Kristen Bicknell: “It’s Good to Celebrate Female Talent in Poker”

Canadian poker pro Kristen Bicknell has made several transitions in her poker career — all very successfully.

After making her bones in online cash games, the end of SuperNova Elite pushed Bicknell to the live scene and she’s been travelling the world for the last two years straight.

The cashes keep on coming wherever she goes, though – not to mention that she’s one of the few women to have won a WSOP bracelet in an open event

At the PokerStars Championship Panama this week she’s already won an event – which admittedly only had four players – and is now stacking up in the main. We caught up with her for a quick chat.

PokerListings: You have cashes going back almost 10 years but since early 2016 they’ve been coming permanently.

Kristen Bicknell: I used to play online a lot but in January 2016 I switched to live poker. I used to do the Supernova Elite program on PokerStars but since they don’t have that anymore and I needed a switch and I started playing live more.

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“This life is good for me now.”

It turned out that I really liked it so it felt like the right thing to carry on with.

PL: You’re playing all sorts of tournaments from PokerStars to WPT to WSOP. Looks like you’ve become a poker nomad living on the road. Do you like that kind of life?

KB: I guess I have become that a little bit. (laughs) This life is good for me now. I’ve just turned 30 so I’m still pretty young, and things have been going good lately, so I’m sticking with what I’ve done.

PL: Is this a dream come true or did poker just happen to you?

KB: I feel like it’s something that rather happened to me. I’ve been happy with all the decisions I’ve made and it’s just a unique experience.

I wouldn’t say this is something I’ve dreamed of but I’m certainly very happy with my situation at the moment.

PL: You told PokerListings that you’re more of a cash game than a tournament player. How can you have so many results then?

KB: Well, after I won the bracelet last summer I kind of got the tournament bug. Since then I just kept on playing tournaments. I guess I made the switch.

PL: Maybe you’re one of these players who plays a tournament all day and then sits down at a cash table for another four hours.

KB: Sometimes, but I’ve been playing a lot less cash lately. I do find it hard to go back and forth between tournaments and cash games.

The week before I came here to Panama I just played cash in Vegas but here I’ve focussed on tournaments.

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Two mindsets help each other.

PL: How do you make the switch? At the end of the day, these are two different games.

KB: I usually don’t play both on the same day, if that makes sense. You need two different mind sets but they help each other.

Especially, cash games help my tournament play. As you get to the river more often in cash games they give you more experience in post-flop play.

Even during a full day of a tournament you don’t get to play much post-flop so cash games help me to fine-tune the skills you need after the flop.

In cash games you rarely get into situations where you’re all-in pre-flop. The classic short-stack strategy doesn’t really exist in cash games because you can always come back.

Also, short-stack play is one thing but it’s also important to have a good 100+ big blinds game and cash games really help with that.

PL: You were nominated for best tournament performance at the American Poker Awards so you probably followed the ceremony?


Lots in common with Cate.

KB: Yes, a little bit.

PL: Do you agree with what Cate Hall said about the Female Player of the Year being kind of a consolation prize?

KB: I think it’s good to celebrate female talent in poker. First of all, that’s a good thing.

I do understand her point, though, and I think me and her have a lot of opinions in common. But look how many women are in the field today.

PL: Maybe 10?

KB: Yes, pretty much. We’re not equal in numbers in poker and we’re never going to be. I think giving an award to the best woman player doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worth less.

It’s just celebrating the most successful female. You know, we stick out in this industry. Personally, I’m trying not to take it too seriously, but I like celebrating talent.

PL: Thank you, Kristen, and good luck!