Who are Canada’s Top-Ranked Female Poker Players?

Who are Canada’s Top-Ranked Female Poker Players?

It may seem that women are receiving more attention in poker than in the past. It is true that there are more efforts from casino operators and tournament directors to highlight the women of the game and their accomplishments. One of the best examples of that was the recently-concluded Women’s Series at Playground Poker in Montreal.

Women’s Series Results

The Women’s Series was a series of four tournaments run in conjunction with the Women’s Poker Association (WPA). The four events ran from October through January, each with $150 buy-ins and a single reentry.

Those events played out as follows:

Event 1: $150 NLHE with $5K GTD on October 19 = 80 entries, $10,864 prize pool, 10 paid players

  • Winner: Crystal Abouhanna = $2,265 plus entry to finals
  • 2nd place: Kathy Sawers = $2,085 plus entry to finals

Event 2: $150 NLHE with $5K GTD on November 16 = 81 entries, $10,975 prize pool, 11 paid players

  • Winner: Denise Lepine = $2,015 plus entry to finals
  • 2nd place: Claire Briere = $1,690 plus entry to finals

Event 3: $150 NLHE with $5K GTD on December 7 = 62 entries, $8,401 prize pool, 8 paid players

  • Winner: Cynthia Paquette = $2,156 plus entry to finals
  • 2nd place: Sylviane Cassini = $1,935 plus entry to finals

Event 4: $150 NLHE with $5K GTD on January 18 = 56 entries, $7,588 prize pool, 7 paid players

  • Winner: Erica F = $2,280 plus entry to finals
  • 2nd place: Danielle Bracy = $1,313 plus entry to finals

Women’s Series Championship

Throughout the four-tournament series, the top five finishers in each tournament won seats to the final event. There was also a leaderboard, and women earned points for each in-the-money finish throughout the series. The top 10 people on that list at the end of the first four events won seats to the final as well.

From each buy-in along the way, Playground Poker held $10 to comprise the prize pool for the finals. In the end, it created a prize pool of $2,790, which was used to pay the top three finishers of the 30 players in the tournament.

Ultimately, the final table played out with these results:

  • 1st place: Christine Park ($1,148)
  • 2nd place: Brigitte Korak ($938)
  • 3rd place: Natalia Nogina ($704)

Top-Ranked Canadian Poker Women

The Women’s Series at Playground Poker was an example of efforts to bring more women into poker with affordable buy-ins and other incentives.

Women still comprise a very small percentage of the overall poker population, especially in tournament poker. More women tend to play cash games, but those are not ranked. Live tournaments are tracked by the Hendon Mob Database, so let’s look at the top female players in tournament poker who hail from Canada.

  • Kristen Bicknell = $4,884,524
  • Xuan Liu = $1,973,260
  • Isabelle Mercier = $1,196,277
  • Kara Scott = $664,795
  • Carla Sabini = $559,415
  • Cindy Kerslake = $430,752
  • Evelyn Ng = $377,191
  • Darlene Lee = $317,135
  • Thi Hoa Nguyen = $299,631
  • Jody Howe = $266,749

Bicknell = Consistent Player of the Year

Kristen Bicknell was a longtime online poker pro but began playing more live tournaments after she won the 2013 World Series of Poker Ladies Championship and then a WSOP $1,500 NLHE Bounty tournament, both in Las Vegas.

Bicknell found success through hard work to apply her online poker knowledge to live events. As she won more in the live environment, she traveled more, became an ambassador for PartyPoker, and it all snowballed.

In 2019 alone, she won $2,461,580.94.

For the third year in a row, Bicknell was the Female Player of the Year in the Global Poker Index in 2019. She will again receive an award at the Global Poker Awards in Las Vegas in March 2020 for her accomplishments. Notably, she was also third on the GPI rankings for all Canadian players, both male and female.

Women of Poker’s Past, Present, and Future

Xuan Liu ranks second among women in Canada with regard to the live tournament arena. She has had a long and successful career in poker for many years, having traveled the world to play live when not playing online poker.

Liu has won events as far away as in Macau for the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) to Canada for the World Poker Tour’s Fallsview Poker Classic. She doesn’t play as much as she once did, but she does have more than $1.9 million in earnings to her name to date.


Some of the others on the list play very little poker anymore. Evelyn Ng has not played in live tournaments in nearly a decade, and Isabelle Mercier plays only occasionally.

Kara Scott does play but spends most of her time as a spokesperson and poker ambassador for 888poker. She lives in Europe and plays more infrequently today due to her new role as a parent, but she continues to be a major part of the poker world. Most fans will recognize her from World Series of Poker broadcasts where she is a lead anchor for the television show.


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