Monday, 27th May 2024 06:23
Home / Events / Two-time Platinum Pass winner Jennifer Carter on London, lockdown and the PSPC beacon of hope

“Everything has changed for me since I won the Platinum Pass three years ago,” says Jennifer Carter, sipping a beer in the Player’s Lounge at EPT London.

That Platinum Pass she’s talking about? That’s her second. Carter is in rare company as one of only a handful of poker players to have won a Platinum Pass worth $30,000 twice. 

Jennifer Carter, battling at the PSPC in 2019

Her first win came in 2018. She earned a Platinum Pass Freeroll ticket in a PokerStars chest, played the entire satellite on her phone while knitting, and ended up winning the entire thing. She flew out to the Bahamas in January 2019, had a great time, and that was that.

Then she won another Platinum Pass in October 2019, this time through the online Mega Path satellites, and this time for the second edition of the PSPC, originally scheduled for Barcelona in 2020 (but we all know what happened that year).

So here we are, three years later. And a lot has changed.

Looking to the future

“Lockdown wasn’t easy for me,” Carter says. “I lost my job, and I separated from my husband, but poker has been a constant. With the PSPC coming in the future like this beacon of hope… I’ve just been waiting for it.”

Carter moved into a new apartment in Toronto during the pandemic and with the entire country of Canada locked down, she turned to poker.

“I just love it,” she says. “It’s been really important to me. I would watch Twitch, play online poker, and have Zoom calls with my friends. It really helped to keep everyone sane, and I was really grateful to have the Twitch streamers to keep us occupied.”

Carter even appeared on The Morning Show, on Canada’s Global News

She even has her own poker table set up in her apartment, a gift from PokerStars when she won her second Platinum Pass.

When restrictions in Ontario eased up, Carter began hosting home games for her local friends. She’d also get more involved with the Home Games of her favourite streamers. “It was really nice to have that community while I was home alone,” she says.

Out of lockdown

Then, after a long interval, the PSPC 2023 was officially announced for the Bahamas in January 2023. Carter has been to the Caribbean island before, of course, but this time the event is taking place at a new resort: the Baha Mar. And like other Platinum Pass winners, she recently watched a documentary about the venue.

“It’s fascinating,” she says. “I’m glad it’s not in Barcelona, honestly, because it’s quite a distance for me to travel. The Bahamas is just a quick three-hour flight for me. I don’t have to worry about jetlag or the time zone. And also, January? From Canada? Yeah, I’m looking forward to the beach.”

“I don’t have to worry about jetlag or the time zone. And also, January? From Canada? Yeah, I’m looking forward to the beach.”

Meeting her favourites

Carter knew she’d get to meet many of her favourite Twitch streamers during her trip to the Bahamas, including Georgina “GJ Reggie” James, Lex Veldhuis, and Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg.

But she also wanted to meet the members of the community, many of whom she has grown close to online. Not all of them can make it to the Bahamas. But many are here in London.

And that community is a big reason Carter is in London today, too. It’s her first trip across the pond and a combination of things influenced her decision to make the seven-hour flight.

First off, she won a £1,100 regional tour ticket in a Platinum Pass winners’ competition. She was originally planning on using it to play an extra event at the PSPC in January.

“But I saw all the Twitch streamers were coming to London and I wanted to meet everybody,” she says.

So, she booked her flights and hotel room (with help from the PokerStars team, notably the great Willie Elliot) and headed to London to play the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) Main Event. Carter took her seat on Day 1A, but unfortunately, things didn’t go her way. Then she played the Ladies Event and knocked a few people out, but during Level 3, she was knocked out herself.

Beyond the poker tables

But just because the poker didn’t go to plan, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t enjoyed her trip. In fact, playing poker was almost secondary to her.

“I’ve really enjoyed exploring London, walking around, taking the bus tour, seeing the sights,” she says, before pointing to the gold wristband on her wrist. “And thanks to this I haven’t had to pay for food, except for the full English breakfast!”

Despite the free grub, it’s the new friends she’s made on the trip that she’s most thankful for. 

“Meeting up with the Twitch community has been really excellent,” she says. “I saw “RichyRob”, “Raksha”, GJ Reggie, “Majin” [Tom Hayward]… when I heard he was going I thought ‘ahh another person that I really want to meet’ so that kind of tipped the scales on whether I’d come to London. I’m one of his mods and a long-time subscriber and a big fan.”

A good yarn

Carter, an avid knitter who used to work in a yarn shop, even brought gifts for the community members that clearly mean so much to her.

She knitted a little red dragon for Georgina “GJ Reggie” James (“that’s one of her emotes”); an alpaca for Tom “Majin” Hayward; a card protector for David “New_Dave” Gibson; a beer stein for Felix “xflixx” Schneiders; and Mixed Games Movement cubes for both Mason “pyefacepoker” Pye and his moderator, Raksha.

“Three years is a long time, so I had a lot of time to make presents for everybody,” she says.

Three years is indeed a long time. We ask Carter how she’s been preparing for the PSPC, the light on the horizon which has been her beacon of hope throughout that time.

“I’m not going there after years of study to take advantage of an opportunity to win millions of dollars. I’m going there to have fun. I’m going there to experience the new resort. I’m going there to meet all the friends that I’ve met online.”

“I’ll be honest, I haven’t really prepared,” she says. “I’m not looking to win big really. I’ve taken some training courses and I keep practising playing poker, but the poker is kind of secondary.

I’m not going there after years of study to take advantage of an opportunity to win millions of dollars. I’m going there to have fun. I’m going there to experience the new resort. I’m going there to meet all the friends that I’ve met online. 

We’ll drink to that.

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