They say that success is where preparation and opportunity meet.

When Canadian poker pro and Twitch streamer Vanessa “Niffler” Kade won the $215 Sunday Million 15th Anniversary for $1.5M on March 23 2021, it wasn’t just the result of three long days of grinding. It was the result of years of hard work.

“It’s a weird thing that I don’t know how to explain, but the day before the tournament began, I had a feeling this tournament was going to be mine,” says Kade. “Then I was sitting at the final table. To have it play out the way it did, it still doesn’t feel real to me. None of this feels real.”

Kade says she has never experienced anything “remotely close” to the outpouring of positivity she has received since taking it down. “I’ve had thousands of messages. People have been loving and caring, just saying good things. Everybody is excited. For me emotionally, that is almost as significant as winning the money.”


MORE ABOUT THE SUNDAY MILLION


It’s difficult to understand the levels of focus required to play your way through a 70,000-player field. On Day 1 of this gargantuan event, the Sunday Million anniversary was just one of 11 tables Kade was playing, but when she reached Day 2, she really honed in.

“I still had a game on the side, just to keep myself from getting too nervous and focussing on it too much,” she says. “On the last day I had the other tables up on my desktop but when we got down to the final two tables I was as focussed as I have ever been in a poker game and maybe will ever be.”

With hundreds of thousands of dollars riding on every decision, Kade would double and triple check every time she clicked a button. “I am basically accepting whatever plays out after I click this and once it’s clicked, it’s out of your control,” she says. “I was worried I was going to make a really costly mistake.”

She didn’t. Not only was she making the right moves at the right time, but she also ran well when she needed it the most, winning a huge flip three-handed worth an extra $300K with pocket fives against ace-king.

“After that I said repeatedly: I can never, ever complain about losing a flip ever again in my life,” says Kade. “That was effectively a million-dollar flip.”

Turning $215 into $1.5M is truly the stuff dreams are made of, even for an experienced and successful pro like Kade. “I feel like there’s no way for this not to change my life,” she says. “But at the same time, I’m not very materialistic. I’m not going to go buy a bunch of toys or anything like that.

“But this win gives me freedom. That’s what I get from this. If I don’t mess this up, then for the rest of my life, I don’t have to do a single thing that I don’t want to do.”

Kade put in the preparation. The Sunday Million Anniversary gave her the opportunity.

Now she can sit back and enjoy real success.

The champion, Vanessa Kade

This interview is taken from the Poker in the Ears podcast. Listen to the entire episode with Vanessa Kade below:

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Jack Stanton is a freelance writer specialising in poker.

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