Cuba’s Jessica Perez Borrego Shows the Way at PSC Panama

Poker players love to talk about all the things that detract from the poker experience.

Players stall too much. Software has solved the game. Everybody’s solid, anyway.

Maybe we all just need “to stop being so freaking professional” at the tables, as Antonio Esfandiari told us at 888live London.

At the PokerStars Championship Panama that’s more the rule than the exception. And we’ve found plenty of examples of how poker can still be a fun game for everyone.

Leading the way is Jessica Perez Borrego from Havana, Cuba.

“Poker is Just a Hobby”

Perez Borrego caught our attention when her name suddenly popped up in the Top 10 of the chip counts on Day 1A of the PokerStars Championship Panama. We decided to find out more about her.

jessica perez borrego 1

Cashes in Colombia, Vegas already.

Jessica is 31 and hails from Cuba but now lives in Panama.

“Poker is just a hobby for me,” she says. “My real job is with a construction company.”

However, Jessica has not only had results in her chosen country of residence, but also in Colombia and in Las Vegas.

Those results include a top 35 finish at an LAPT main event here in Panama City where she was the only local woman to qualify.

Now she’s apparently on to greater things as she’s playing the PSC Panama Main Event after having qualified in a live satellite at the Sortis Casino.

Media Finds Friendly

“There are four or five casinos in Panama,” Perez Borrego tell us. “At the moment this is the most popular one in the country. Unfortunately, there are not enough tournaments in general so I can’t play as often as I’d like to.”

Sitting at the same table as Anthony Zinno and Orpen Kisacikoglu – who finished fifth in the $50k at the PSC Panama – she still managed to hold her own and build a stack on Day 1.

Both her friendly demeanour and her poker face drew the attention of the other media on hand, too, as you can see in the tweet below.

Qué ser linda no te impida romperla al poker!!

La oriunda de La Habana Cuba, Jessica Borrego, tiene un montón de…

— Revista PokerFace (@RevPokerFace) May 14, 2016

jessica perez borrego 2

On the way to Day 2.

If she can keep her chip stack growing you’ll see a lot more about her in the coming days.

When asked what life in this part of the world is like, she says it’s a perfect fit for a lot of people with the same purpose.

“I like living in Panama. It’s a very calm place and the people are very relaxed.

“People from many different countries come here for vacation or even to live for exactly these reasons.”

Perez Borrego finished Day 1A in the Top 20 with 73,800 chips. She’ll be back for Day 2 on Thursday. Tune in for live stream coverage from Panama right here.