For many years, Kristen Bicknell was working on her craft in the quiet of her own home, multi-tabling cash games on PokerStars and working her way to Supernova Elite status. Then in 2013, all of her hard work and dedication paid off when she won the World Series of Poker Ladies Championship Event for her first gold bracelet and $173,922. Now, with a second bracelet under her belt thanks to a victory in the 2016 WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'e Bounty — an open event with 2,158 players — Bicknell has earned validation.
"It sort of does, and I would say that just having a second bracelet feels good," Bicknell said of a second bracelet that came in an open event giving her more respect in the community. "I've played poker for 10 or 11 years, and it's a nice thing to win again. I think it's hard to get respect as a girl in poker, and maybe showing that I did it again — I did luckbox a lot to get it — but I think I played really well as well, so you need luck and to play well."
Final Table Results
|5||Will "The Thrill" Failla||$71,049|
The event, which was originally scheduled for three days of play, was extended to a fourth day with three players remaining. Bicknell took the chip lead into Day 4 above fellow bracelet winner Norbert Szecsi and longtime pro John Myung. After she dispatched of Myung in third place when her jacks held against his , Bicknell was heads up with Szecsi with a big lead.
From there, it only took nine hands for her to seal the deal.
"It just feels really surreal, and I have slept very little for the last four days," she said. "It feels really good, and I was very nervous about today that things wouldn't go my way to start. That was my fear, of doubling someone up, and then having a big, long grind like yesterday was so I'm just very relieved that it all went really, really smooth."
On the final hand, Bicknell put Szecsi all in on the final board of . She held the for top pair and was able to receive a call from a worse hand, as Szecsi called off his tournament life with just a pair of nines. Bicknell had raised on the button, received a call, and then bet all three streets.
"I don't really like playing tournaments that much, but I feel very confident in tournaments," Bicknell said. "I had a prop bet with someone in trying to find out how many hands I've played, and I've played over 14 million hands online. I think that is incredibly helpful for getting in these situations with tournament players who don't play that many hands and don't understand post-flop as well. I think it's a huge edge, and I see a lot of spots in these tournaments that I have an advantage post flop."
Being Canadian, Bicknell is able to continue her online play in her home country. But most recently she's taken a step away from the virtual world of poker to focus more on the live game.
"I used to play online a lot, and then the last six months I have played only live really, which has been interesting as well and probably increased another side of my poker skills, the live poker skills," she said. "I was a mass multi-tabler online for years and years."
With $290,768 in the bank, the 29-year-old now boasts over $510,000 in career live tournaments earnings. It's a big boost to her bankroll that she's excited about, and one that will help her move up in stakes in the cash games she loves. But, that'll be after she takes a few days off to relax and enjoy her accomplishment.
"I am going to take a few days off because, to be honest, it's all very, very overwhelming for me, and I'm definitely a low-key person," she said. "I need the opposite of Vegas. But, I have a few tournaments I want to play, and I really want to do well in the Main Event this year. I kind of planned that the whole Series. I'm going to play the Ladies Event and a couple of other ones and then cash games, and I'm happy that I can add to my bankroll to play higher because that's what I've been working on. I've been working on grinding a nice live bankroll so I could play bigger games a lot live, so it helps to have that."