For most top professionals, the World Series of Poker is a six-week submersion. Players migrate to Las Vegas, from nearly every corner of the world, set up shop and get to work. Some are successful, some are not but for the most part, win, lose or draw, the battle wages on every day in the year’s biggest series.
Esther Taylor is the exception to the rule. Over the last few weeks, E-Tay has been jet setting from Las Vegas to Pennsylvania and back, racking up airline miles to spend time with her daughter, while also putting together a career-best summer. Fresh off a podium finish in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller, Taylor is now trying to keep that momentum into the Main Event.
“Every year, I just honestly just come out here and play the best that I can. The results are what they are but I’ve come here for years, played the exact same way I’ve played this year and the results have been horrible.” Taylor said earlier today with a laugh. “I just try to keep myself realistic and put everything into perspective.”
Over the last few years, Taylor’s perspective has changed. She has a seven-year-old daughter that comes first, no matter what. Despite four final tables at this year’s World Series, even though she is playing a smaller volume schedule than years past, nothing can compare to the moments she has had away from the felt this summer, sweating a different kind of competition.
“She is incinerating tournament softball and has definitely taught me a lesson on how to win.” Taylor said, referencing her daughter’s summer softball team. E-Tay has followed her daughter’s lead this summer but, as she tweeted earlier this year, women have been incinerating tournament poker for the better part of 2017.
The World Poker Tour had their first female champion earlier this year and while plenty of women have made deep runs this summer, Taylor has lead the way.
“It is obviously awesome to have people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you know you’re leading the charge and we’re really proud of you.’ That is incredible.” Taylor said and while she enjoys the praise and is extremely thankful for the massive amount of support she receives, she is most thankful for being there for her biggest fan and having them there for her too.
Her daughter follows all her tournament progress and last week, when Taylor final tabled the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Mix event, her father was in Las Vegas to see her play poker for the first time.
“For him to be there and able to watch and kind of see the environment of a final table, all the energy, he was kind of floored by all the support I had.” Taylor said, adding, “Seeing me for the first time, watching me live, I’m glad it wasn’t like a cash game, it was at a final table with all the hype, excitement and support. That was really cool.”
With support coming from friends, fans and most importantly family, few would be surprised if Esther Taylor’s momentum continued into the Main Event. When she is asked if she would trade everything the memorable results and moments from this summer for a deep run in the year’s biggest event, Taylor said, with another laugh, “I’d just like to have both.”