The new year of Poker After Dark live shows kicks off today with “Femme Fatale” week, featuring seven high caliber women who will lay it all on the line in a $100/$200 No Limit Hold’em cash game. One of the women in the game is Kristen Bicknell, who we caught up to in anticipation of her debut under the bright lights of the PokerGO set.

Watch “Femme Fatale” on Poker After Dark starting at 6 pm ET on Wednesday, January 3rd, exclusively on PokerGO. Bicknell squares off against Kathy Liebert, JJ Liu, Melanie Weisner, Kitty Kuo, Sofia Lövgren and Tracy Nguyen.

“I’m really excited to go on Poker After Dark, and it feels like a massive honor to be invited on the show,” Bicknell said.

Bicknell isn’t the only one making her debut on Poker After Dark, as only Melanie Weisner and JJ Lui appeared on the show during its first run.

“It’s a really big deal for me because it’s my televised poker debut. I definitely have a lot of emotions about this; excited, nervous, happy, and overall I’m really looking forward to it. I think the atmosphere with this lineup will be great, and I think that everyone on this show will be a lot of fun to play with. They’re all kind and nice people, and that’s nice especially with some first-time nerves.

Drawing Inspiration from Jennifer Harman

Poker After Dark became an instant staple with its iconic first show during which Phil Hellmuth and Shawn Sheikan went at it. This didn’t go unnoticed to Bicknell either, but she gravitated more towards one of the most successful women of all time.

“Back in the day I didn’t watch much poker, but I did watch Poker After Dark. They had such classic lineups. That was some of the best and most entertaining poker out there. I’d say my biggest memories from that, when I first started watching poker, was watching Jennifer Harman on Poker After Dark. I was really inspired by her, and I really respect her. I like how she handled herself at the table, and it was clear that the other players respected her. I kind of relate to her, as we’re both petite-looking, but strong women. I remember it being nice to see a woman that I could relate to playing poker at that level, and maybe in some way that made me feel like I could do it.

Harman made her first appearance on the show in Season 1, going up against the likes of Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Erick Lindgren, Jennifer Tilly and Phil Gordon. Harman won the week named “Killer Table” beating Antonius heads up. Now, more than ten years after that first season, Poker After Dark continues and Bicknell’s been enjoying the action.

“This year I have watched the show since it’s come back, and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. The fact that it’s on PokerGO, and you can watch it whenever you want, is awesome. I think they do a great job with the show.”

Kristen Bicknell after winning her second WSOP gold bracelet in 2016.
Kristen Bicknell after winning her second WSOP gold bracelet in 2016.

An Impressive Resume

Bicknell is humble and doesn’t grab back to her past accomplishments, focusing on the strong year she put together in 2017, becoming the GPI Female Player of the Year. Back in 2013 Bicknell won her first WSOP bracelet, which she followed up with another win in 2016, but despite those big scores she still called 2017 “pivotal” for her career.

“It was my first year traveling the circuit full time for tournaments, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I made quite a few bigger final tables, and ended the year nicely with a win in a Bellagio Five Diamond event,” the St. Catharines, Ontario native said.

“Signing with partypoker has been huge, and it’s been a very different year since I went from grinding under the radar on my own to being a bit more well-known now, and that’s been a lot of fun.”

The double bracelet winner is also a four-time Supernova Elite and recorder holder for the most hands played in a calendar year on PokerStars with 3.8 million and 17 million total hands played, according to an interview with PokerNews in May of 2017. Bicknell opened up to us about the motivations that lead to her success, and how her love for the game is as big as its ever been.

“I’ve always been really driven to reach my full potential. I didn’t really draw inspiration from any individual in particular, but I would say that overall I really enjoy listening to stories from people – in any aspects of life – that have worked really hard and have gone through a lot of challenges to get where they are. For instance, when Joe Rogan has comedians on his show, or boxers, any professional athletes, it’s really inspiring to listen to people that work hard at what they do and they don’t stop. That’s my attitude with poker and I’m so lucky that I love poker so much, that it really is the thing I would do on my day off, so I don’t take many days off.”

“I’m really drawn and inspired by people that would rather work really hard at proving themselves instead of watching TV. They show me that it’s okay to put all my time and focus on one thing in order to be great. I’m inspired by people that are intense about what they do, and that’s how you become successful. Moreover, there have been a lot of people that have helped me in a lot in poker throughout the years. Talking hands, getting advice on bankroll management, and working with both Elliot Roe and Jared Tendler on my mental game has helped tremendously and that’s been pretty big for me both as a poker player and as a person.”

Looking Ahead at 2018

With a year of grinding the live circuit full-time under her belt, Bicknell is gearing up for a very busy 2018.

“I definitely feel very motivated to have a big year and I plan to play a lot of poker. You’ll see me at all the live events and feel confident that I can make some big final tables. I feel much more prepared for this year, and I’m very focused and determined. I’m loving the game more than ever, and I now have this opportunity that I want to make the best out of.

Bicknell will have a chance to start off 2018 with a bang, competing two nights on Poker After Dark in a $100/$200 cash game. Despite the high stakes, the Canadian pro still thinks there’s plenty of room for banter and a pleasant atmosphere, but that psychological aspect of the game will be a real factor.

“Most of us on the show are very competitive and friendly people. I take poker very seriously and I’m very competitive, I try to focus on the game but at the same time I also enjoy the social aspect of it.”

“We’re used to being the only females at the tables, and it will be very interesting to see what kind of battles come up at the table. In Ladies Events, personally, I don’t have that psychological aspect of being the only woman at the table, and removing that changes the game for sure. It will be interesting to see if people will try to call down more, or perhaps bluff a bit more in this setting. I do think that most of us don’t want to get bluffed because it is going to be on TV. Female players have that sense anyway, and I think that there will be plenty of interesting hands!”

Follow Kristen on Twitter here. Watch Kristen play live on Poker After Dark at 3 pm PT/6 pm ET and midnight CET exclusively on PokerGO.

Kristen Bicknell