She played her game on and off the felt
If there was ever a reason for Vanessa Kade to get drunk live on Twitch, that reason presented itself Tuesday night. After months of standing up to poker’s good old boys club and losing a healthy income stream in the process, Kade won the PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary and $1.5 million.
Kade’s story has essentially been the story of the poker world for the last three-plus months. In December, GGPoker signed noted misogynist, long gun fetishist and “influencer” Dan Bilzerian as an ambassador for the site. Kade, along with many others, expressed her displeasure publicly. Bilzerian, in turn, gave everyone a wonderful example of why Kade had a problem with him, tweeting, “Quiet hoe, nobody knows who you are.”
Now, Vanessa Kade has never been one to muzzle her feelings and to be certain, she has been quite outspoken about the situation since December.
In February, GGPoker teamed up with Daiva Byrne, poker pro and founder of Fantastic Ladies in Poker (FLIP), a popular female-focused poker community. It was a move to try to advance inclusivity initiatives, but one that also drew much skepticism. Kade herself wasn’t buying what GGPoker was selling, calling it an attempt to buy “good faith with the female community after hiring and keeping a massive misogynist who openly says women can’t play poker.”
GGPoker can’t figure it out
Then, just two weeks ago, Kade posted a message from GGPoker’s affiliate manager, Rachel Ralson, who informed her that her legacy affiliate account with the site had been terminated. The reason, as expected, was because Kade had made her feelings known about the Bilzerian association.
Naturally, most of the poker world shit on GGPoker for this, so the site followed up with an official Twitter post, saying that Kade violated its terms and conditions. They never specified what she did wrong and proceeded to wave off Bilzerian’s “derogatory remark.”
In the meantime, Kade has signed with America’s Card Room.
Rise to the top
And that brings us to the present. There were close to 70,000 entries for the anniversary Sunday Million, bringing the prize pool to $13,975,200. Kade, who goes by the screen name “Niffller” on PokerStars, fired multiple bullets, eventually going into Tuesday’s Day 3 12th out of the remaining 65 players. In a tweet, she noted that she got unlucky when her Kings lost to A-J, but on the other hand, she got lucky to survive when her Sevens beat an opponent’s Aces.
Kade was one of the short stacks going into the nine-handed final table, but again found a little luck when she moved all-in when it was down to six, her J-8 finding a way to beat A-9.
Still far from the lead, Kade got some hands, making the most of pocket Kings twice. Later, her A-Q beat A-7 to move her up into second place.
She and two other players were willing to discuss a chop when they were four-handed, but “PanchoVetin,” who Kade credited with really good, aggressive play, did not want anything to do with it. And though Kade was gunning for the $1.5 million, she was willing to sacrifice a little EV to be a good sport. Chip leader “Talibenes” disconnected for a short time and instead of trying to grab his blinds, Kade let her time bank tick down, asking if the tournament could be paused. Fortunately for Talibenes, he reconnected fairly quickly and things got back to normal.
After eliminating PanchoVetin, Kade went into heads-up play against Talibenes with a massive 10-1 chip lead. And two hands later, it was over, her pocket Eights holding against his K-9.
Vanessa Kade said she considered streaming the final table, but opted to use all of her focus on her poker play. Since the win, though, she has been streaming, chatting with fans, and celebrating for over seven hours. Congratulations to Vanessa Kade, the newest Sunday Million champ!