Elizabeth Bennett-Martin Going 3-for-3 to the PCA

ps_news_thn.jpgBy Rebekah Mercer

Elizabeth Bennett-Martin, or EB to her poker buddies, has made the magic happen for two years straight. She has qualified for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event in the Bahamas through satellites on PokerStars. That is a huge accomplishment and more than most of us dream of doing. After all, what are the chances of being struck by lady luck's lighting bolt twice?" we ask ourselves. "Not likely," is the answer. So there has to be more than luck going on here.

If you spend any time talking with Elizabeth, as I have, you will find that she has been playing poker recreationally for several years, but has gotten really serious about it in the last couple of years. You will see more about how that serious approach is getting her where she wants to go in the next few paragraphs. But in the meantime, let's look at a few more details.

  • She has won two $10,000 buy-ins in two years for the biggest tournament outside the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
  • In 2009 she finished in 25th place, out of 1,347 players.
  • Out of those 1,347 players, she was one of only fourteen women in the event (1,333 men, 14 women).
  • Of those 14 women, she was one of only 7 satellite winners.
  • She qualified again this January for both the Main Event and the Ladies Event at the beautiful Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. In the process she scored her second week long, all expenses paid vacation at the resort for her family. Did I mention that her family is lucky too?
  • So what about this year?

    This year, she plans to make it three-for-three. As she puts it, "I am starting earlier just in case I need some extra time because I am destined to return to the Bahamas this year. It just has to happen!" And I believe her.


    After following Elizabeth's progress for two years, she has convinced me that she does what she sets out to do, and I knew I wanted to be along for the ride. I thought the readers of PokerStars Women would too, so we decided to give everyone a railbird's view of what's going on so we can sweat her through to this year's successful ticket to the PCA. Elizabeth has graciously agreed to keep us updated on her progress (and strategy tips) on a weekly basis by telling us what kind of tournaments she plays, her strategy for each, and her weekly results. We will be along for the good and the bad, the suck outs and the bad beats. And best of all we will be there when she walks away with that ticket.

    Today's article will outline the first two weeks of her quest for that ticket to paradise. After that we will post weekly updates on the PokerStars Women Facebook site, charting her progress. So read on to see how it's going so far. Then next week join us at PokerStars Women
    to get the updates.

    So with that out of the way, let's get down to it. Here are her first posts on how it's going.

    Sunday, October 17

    I begin today in a serious way to try and win my way to the PCA for the third year in a row. I won my $700 entry for today's game in the Steps tournaments. My strategy is to win my way to Step 5, and then use the Step 5 for the entry into the $700 satellite for the Main Event. So each weekend I hope to play the $700 event until I win my way. I prefer this tournament over the $33 Rebuy tournament (which I have also tried). I just find in the $33R players are constantly pushing all with anything in every hand and hoping to get lucky enough to carry them through the add-on stage of the tournament. So to me, it seems like more luck than skill.

    Another nice feature of the $700 satellite is it awards more than one seat to the main event. Today PokerStars is awarding a minimum of five entries, so I am hoping to be one of them, although not totally expecting to make it on my first try. I note that there are PokerStars Team Pros playing as well. I am just getting back into playing seriously after a few months, so am a bit out of practice. I don't play a lot over the summer time as I like to spend my time with the family. But I am ready now, as Sunday is my day to play poker.

    Last night for practice I played the $3.00 satellite for the Sunday Warm-up and won it, and so I will use that $215 entry into the Sunday Million to console myself if I am knocked out early in the PCA satellite. Gotta have a back-up plan for these things!

    Last year I made it to the PCA on my third try when PokerStars gave away a large number of seats. As the event gets closer there are more satellites running and PokerStars tends to give away more seats in the $700 event. I believe when I won last year they were awarding 20 seats. So hopefully over the next several weeks I will be skilled and lucky enough to win my way to the PCA. My boys 12 and 9 (who came the last two years) would be so excited too! The Atlantis is such a wonderful playground for people of all ages.

    Until then,
    The Dark Horse, Elizabeth

    Sunday October 17 (a few hours later)

    Well my first attempt at winning a seat at the PCA only lasted one hour and ten minutes! In the first thirty minutes I lost most of my 3000 stack with my KQ vs. K10. The other player hit his 10 on the turn for two pair. As such, I stayed in last place for the remainder of my tournament, trying to work up from 365 chips. I did manage to get back up to a high of 900. I tried to double up when I got pocket kings in the big blind with two players raising ahead of me. I pushed, the big chip leader at the table pushed too, and the other player folded. He had AJ, hit his J on the flop and then hit the A on the turn. That was the end of my hopes for today. It can only get better from here. I'm going to play the Sunday Million now and hope for better luck.

    Until next week . . .

    Monday, October 18

    I qualified for this Sunday's $700 satellite for the PCA! I'm hoping this Sunday is a good day for me, especially given it's my birthday! And they are giving away ten seats this time, which is no surprise, given the number of people that played last Sunday. There was enough for an additional six seats on top of the five guaranteed. So it looks like you have to make it to about $40,000 in chips to win a spot with about 275 players. Wish me luck!

    I hope to see some of you online winning your way into the PCA Sunday. It's not that hard to win your entry fee through the Steps--just play really tight and conservative until it gets down to four players. The worst case scenario is you get a replay.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    So, for my second attempt at winning my PCA Main Event trip, I was feeling really positive. It was a good day (my birthday), and only good things can happen on your birthday, right? Or so I thought. My positive outlook was rewarded early on when I was dealt pocket aces about an hour into the game. Of course I was hoping to double up, but my hopes were dashed when they lost to a flush draw. So disappointing . . .

    So then I had to begin the grind of slowly winning back all those chips I lost, and was doing pretty good when I again got pocket aces. I told myself "This time I am not slow playing them." I was very excited when I saw a player ahead of me push all in. I was thinking my birthday wish was going to come true and I was about to double up. This was going to put me into good position, as I was currently 112th. We turned our cards up and the other player turned over KK. The flop was dealt, and then the turn, and wouldn't you know it, he hits another K on the turn! All my good thoughts and birthday wishes are dashed! Now I am back to the steps to win my entry for next Sunday.

    Long grind today, but no luck. Lost twice with pocket aces, once to KK and once to a flush draw. I would have been in a good place too, with both the hands all in . . . What can you do? That's poker!

    But I am excited about next Sunday because I can play both for the PCA Main Event and for the PCA Ladies Event. (I will try to qualify for both.)


    Well, Elizabeth, there's always next Sunday. We will catch up with you then and post the results on our Facebook page.

    Stay tuned to see how she makes it happen.

    Brad Willis
    @BradWillis in PokerStars news