It took 46 events for a Canadian to win a bracelet this year.
Kristen Bicknell, originally from St. Catharines, Ontario, ended that dry spell and also became the first woman to win a bracelet this summer.
But neither of those things mattered too much to Bicknell. Bicknell said what she was really happy about was that this was her second bracelet.
Back in 2013, Bicknell defeated a field of 954 players in the WSOP Ladies Event and won $173,922.
Despite winning $290,768 and defeating more than 2,000 players in her most recent victory, Bicknell says winning the Ladies Event was a bigger deal.
Move Over Christmas Eve, It's Canada Day Eve
“The Ladies Event was extremely exciting,” Bicknell said. “It was streamed too. It felt like a bigger deal for some reason.
Bicknell at the 2013 WSOP.
“This feels pretty awesome, too.”
Bicknell also won that bracelet on June 30th, the day before Canada Day. Three years later, she won her second bracelet on the exact same date.
The 29-year-old started playing poker in Ottawa --where she currently resides-- when her former boyfriend’s roommates invited them to play a game of poker one night.
“We ended up playing all night,” Bicknell said. “I fell in love with it and then found online poker. I was addicted, I loved it.”
While Bicknell and her boyfriend eventually split, her relationship with poker only grew stronger. Bicknell was studying something she didn’t like at school and kept playing poker throughout the summer.
“I was supposed to be doing work at my parents’ business and was just sitting there playing online poker,” Bicknell said.
“I might’ve gotten in a bit of trouble for that.”
Beating the Games, Convincing the Parents
Bicknell’s parents have no issues with poker anymore and both of them flew down for the bracelet ceremony.
Kristen’s father, Pete Bicknell, said they weren’t too sure about their daughter’s career path at first.
Kristen Bicknell and her father, Pete Bicknell.
“It’s funny because I didn’t believe it half the time,” Mr. Bicknell said.
“I was wondering if it was really true but then sure enough, one day she wins a tournament online and a check showed up the next morning.
“I was like wow, this is real. We’ve supported her ever since.”
Bicknell kept playing cash games online and worked her way up to Supernova Elite. She's been playing professionally ever since.
Despite her recent success in tournaments, Bicknell says she’s still focused on cash games.
“I’ve been playing live poker and traveling a bit more because my boyfriend’s a big tournament player and travels a lot,” Bicknell said.
“I’ll play whatever events are going on, but I love cash-game poker over tournament poker and don’t think that’s going to change.”
Bicknell: "Amount of Women Doubled Since I Started in Vegas"
This is Bicknell's first open bracelet.
One change Bicknell has noticed over the years is the increasing number of women in poker.
“I think the amount of women here has at least doubled since I first came to Vegas seven or eight years ago,” Bicknell said.
“Especially women that are good, there are a lot more playing professionally.
"When I play cash games around the world I run into other female professional poker players that play cash games which is impressive to me.
“The perception hasn’t changed much though, there’s still that ‘You’re a girl, you can’t be that good,’ attitude. I still feel that.”
It'll be hard to argue against Bicknell's skill now that she has a bracelet per wrist.
Bicknell will try to win a few more before she leaves, too.
Aside from cash games Bicknell plans on playing the Ladies Event and the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Maybe she'll even hit EPT Barcelona after that.