Anthony Dohm: First off, I want to officially welcome Tatjana Pasalic to the CalvinAyre.com team as our new poker reporter. It’s really exciting to offer our readers poker news and opinion from the perspective of a professional poker player.
Tatjana Pasalic: Thanks so much Anthony. I can’t wait to get going!
AD: Tatjana, let’s give our readers some insight into where your poker background is. When thinking back to the first time players fell in love with poker, most players can tell stories about watching their Dad in home games, playing with college buddies or that first trip to a casino. How did you get your start in Poker?
TP: I started at the most important place – Las Vegas. I accidentally ended up at the Series as my friends were playing and when I walked into the Amazon room and heard the sound of the chips, I knew I was in love. Everything after that is history – a little bit of marketing work, a bit of poker room management and look at me now!
AD: You’re one of the most famous players from the former Yugoslavia; do you feel any extra pressure representing your country and the rest of the region?
TP: I feel nothing but pride that I can promote my countries. When I say countries, that is because I am from Bosnia, but grew up in Croatia and love both countries with the same passion. They are like sisters and it is hard to say which one is more beautiful and attractive. I am very happy that there is more and more players coming from the region and showing amazing results (Nenad Medic, Hana Soljan, Dragan Galic, Denis Kelemen) and I hope there will only be more.
AD: Which came first, reporting or playing poker?
TP: Reporting. I used to sit at the media room looking at Remko and Frank (Dutch Pokernews team) and envy them because they had 15 players per event and I had nothing. I wanted to have a Croatian crew, report and give some action to the people back home. I guess it is true when they say – if you want it bad enough you will get it!
AD: Social media has become one of the best ways for fans to interact with their favorite celebrities, and you are a self-proclaimed “social media ninja”. How have Twitter and Facebook helped build your profile in the poker community?
TP: Oh massively! I communicate with people via Twitter and Facebook daily. I am guilty of over tweeting and Peter Jetten has pointed that out, so I have worked on my quality rather than quantity. Social media is a great tool to communicate with people and I love both of them. Very often I will sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and see my cousin went on a vacation, catch up with my brother in Croatia, check up on my friends…it’s amazing.
AD: How would you describe your writing style?
TP: Scattered! When I grow up I shall have a ghostwriter. I come from the generation of ICQ, Miranda and forums so all my writing is trimmed and straight to the point, but I try to make it funny and interesting. I hate long boring text that makes people scroll down. My journey was a fun one, so the reader needs to feel that – otherwise the story is lost.
AD: You’ve been featured in FHM and other magazines, as is the case with most men’s focused magazines – one thing they have in common – sexy girls. Being that you’re…uh…let’s say… “easy on the eyes”, is hard for you to break through the almost inevitable sex symbol image that women are given in this industry?
TP: I believe it is all about how you present yourself. It’s fun to be a bombshell and do FHM covers, but at the end of the day we all need to be real. I genuinely enjoy this industry, I am interested in the hand history and the feedback I get on mine and I love reading 2+2. If I didn’t love the buzz and the people, I would not be here. It takes a lot of passion for a woman to survive in this industry, but the payback is incredible. People in poker can really make you feel like a princess, but only if you stay truthful to yourself and I am trying to do exactly that. Looks can help in short term, but in the end it’s about friendship and good values. If you don’t play the sex card, you will not be objectified.
AD: It seems to be working for you so far… are their any female reporters you look up to?
TP: In poker, I am a HUGE fan of Kara Scott and have always been – she is beautiful, nice, professional and incredibly talented. If I ever manage to be even close to her success, I will be very happy. I have a total girl crush on her.
AD: Yeah. Girl crushes…I get those too. Usually right before a face full of pepper spray and a court order. So, who has been your favorite interview subject so far? Is that because they hit on you or because they were totally wasted during the interview?
TP: Every person I interview is important to me. I chose them because they are interesting. People rarely hit on me during interviews. [Slowly putting love poem back in pocket now. – AD] Yes, sometimes there is chemistry, but it is like that in every industry and it only helps for the interview to be better. I do not interview people when they have had drinks…
AD: That won’t last on this site…
TP: Haha! Probably not for long…but you have to be careful, because it’s is not fair on them as they might say something they might regret or even misunderstand the point. I would feel I am abusing them for that. When I interview people I want them to be proud of their words, so they show the interview to their friends and family – so I try to make the best out of it. I have no problem with repeating a question or the whole interview. Just recently I did an interview four times in a row because we had technical or question issues. Practice makes perfect.
AD: Is there someone you want to interview, but haven’t yet had the chance?
TP: There was (Phil) Ivey, but I totally got a great chat of him during the WSOPE. There are still a few people on my hit list – but I am working my way up. It is still early days of my interviewing career.
AD: Let’s cross them all off the list. Now, the tagline for CalvinAyre.com is “gamblin’ drinkin’ and carryin’ on” – which of those three is your favorite?
TP: I don’t gamble and I only drink moderately – need to keep my head straight, but carrying on I can relate to! Kinda reminds me of tough times – when things are going down hill, carry on. I am a huge fan of the saying that the sun comes after rain and it is so true. Or, as one of my very close friends, Ben Wilinofsky, would say: ‘Man up!’ Ah, gotta love poker, man!
AD: I’m not so sure what this “moderately” means…but thanks for taking the time to talk with us and we can’t wait to work with you on the site. If you want to see what Tatjana is up to, you can keep up with her right here at CalvinAyre.com You can also be her actual friend on facebook/TatjanaPasalic or creepily stalk her every move like I do – by staring at her through the bushes during the dark and rainy nights of the Twitterverse.
Stalk Like her on Facebook.