Georgina “GJ Reggie” James won the $330 Women’s Event for $6,639 at the PSPC
A welcome party for Platinum Pass winners took place on Sunday evening, the night before the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) began. But despite the open bar, we reckon a large number of Platinum Pass winners–like kids on Christmas Eve–got back to their rooms at a decent hour to ensure an early night.
Georgina “GJ Reggie” wasn’t one of them. But her late bedtime wasn’t down to partying. It was down to poker.
She was deep in the $330 buy-in Women’s Event — heads-up in fact — when play had to be paused in the early morning hours. A long day of PSPC poker was played before the tournament could reach its conclusion, but we’d say it was worth the wait.
The PokerStars Team Pro won $6,539 and captured her first PokerStars Live trophy after she defeated Canada’s Elizabeth Martin-Bennett heads-up. The duel took place after Day 1 of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) concluded and for her runner-up finish, Bennett received $4,200.
But that’s not all. Bennett also received a Platinum Pass, and both she and GJ Reggie have returned for the PSPC Day 2 today.
We managed to grab a quick sit down with James before she entered the poker room. Check out our conversation below.
PokerStars Blog: Congratulations! It’s been a busy few days for you, can you walk us through what’s been going on?
Thanks! So, the Women’s event started the day before the PSPC and it was due to be a one-day event, but it was a much longer tournament than we anticipated, so we ended up stopping play at around 4 am. That’s the rule, they don’t let anyone play past that time because this staff need to rest.
It just so happens that when we stopped playing that day we were heads-up. I was playing the PSPC so we had to agree on a time to do the heads-up and the only time I really had was after the PSPC concluded. So I woke up the next day, played Day 1 of the PSPC, then when that wrapped up and the room cleared a bit, they set up a table for our heads-up. I played and won!
What was it like in the tournament area that early in the morning?
Quiet! Everything had wrapped up for the day and all my friends who were playing the PSPC decided to stick around, so there was a decent amount of people in our corner of the room, then the rest of the room was filled with a turbo and all the dealers sorting the chips and redraw.
The stage was completely down and it was totally dark over there.
PLATINUM PASS FOR BENNETT
You then got to announce that Elizabeth Martin-Bennett, who you beat heads-up, was to be awarded a Platinum Pass by PokerStars. How did that come about?
I found out that morning. Jen [Shahade] was trying to contact me to organise it but she wanted it to be a surprise for me as well, so she didn’t tell me why. She organised it with the PR team.
It got to the first break of the PSPC and that’s when I found out we were giving Elizabeth the Platinum Pass. They asked me to tweet it out and get in touch with her. I thought it was a really nice gesture because she’d obviously have to have waited all day to play the heads-up, so I think she was deserving of a Pass, for sure. It was great to be able to surprise her at the last minute and get her involved in the $25K.
I found early in the tournament that she’s nicknamed Lucky Lizzie. There were a few people in the tournament from [the Toronto Poker League] all rooting for each other and taking pictures on the rail. It was really cool to see.
“IT FEELS SURREAL”
You mentioned the event was much bigger than anticipated. What was it like to play the event? From the rail, it looked like a lot of fun.
It really was a lot of fun. I late regged a little bit and took my seat during the break. I remember walking to the tournament area and looking for my table, then I looked down and there were champagne glasses on the seats around me and I was in the middle. So I thought, wow, this table’s having fun!
I had Marle Spragg, Kate Lindsey and Leo Margets on my table and they offered me a glass. It was a really fun atmosphere, everyone was having a really great time. You don’t get that in tournaments normally. I think a lot of people were jealous!
You came close to winning your first PokerStars Live title at EPT London [James finished fifth in an 8-game side event for £3,900]. To finally get a trophy, what does that mean to you?
It means the world, really. It feels kind of surreal and I can’t believe it. The response has been overwhelming with all the messages I’ve received. I couldn’t have imagined winning a trophy at an event like this. The one in London was 8-game and this was hold’em, so it’s a little different, but I’m really grateful and super happy with how it all went.
A GOOD DAY GUARANTEED
It really feels like you’ve progressed as a player tremendously over the past few years. Would you agree with that?
I think I’ve got better over the past few years since I’ve been with PokerStars, but I know I have a long way to go. I made it one of my goals for this year to study and improve my game because I’m guilty of not putting enough time and effort into that over the last few years. But last year was the best I’ve had poker-wise, both online and live, and obviously in mixed games as well as hold’em. But I want to get some one-to-one coaching and use study materials to improve.
Sometimes I don’t feel super confident at the tables and the more you know and study, the more confident you can play, and hopefully the better you do, as well.
I think I’d have to wear sunglasses and a heavy scarf if I was playing in the PSPC. How did you handle the nerves in the big one?
You know what? I was far less nervous than I thought I would be. I really thought I’d be terrified playing a $25K, but I think it helped that I played 12 hours before. If nothing else, I was comfortable being at the poker table. It helped ease the nerves and it was a confidence booster knowing that absolute worst-case scenario–busting in the first hour–I still have a trophy to play for. The day could never have gone that badly, really!
Best of luck today, GJ Reggie!