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The Bernard Lee Poker Show 11-06: WSOP Ladies Champ Jessica Dawley

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  • LISTEN: The Bernard Lee Poker Show interviews 2018 WSOP Ladies Event Champion, Jessica Dawley.

In this episode of The Bernard Lee Poker Show on the PokerNews Podcast Network, Bernard Lee interviews the 2018 WSOP Ladies Event champion, Jessica Dawley. The reigning ladies champion not only reflects on her 2018 bracelet victory, but also discusses her service in the military.

Show Time Stamps

0:00Welcome to The Bernard Lee Poker Show as the show interviews Jessica Dawley, who captured the 2018 WSOP Ladies Championship.
0:50Before beginning his interview with Dawley, Bernard Lee discusses the poker news. WSOP dealer, Heather Alcorn, who has regularly dealt the WSOP Main Event final table, wins the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, Indiana for $129,654. Heather will be Lee’s guest on next week’s show, discussing her win.
2:42Gary Burks captures RunGood Poker Series Main Event at Horseshoe Bossier City in Louisiana for $41.519. The next RunGood Poker Series stop is this week at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa, just outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Bernard will be playing all week in this series.
3:39Ioannis Angelou-Konstas outlasts 1,014 other entrants to win the PartyPoker Live Millions UK Main Event for $1.22 million.
5:17RunGood Gear Ad
6:00Bernard introduces Jessica Dawley, the 2018 WSOP Ladies Event champion.
6:42Jessica Dawley joins the show, discussing the additional attention at this year’s Ladies championship final table, which also included poker pro Danielle Andersen and poker media reporter Molly Mossey. “[It] was crazy; it was a little more of a high profile one.”
8:19Jessica describes how it felt to sit on the Brasilia stage, seeing the pictures of all the summer’s previous WSOP bracelet winners. “Probably inspired me but made me somewhat nervous as well… I was sitting directly staring at those pictures. So, every big decision I made, I kept it in the back of my mind that I’m playing for a bracelet. This isn’t an ordinary tournament. I need to stay focused and make sure that I make the right decision at every turn.”
9:41Jessica recalls how she first learned poker with her uncle, including five-card draw and five-card stud. “I just loved the competition factor. That’s what drew me to it.”
12:38Jessica remembers playing euchre tournaments with her high school boyfriend every Wednesday. “We were the youngest couple by maybe 30 years, but back then, it was big buy-in, a $5 buy-in per person.”
13:33Jessica talks about a regular home game she played in on Thursday nights. “(I played with) most of the guys I went to high school with. They were a little bit older. I was probably one of the younger ones there, but definitely the only female there... I was really happy they let me play.”
14:07Jessica also played poker regularly on Sundays with her boyfriend’s family. They played a variety of games including Chicago, Kokomo, Baseball, Criss-Cross high-low, five-card draw and deuces wild.
15:25Bernard asks Jessica if playing with the boys in high school prepared her for today’s world of poker. “I would say the combination of playing in those (high school) games, coupled with the military, being in a mostly male-dominated career, definitely helped me at the poker table.”
16:06Jessica states she is frustrated at males who deter women from playing poker. “So many guys don’t realize that it’s so harmful for the game because you want new blood into the game. Pretty much poker has reached it maximum growth potential (for guys)... But there are so many females out there and that’s 50% (of the population). That’s a huge market that we are missing out on. I think the barrier to entry is so frustrating.”
18:09Jessica remembers how in early 2001, she joined the military, specifically the Kentucky Air National Guard, a branch of the Air Force, as an intelligence analyst.
22:09Jessica recalls how 9/11 drastically changed her life and where she was when tragedy struck the U.S. She also discusses her military service from 2001-2007.
28:59Jessica states how influential her parents were to her becoming a poker pro. “My parents were very instrumental in my decision making to play full-time because they had children so young and were not able to experience life like they wanted to… So somewhat vicariously, they really pushed me to live my dream.”
29:47Jessica recalls packing up and driving out to Las Vegas with only a $3,400 bankroll. “They were offering two months free, so I paid (rent) for one month and then got two months free, so I knew I had three months in order to make it out there… That was going to be my shot.”
32:17Share My Pair Ad
32:49Cabot Cheese/Creamery Ad
33:20Bernard continues his interview with Jessica, discussing her early poker career including sixth place finish at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi. “From there I was able to play bigger cash games like $5/$10. And back then, the games were much easier and the games were amazing. If you played really tight and played ABC, you were going to make money.”
34:20Jessica recollects how she got her $10,000 buy-in for her first WSOP Main Event in 2009 and how she just missed cashing in the event. “I wanted to take my shot and I went really deep, but back then, they only paid 10% of the field. So, I was about 100 outside of the money. It was such a great opportunity and got me really interested in playing big tournaments like that.”
35:57Jessica always dreamed of going to visit Australia and ended up playing in the Aussie Millions Main Event. She ran deep, finishing in 17th place for A$75,000.
38:10Jessica focused mainly on cash games in her early poker years. “I didn’t come from a ton of money. I didn’t have a huge nest egg. I didn’t have the opportunity to be able to fail… I’ve made it on my own. I’ve never had to take money from anyone.”
38:43Jessica moved to Florida afterward to play cash, but she began to get burnt out playing cash games and started to turn her focus on playing in tournaments starting in 2015.
40:33Jessica explains how this summer was meant to be her last summer playing tournaments full-time. “I just really focused on poker. I changed my diet over the last two years. I became a vegetarian and started focusing more on my health.”
42:30Jessica describes her mindset entering this summer’s WSOP Ladies Event, which she almost didn’t play because she ran deep in the Venetian event the night before. However, she decided to late register the Ladies event.
47:03Bernard asks Jessica how different it is to play in a Ladies event, when you are used to playing primarily against men. “It’s so nice to be relaxed and let my guard down because when I’m playing against men, I’m constantly filtering what I say or on the defensive on what they might say. I always feel a little on edge.”
50:30Bernard and Jessica discuss the 2018 WSOP Ladies Event final table, including a crucial hand to start the final table versus Danielle Anderson, which eliminated Anderson in 10th place. “Danielle was the most formidable opponent at the table. I was very happy knocking her out. She was by far the best player at the table.”
54:34Jessica explains she always wanted to go to school for sign language to be an interpreter.

Let us know what you think of the show - tweet about the podcast using #BernardLeePokerShow, and be sure to follow @BernardLeePoker on Twitter or Instagram.

You can follow Jessica Dawley on Twitter @jessicadawley.

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