Kristen Bicknell Wins Ladies Event, Tenth Bracelet for Canada

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Twenty six year old self-taught poker player Kristen Bicknell not only picked up her first WSOP cash at the 2013 WSOP, a bracelet came along with it when she took down the $10,000 Ladies No Limit Hold’em Championship. Hailing from Nepean, Ontario, Canada she also added to her country’s success this summer. With Bicknell’s win, Canada now holds ten of the 51 bracelets awarded thus far.

“I’ve played 15 or 20 events but this is the first time I’ve cashed,” she said after her win. “I thought I was cursed in this casino, but I guess not. For a first cash I guess it’s pretty good to win it.”

Bicknell began playing poker in homes games and then switched to online play where she focused initially on tournaments. But she found that was not the avenue she wanted to pursue and switched to cash games. Coming to the WSOP for the Ladies event was just a shot at a tournament she assumed would be enjoyable.

“I focused on tournaments then decided I didn’t really like that route, so I started playing cash games,” she said. “I just kind of came here for fun.”

When she first took her seat, Bicknell never imagined she would be at the final table. She just wanted to play her best. As the tournament progressed Bicknell began to feel she might be able to go all the way.

“I wasn’t at all thinking about the final table, I was just thinking ‘play every hand you can the best you can.’ I got down to about 1,000 in chips at one point and I didn’t have that much hope then. But it’s a reminder that a chip and a chair really is true,” she said. “You never know in tournaments right? Funny enough, I was getting low at some point but I always had a feeling it was destined. I kept winning my huge hands. Those huge, huge turn around hands I kept winning. Sometimes when you are running good it just feels like it is going to continue.”

The 954-player tournament came down to Bicknell and Australian Leanne Haas. The final hand began when Bicknell raised to 40,000 and Haas called to see flop of K 8 3. Haas check-called Bicknell’s 50,000 bet to see the J on the turn. Haas checked again, Bicknell fired out 130,000, Haas made it 280,000 and Bicknell called. The river was the 7 and Haas moved all in for 627,000. Bicknell called and Haas turned up K 9.

“You have ace king?” Bicknell’s rail shouted to her as she turned over her hand.

Bicknell was in fact holding ace king, A K, for the best hand, $173,922 and the special white gold WSOP Ladies event bracelet.

“I’m such a nit,” Bicknell joked to her rail after the win. “I win with ace king everyone else wins with like seven deuce or something.”

A short-stacked Cindy Kerslake was the first to exit the final table when she open shipped all in for her last 59,000 with J J from early position. Amanda Baker called from Kerslake’s left with T T and Kerslake looked in good position to double up when the dealer spread A 8 3. Kerslake stayed ahead after the A popped up on the turn, but the river would change it all. The T on the river gave Baker tens full of aces to best Kerslake’s two pair.

Chris Priday was no stranger to the WSOP Ladies event. Priday has three career cashes to date, all three from the Ladies tournament, and was the fourth place finisher in 2008. Priday saw her second Ladies event final table come to an end when she was sent away as the eighth place finisher. Connie Bruce opened to 35,000 from under-the-gun and Priday fired out an all in shove for 108,000. Action folded back around to Bruce who called. Priday flipped up 6 6 and was up against Bruce’s A K. Priday saw her sixes quickly overcome when the flop opened up K 7 2. The T on the turn gave Bruce the ace high flush and left Priday drawing dead. The river was the meaningless 7 and Priday made her exit.

Baker soon followed Priday to the rail when she tangled with Bicknell. Bicknell opened to 32,000 and Baker re-raised all in for 273,000 with A T. Bicknell asked for a count before she called with A Q. Baker was behind but picked up a ten after a flop of T 9 2 to take the lead. But Bicknell regained her ground when the Q fell on the turn and the 7 on the river was no good for Baker.

Following Baker’s bustout, three more eliminations happened in rapid succession. Eleanor Gudger was next to go when she ran her A Q into Leanne Haas’s pocket jacks. Haas raised to 32,000 and Gudger re-raised to 100,000 and action folded back around to Haas who moved all in. Gudger called and quickly saw her tournament come to an end when the dealer spread J 6 44 5.

Bruce quickly followed when she moved all in from the button for 134,000 with K J and Bicknell called from the big blind with A 8. The board ran out A T 5 6 2 and Bruce left the stage.

Soon after Shana Matthews saw her deep run come to an end. Matthews made it 32,000 from under-the-gun and Haas called from the big blind to see a flop of Q 9 4. Haas led out for 40,00 and Matthews called to see the 8 on the turn. Haas checked, Matthews shoved all in and Haas snap-called. Matthews tabled pocket tens but was in need of help when Haas flipped over pocket kings. Matthews never found a needed jack or ten to stay alive when the dealer opened the 2 on the river.

Action slowed a bit before Julie Monsacre was eliminated to set the heads-up match between Haas and Bicknell in motion. Monsacre moved all in from the small blind with K 9 and Bicknell called out of the big blind with A 5. The board was spread A T 2 J 3 and Monsacre made her exit.

Final Table Results:

  1. Kristen Bicknell – $173,922
  2. Leanne Haas – $107,616
  3. Julie Monsacre – $67,331
  4. Shana Matthews - $48,871
  5. Connie Bruce – $36,078
  6. Eleanor Gudger - $27,045
  7. Amanda Baker – $20,572
  8. Chris Priday – $15,858
  9. Cindy Kerslake – $12,389
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