What's in a screen name? Some players pick a screen name for fun, and others do it to throw opponents off their game. Men can choose a moniker that indicates a female player is at the table, and women can do the same by choosing a screen name indicative of a male player. It can be part of a strategy to distract or confuse competitors.
Or a screen name can simply be a name. Nothing more. Diane Cahill of Ireland chose sexylady409 as a reflection of her image. But male players often think that is a misleading moniker. And when she showed up at the Sunday Million final table on November 18, that is exactly what they assumed, as the chat box showed other players referring to sexylady409 as a man.
Sexylady409 dominated at the start of that final table, the one that every player dreams of making and very few have the chance to win. The Sunday Million is the cream of the online poker tournament crop, and every player wants title on their résumé. Cahill was no different, though the 22-year old part-time player has not been trying to get there as long as many other players.
Cahill only learned to play poker two years ago when her brother taught her how to play. She focused mostly on tournaments, about 90 percent of her time at the tables, and she dabbles in cash games much less frequently. Her bankroll was still in the process of being built, so she was careful of where she took her risks. But starting with €10 and turning it into €900 was a good start, playing small stakes and SNGs to pad her roll, and she took her chance with the Sunday Million.
As play moved toward the money, she felt she had done well thus far and "had nothing to lose." She added, "I went for it. I bluffed two big pots and did not let anyone bully me. If I thought I was ahead, I made them pay as much as I could, and if I thought they were weak, I got them to fold." She claims she fell right into the groove and continued to thrive.
When that final table began, the table looked like this:
She was the chip leader but lost ground through some simple pot losses and the double-ups of others. Making it to four-handed play, Cahill participated in the discussion of a deal, and as the shortest stack of the final four, she agreed to take the least amount of money - $112,928.76 - with another $20,000 in play.
The return to action was a sign for sexylady409 to get aggressive. Cahill already had a guaranteed payout, and she moved all-in and doubled through Paulkopopo. That player then doubled back through her, as did WushuTM, but Cahill then doubled through WushuTM and again through luizsanchez4. She was back in control, eliminated Paulkopopo in third place, and went to heads-up play with an enormous lead of 65 million chips to 2.5 million belonging to luizsanchez4.
Cahill's opponent knew he was dominated and wrote "give me a chance?" in the chat box. Luizsanchez4 folded the first hand of heads-up, then moved all-in on the second with J♣7♥. Sexylady409 called that 1.8 million chips with 4♠2♦ and hit the pair of deuces on the 3♥2♥T♦ flop. That was enough to do it, and she won the Sunday Million title and $132,928.76.
"It was the best feeling in the world," she described to PokerStars Women. "I never thought for one minute I could have won it, but it just shows it can be done." She encourages other women to try and play the big open events. "Try it!" She then added, "I just won't let myself be bullied as a woman player." Simple yet solid advice.
If you have a story about your big PokerStars victory, we encourage you to share it with us. A little inspiration can never hurt, and Diane Cahill's tale of winning the biggest weekly PokerStars tournament is one of those inspirations.
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Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.