Attention ladies! Get ready for history to be made as the first ladies-only festival in Europe as the 2023 Queens of Tallinn is just weeks away at the plush surroundings of Olympic Park Casino and the adjoining Hilton Tallinn Park from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.
The festival boasts 11 numbers events, with only the €60 Ladies and Gentlemen and mystery cash games open for all while the ladies will have plenty to battle for with big events on the line including the Queens of Tallinn €250 Main Event (Nov. 30 – Dec. 3) and the Queens of Tallinn €250 Mystery Bounty (Dec. 2-3). In addition, the Queens of Tallinn will solidify friendships and create new ones thanks to both the Team Challenge and partnering with women’s poker advocate Daiva Byrne and her women’s poker Facebook group Fantastic Ladies in Poker (FLIP) for what promises to be an exciting festival.
Poker journalist Jason Glatzer sat down with Byrne to learn more about FLIP and their involvement with the Queens of Tallinn.
“FLIP is the largest female-only poker community in the world,” Byrne shared. “All our members are vetted, female, and truly global with representation from 90 different countries. We celebrate women’s success in poker and work to make the game more inclusive with partners both live and via our partnership with GGPoker. We are currently up to 8,000 members. Our goal has been unchanged since our inception, but our approach evolves as the mechanisms to get more women into poker change. We have focused on growth in the last year or so. Next year we would like to continue to grow, but also to have more impact across the female poker ecosystem with new ideas and by leveraging existing partnerships effectively.”
Byrne “Love the Idea of a Ladies-Only Festival”
Daiva Byrne, affectionately known at “Baltic Blonde”, has more than a decade of experience both at the tables and bringing the female poker community together. She has attended countless festivals over the past dozen years and is known to host ladies-only events over the years including most recently hosting the €150 Ladies Only at the 2023 Battle of Malta Autumn Edition at Casino Malta by Olympic Casino where she managed to take fifth place for €800.
Byrne couldn’t be more excited about what a ladies-only festival brings to the female poker community.
“I love the idea of a ladies-only festival,” Byrne shared. “I’m passionate about getting more women into poker and innovative ideas like this contribute towards this. Providing an environment where female poker players can perhaps play their first game, or get more experience at the tables and grow in confidence is very valuable. Also, it helps to strengthen connections between female poker players and reinforce communities, which are both further positives.”
The brains behind the festival in renowned tournament director Teresa Nousiainen invited Byrne and FLIP for what both parties believe is a match made in heaven.
“Teresa (Nousiainen), the driving force behind Queens of Tallinn, approached me to see if I could offer both my support and FLIP’s for the festival,” Byrne shared. “I’ll be at the event, playing and helping all the players feel welcome and bringing and amplifying the friendly, inclusive vibe that FLIP prides itself upon.”
Although Byrne will be traveling from the United Kingdom, she originally called the Baltic country of Lithuania her home. She loves the opportunity to visit one of the most majestic cities around the world in Tallinn while also allowing FLIP to become a cornerstone of women’s poker history.
“I’m very excited,” Byrne proclaimed. “Tallinn is beautiful and the chance to be involved in a new concept like this is great. Also, I love the Olympic Park Casino at the Hilton Hotel where the festival is being hosted. The venue really is one of the most beautiful poker rooms in Europe. I look forward to seeing many FLIP community members and catching up with everyone. It will be exciting to be part of history – it’s the first-ever ladies-only poker festival in Europe- and seeing how the festival works close up, and receiving feedback on this concept from players.”
Byrne believes there is something for every female player at the Queens of Tallinn with events not just in hold’em but also in other variants as well. After all, it isn’t every day there are a women’s only Omaha Event and Mystery Bounty events, especially in Europe.
“I think the schedule is fantastic providing something for all player levels: a higher yet affordable €250 buy-in Main Event with daily live and online satellites for it, the currently very popular Mystery Bounty tournament, and even Omaha event for the mixed games enthusiasts,” Byrne said. “Not to mention, 24hr cash games with the mystery bounty envelopes!”
Byrne Gives Some Advice to New Players While Getting Back into the Mix Herself
One of the reasons we often hear about why women’s only events are important for poker is that it provides a friendly and non-intimidating environment for women to take their first step in their poker journey. Now, instead of one event, ladies will have a chance to compete for four days straight in what we promise to be a safe environment.
Byrne and the entire FLIP group will be showing their support, especially to those apprehensive about playing for the first time, and she shared some tips for first-time players.
“Live poker can be intimidating for any player male or female for the first time,” Byrne explained. “With women being a significant minority at the tables, a chance to start their live poker journey in a friendly environment and with the reduction of negative experiences that sadly still occur in open events can only encourage further participation in live poker games. The fact that this festival will offer a range of buy-ins and events, and will focus entirely on the female poker community makes it the best possible first step into live poker for new players. My advice would be to enjoy yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for advice at the tables if you are unsure of anything, take the opportunity to make new friends, and learn from other players.”
Byrne herself took a break from live poker and even skipped the biggest event of the year that she almost always attends. She explained the break was a combination of her life changing during the COVID crisis along with other more important life events.
“The pandemic was a hiatus and getting back into live poker was a bit of a process following it,” Byrne shared. “I’ve had a really busy year with FLIP, and with family commitments with a few important weddings and special birthdays, so I haven’t played much at all, and I skipped the WSOP for the first time in a long time. Mind you, I still played tons online. Next year I intend to immerse myself in live poker much more, travel to events, and promote FLIP and female participation in poker everywhere I go.”
Byrne is a strong player in her own right with more than $200,000 in live tournament earnings as tracked by The Hendon Mob along with much more coming from online tournament achievements. We asked her to share who some of the other strong female players in Europe were in her eyes.
“Austrian Jessica Teusl, British Hong Thi Minh Pham, Norwegian Aylar Lie, and Ukrainian Olga Lermolcheva to name a few are very strong female players who travel around Europe playing and consistently producing fantastic results, also with more success to come,” Byrne shared.
We wish Byrne and the entire FLIP community the best of luck and more importantly to have fun at the inaugural Queens of Tallinn from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Olympic Park Casino and the adjoining Hilton Tallinn Park.