just stay here.
SMP: At the beginning of the year you played the Aussie Millions and it was a much higher buy-in than your usual games.
Kitty Kuo: Yes, the 25K. I won a seat through a satellite for that just like this one. For this event now, I wasn’t going to play because I knew that a lot of high rollers would be playing so I played a satellite to see and I won a seat. Otherwise I wouldn’t play a 10K, this is a very tough tournament. But the Aussie Millions 25K, I also played a satellite and won a seat so it was really good.
SMP: Will you now be playing more satellites into the big tournaments like these?
Kitty Kuo: This year and the next, I will play a lot more series before I retire. I want to win a title so I will play a lot this year.
SMP: That was actually going to be my next question, in terms of your goals as a poker player.
Kitty Kuo: I don’t mean that I will retire from playing, no, I will still play poker but just not travel the world. So far I’ve traveled to ten countries and I am just really tired. I used to play 300 days, travel the world, but after two more years, I want to just play cash games. And go to a place I really like, maybe Barcelona or Australia, and the World Series, but I don’t want to travel everything.
SMP: So your goal is to try to win a big title within two years?
Kitty Kuo: Yes, so I can just focus on playing cash games. I realize cash games are so good. In the Bellagio area, the old men they’ll just sit down and it’s like a 1K donation everyday. It’s really good.
SMP: I know you’ve had a long day getting to the final table so I just have one more question for you, will we be seeing you in Asia any time soon?
Kitty Kuo: Yes I will be in Asia maybe after the summer.
SMP: Are there any tournaments you intend to play?
Kitty Kuo: No, because they closed the PokerStars room in Macau. I don’t play poker in China because the tax is 30%. Here too, but if I am playing for a title, I don’t have a choice.
SMP: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Good luck to you at the final table.
Interview by Tricia David