When we last spoke with Linda Swears, we learned how her observational skills and career in law enforcement helped to support her poker game. We recently caught up with Linda again to speak with her about the incredible run she is on this year. Linda has 18 cashes on Hendon Mob in 2023 so far, with a few more large cashes not included as they were not reported by the respective poker rooms. Linda has always been a solid player with a healthy rate of tournament cashes. However, this summer she has had a large number of deep runs, including several final tables and a couple of top 2 or 3 chops in August alone.
Linda is a lifetime member of APT and has trained extensively in the past with APT Coach Kenna James. When asked if there have been any recent changes in her training, she mentioned that there are many things that Kenna taught her which are just now “clicking” with her. She says he had a lot of great advice for her which simply took some time to sink in and become a regular part of her game. She has also begun playing regularly with her boyfriend who takes a more aggressive tack than she had previously. Linda has always taken copious notes at the table. Now with a playing partner, they discuss their hands after a tournament and he helps her see more spots for aggression than she did in the past. Linda says that “in poker, confidence is huge.” If you can stop fearing the next card and have faith in your game, you can create spots where you might have seen only danger before.
2023 WSOP Main Event
Linda has long held a months-long WSOP satellite game with a group of friends in her home. This year she was fortunate enough to take second place in that game. This awarded her a buy-in to a Foxwoods satellite to the WSOP. (First place is a $12,000 package to the Main Event itself). She then won a Main Event entry at Foxwoods.
Linda made it to Day 4 of the WSOP Main Event this summer. She outlasted over 9,000 other players to bring home $22,500. She greatly enjoyed playing overall, but felt particular excitement during the money bubble stage. Spectators and players rushed from table to table each time an all-in was called, with the media rapidly following. Linda was railed in person by several friends and online in a Facebook group by over a hundred more.
Since the WSOP
Linda’s cash at the Main Event gave a significant boost to her bankroll. It has allowed her to play at higher buy-ins more regularly than in the past. Linda has turned this opportunity into a number of significant final table appearances. She has had success at the Encore Boston Harbor, Foxwoods, and the recent Potomac Poker Open at MGM National Harbor. As I write this, Linda final tabled at Encore Boston Harbor just yesterday, coming in seventh out of 197 entries.
When asked why she thinks her poker game is going so well this year, Linda cites her newfound confidence in her game and the many efforts that she has made to improve that game over time. She also cites luck as an important factor, “Frankly, my 80% hands are holding up for a change.” And goes on to say that she has previously had significant dry spells when it felt like she was getting two-outed and losing flips all of the time. Linda Swears also talks about the importance of the table draw. Who you happen to get at your starting table is pure luck. And Linda feels her table draws have been particularly good this year.
Linda Swears’ Current Training
Recently, Linda has been reading a lot of poker books (and discussing them with others). She has been lucky to be able to play several times a week, keeping her game fresh. She praises the training opportunities at Advanced Poker Training and the coaching that she has had with Kenna James. Linda particularly noted that there are several helpful tools on APT that make great warm-up exercises directly before playing poker. She thinks that “it’s helpful to warm up the poker muscle” before one sits down to play. She particularly mentioned the games What’s The Nuts and The Upper Hand.
Another offline tool that Linda feels has been key to her growth has been just dealing out 9 hands in a circle and flipping them over to see what each “player” has. She says that at the table, one always imagines that the raiser has KK or AA. However, this exercise shows you viscerally how rare the really good hands actually are.
Witnessing Linda Swears recent poker success has been a testament to the value of committing to working at one’s poker game. In the end, she says that she “just wants to play.” She is thankful for the 20 years she has been able to play poker and looks forward to playing for at least 20 more.