Platinum Pass Winner Jacqueline Burkhart Always at the Fun Table in the PSPC

Platinum Pass Winner Jacqueline Burkhart Always at the Fun Table in the PSPC

Jacqueline Burkhart

Table Of Contents

  • Goals in the PSPC
  • Writing Her Way to the Bahamas
  • PSPC Grind So Far
  • PSPC Day 3 Table Draw for Jacqueline Burkhart

While some Platinum Pass winners may look to hide their qualifier status from the sharks swarming about in the $25K buy-in PSPC, Jacqueline Burkhart does the opposite.

“I’m hoping they are [aware I’m a Platinum Pass winner]," she told PokerNews. "I make sure to talk about it a lot, and that I clean teeth and that I’m a mom… Because I would like for them to underestimate me. That’s like one of the only advantages I might have.”

The full-time dental hygienist from the Portland area may not be a pro, but playing cards is in her blood. She also has $80K in Hendon Mob cashes, including a fifth-place finish in the most recent $1,000 WSOP Ladies Event.

“I’m not afraid; I just maybe don’t have as many technical skills as they do.”

Goals in the PSPC

Calm and collected when she talked to us at the final break of Day 2, Burkhart is putting no pressure on herself and has no monetary goals in the $25K tournament she’s currently competing in.

“I’m just looking at this all as a family vacation with a bonus, and my goal every day is to have fun. I’m always at the fun table; I make it so.”

"I would like for them to underestimate me. That’s like one of the only advantages I might have.”

Burkhart let us in on her tactics for assuring her table is "the fun table."

“I’m just forcing them to talk to me. Everyone that sits down I say ‘welcome to the fun table.’ I ask them where they’re from, we talk about flossing. I make sure that they’re flossing.”

Here in the Bahamas with her husband Adam and son Zane, Burkhart’s only other goals are to play her best and learn.

“I’ve been at a couple tough tables and I just try to use that opportunity to observe players that are better than me, see what they do and why that works and stay out of their way if I can. Just kind of trying to survive and not make mistakes.”

The biggest difference she’s noticed in the PSPC from the smaller events she’s accustomed to playing is the length of the levels, and she’s focused on taking her time and not forcing the action. It seems to be working out so far.

Jacqueline Burkhart
Jacqueline Burkhart finished fifth in the 2018 WSOP Ladies Event.

Writing Her Way to the Bahamas

Burkhart won her $30K pass through Maria Konnikova’s #mypokerStory competition, with submissions judged on originality, story flow and cohesion, observable relevance to poker, clarity, and overall artistry. At first, Burkhart debated even making a submission.

“I didn’t really feel like I had anything very interesting to say,” she said. “I work and I’m a mom and I play $1/$2 cash and some tournaments now and then. But I just thought I’d give it a try because I used to write a lot, like back in high school.”

Originally planning to compete in multiple Platinum Pass challenges, once she got writing, it consumed all of her extra time.

“I put all my eggs in one basket.”

Maybe for the best, as “Shuffle Up and Deal” was judged as the winning entry.

"I’m always at the fun table; I make it so.”

“I just tried to make it really personal and kind of funny.”

The result was a very relatable and compelling story of growing up playing cards with the family and the heartbreak that comes with watching a parent develop an irreversible neurological disease.

“In the end, I was really glad I wrote it, even if it didn’t win, because I spent a lot of time on it and it turned out nice, and I would just be happy to have it and look back on it later in life.”

In her story, she explains how poker has helped her in other aspects of life.

I’m far from a professional poker player. I started playing for camaraderie, respect and inclusion. What I ended up gaining was a certain confidence in interacting with adults that has helped me in all aspects of life. I’ve picked up a willingness to take calculated risks and be wrong and move on without letting my ego become too involved. This is useful in poker, but also in sports, relationships and work.

“In the end, I was really glad I wrote it, even if it didn’t win."

Before she found out she won, Burkhart sent one of the influential characters in the story, Gramma Nance, a paper copy.

“She made like a million copies and passed them out at church and told everyone I was going to win. ‘She’s going to win! She’s going to win! This story’s so good, how could she not win?’”

Needless to say, Gramma Nance was beyond excited upon hearing the news that she was right about her granddaughter’s piece. In the story, Burkhart recounts when Gramma Nance lost a big pot with table stakes not in play and she ended up insisting on writing Burkhart’s husband, Adam, a check to cover what she owed to the pot. If Burkhart wins the millions in this one, she might just finally get Nance to accept repayment for that $68.

PSPC Grind So Far

After finishing Day 1 just below starting stack with 54,300 chips, Burkhart’s Day 2 got off to a good start with a double through Chance Kornuth when her pocket jacks held against his ace-king. She chipped up from there and by the final break of the day, was sitting with around 280,000 and hadn’t been at risk since that early double.

Burkhart eliminated a short-stacked Andrew Neeme later in the day, but had just lost 100,000 when she doubled up Upeshka De Silva before the break. In the hand, she ran pocket tens into De Silva’s aces in a spot where he didn’t have quite enough to make her fold. Before she called though, she was having some fun with “Pesh” while she tried to get some information out of him.

"It’s too boring to just wait for hands and be silent and stare at each other.”

“We were talking about flossing all day so I said, ‘If I double you up, are you going to promise to floss every day?’ He didn’t say anything and I finally called, and he had a bag of pistachio nuts on the ground. Before he even turned his hand over, he just grabbed the bag of nuts and threw them on the table and said, ‘Nuts!’

“Half the table might be annoyed by me, but it’s too boring to just wait for hands and be silent and stare at each other.”

Burkhart returns to Day 3 with 285,000 chips, good for 36 big blinds; she’s one of 54 pass winners still in, with 207 returning. She’ll be starting out at a table with the likes of Christoph Vogelsang, Darren Elias, Jonathan Abdellatif, and Alex Keating with the $25,450 money bubble looming as the top 181 will be paid. Burkhart will be looking once again to attain her goals of making good decisions and guaranteeing she’s always at the fun table, though a big score would be a nice bonus.

“It would be cool if I made some money because I’m donating 10% of my winnings to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. It’d be cool to write them a check.”

PSPC Day 3 Table Draw for Jacqueline Burkhart

Table Seat Name Country Chip Count Big Blinds
20 1 Nabil Cardoso Spain 146,000 18
20 2 Jonathan Abdellatif Belgium 218,000 27
20 3 Jacqueline Burkhart United States 285,000 36
20 4 Filippo Filardo Italy 280,000 35
20 5 Alin Grasu Romania 126,000 16
20 6 Christoph Vogelsang Germany 483,000 60
20 7 Alex Keating United States 221,000 28
20 8 Darren Elias United States 411,000 51

You can follow Burkhart’s progress in the PSPC right here as the live reporting team brings updates through the completion of the event, and the rest of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Jacqueline Burkhart
Jacqueline Burkhart


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  • #mypokerStory Platinum Pass winner Jacqueline Burkhart talks having fun with the pros in the $25K buy-in.

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