K1R5TY14 keeps crushing, from modeling to poker

What does a poker player look like? Kirsty Buttle is often told that she doesn't look like one. Perhaps people expect a young man wearing a hoodie and sunglasses. Maybe they look for an elderly gentleman in a cowboy hat. But we in poker learned long ago that there is no one way for a poker player to look. They come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and genders. And sometimes they're unrecognizable when burrowed into a PokerStars hoodie, like Kirsty here.

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Her first introduction to poker came from her father. Kirsty was 15 years old, and her father brought a chip set home and taught her the basics of the game. "I was intrigued and really took to it," she said. And when an opportunity came for her to work in the gaming environment at the age of 18, she was happy to build on that knowledge and gain more.

Kirsty's poker career has spanned more than a few years, though she doesn't play on a full-time basis. She spends her days as a deputy manager in a women's wear shop in Harrogate, and she enjoys modeling as a hobby. Fashion is her passion. "I get to meet a lot of interesting people, photographers, models and designers, and I get to travel, too, which is good. There are long days, and it isn't as glamorous as everyone things. It's hard work and very tiring." But she's not one to shy away from hard work to get what she wants.

The dedication it takes to become a better poker player is nothing that intimidates Kirsty, either. As a low-stakes online poker player, Kirsty prefers Hold'em tournaments on PokerStars (where she plays as K1R5TY14), though she dabbles in cash games at times. "I like to buy in to tournaments that comfortably reflect my bankroll, as I feel I can relax and play my game properly," she admitted.

But no matter the stakes, Kirsty is willing to put in the time to become a better player. She watches a lot of poker videos and admits to learning a lot from watching the live stream of EPT tournaments. "Not seeing the cards allows me to be able to think strategically and work out possible hands from the action that has happened." In addition, she spends time talking to friends and discussing hands "to keep my game fresh."

Kirsty also learns quite a bit from her boyfriend, who plays on PokerStars as Vincollo. She claims he has "revolutionized" her game. As she watches him win tournaments like the Bigger 22, she discusses and learns. "He has taught me things that make me think completely differently about the way I play. Check-shoving, delayed c-bets, analyzing ranges, and deciphering what my opponents could have based on the action... He constantly evolves my game, making me a stronger, confident, and more aggressive poker player."

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Even so, she gives her dad much of the credit for her initial interest in the game and teaching her a lot when they first played cards together.

Her evolving image took her to buy-in to the Women's Sunday last weekend. It was only the third or fourth time she played it because it's at the top of her buy-in range, and even though she didn't win a satellite, she decided to play. And then K1R5TY14 won the tournament for $2,259.83!

Kirsty's strategy involved opening buttons and cutoffs with respectable hands so she could fight back if players pushed at her. She played a fold-or-raise game but made it a strong effort. "Aggression is the key," she said. And it worked for her, as she took the title.

Mostly, she plays open games because she feels she has an edge when playing with men. "Playing with men allows me to utilize stereotypes about women, like that we're timid and don't open light," Kirsty told us. "Men don't like being beaten by girls, especially younger ones, so they play back a lot more. It's easier to get paid." And playing with women, she contends, is tougher. "It's harder to put women on a hand, as their ranges of hands are much wider, but there isn't as much betting."

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People in the fashion industry often tell Kirsty that they "can't picture me being a poker player." She's not exactly sure how to respond to that. On one hand, her appearance at poker tables - whether in person or virtually as K1R5TY14 - can catch people off guard and off their game. On the other hand, there is no reason that she can't epitomize the average poker player. She loves the game, which is all that matters.

Whether Kirsty is modeling, managing, or raking chips at PokerStars, she is a person who is sure of what she wants and unafraid of pursuing those goals. Underestimate her at your own risk.

Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in PS Women