Poker writers are usually not the subject of articles written about poker tournament wins. They are usually found scribbling away in yellowed legal pads when tournament time comes, not sitting at a final table. With today's victory by Kristin Bihr in the PCA Luxury Ladies Poker Event, it was a chance for the writing community to celebrate the fact that all that writing about poker sometimes pays off. Kristin will be doing a good bit of celebrating tonight herself after a win that totaled almost $30,000. She commented: "I'm a poor poker writer, so this kind of money really means a lot to me." The second place finisher, Lauren Kling, also enjoyed a very nice cash of $18,624.
The tournament saw 96 runners and the top eight were paid.
1) Kristin Bihr $29,798
2) Lauren Kling 18,624
3) Victoria Lucenkova 9,312
4) Vicky Coren, Team PokerStars Pro, 13,968
5) Deb Quailey 7,450
6) Ricki Lake 5,587
7) Kathy Jamison 4,656
8) Lauren Fallia 3,725
Kristin was aggressive and consistent in her approach to whittle Lauren's stack hand by hand, acting on Kling's run of bad cards. The heads-up battle saw both with large stacks to begin with, but a tough hand crippled Lauren early on and she was never able to revive her chip stack. The final hand that sealed the win was when Lauren pushed all in with a pocket pair of eights and Kristin called with Q-Q. There was no miracle card for Lauren and she went out after a long battle where she maintained a large chip stack for most of the tournament.
The field was a very tough one that included at least five well-known pros, including Kling, whose biggest cash is an online second place where she finished for $163,000. Her largest live cash was 14th in the Festa Al Lago for $32,240. Kling is a Berkley graduate with a degree in Engineering and Business. She decided to get into poker after graduation when she realized she could make more money in poker than in her degree field.
There were also three Team PokerStars Pros in the tournament, including Vicky Coren (who cashed in fourth), Maridu Maryrink, and Fatima Moreira de Melo. All-time female money winner, Kathy Liebert was also in the field, along with Veronica Dabul and Kathy Hong, serious player and girlfriend of Team PokerStars Pro Elky. Other well-known players included Beth Gains and tenth place PCA Main Event player, Ana Marquez.
One of the most interesting stories to come out of the tournament was the all-time best tournament cash for actress Ricki Lake, who finished in sixth place for $5,587. Ricki has played mostly celebrity tournaments previously, but her 50th place in the 2010 California State Championship was her best to date. Ricki commented that she was thrilled to play the tournament and that it was "great fun" laughing and chatting with all the women. But she says her primary focus is improving her poker game. She takes poker very seriously and says that she would like to play more seriously in years to come. She said that she was very happy with her play and commented that she "bluffed some serious pros and shook them up" on a few occasions. Her dream is to be a "semi-pro" one day and would like to play the poker circuit.
Coren battled her way to fourth place after being short-stacked much of the tournament. Vicky said that the tournament was her first time to play a ladies tournament since she was in her twenties. She called the tournament "great fun" and said that it had encouraged her to possibly play more in the future. She said that she thinks women's tournaments are a good way to get women into poker and that she supports the effort of PokerStars to bring more women into the game.
Many of the players from the tournament stayed around to rail the women who remained on Day 2. Instead of being out enjoying all the things that Atlantis has to offer, they were in the poker room cheering on players who they had never met until this weekend. Deb Quailey made the comment that she felt her play was "pretty good" up until this point, with some significant cashes to her credit, but she said that after taking Vanessa Rousso's Poker Boot Camp she expects much better results this year.
Many of the players noted that they would definitely be back for the tournament next year and they learned a tremendous amount from playing against such good players.
Congratulations to Kristin on her big win and until next year, that's a wrap for the 2010 Luxury Ladies Poker Event.
Here's the video team's chat with Kristin..