Poker pro and cash game grinder Jessica Dawley has come a long way to become the 2018 Ladies World Poker Champion. Born in Kentucky and growing up in a small town in Indiana, Dawley learned to play poker when she was six. In high school she supplemented her income playing small stakes home games.
After high school Dawley joined the US Air Force and played a lot of poker in her downtime. When 9/11 hit she was sent to the United Arab Emirates and on return she completed her military service as an intelligence analyst. She took a degree in marketing and management but decided that she wanted to be a poker pro and headed to Las Vegas to fulfill her dream. Dawley now lives in Florida.
Even though cash games are Dawley’s bread and butter she has been playing more tournaments for the last couple of years. Just two weeks ago she finished in 10th place of a 6-handed MSPT Event at the Venetian for $18,355. Dawley has been deep in the Millionaire Make and in WPT Events, but winning a big title had eluded her.
Going into the final day of play in the $1,000 Ladies Championship Dawley was second in chips and eyeing the bracelet. The 696 players who had signed up to play was down to just 10: Tara Cain, Tara Snow, Molly Mossey, Lisa Fong, Mesha James, Jill Pike, Jacqueline Burkhart, Weiyi Mo, Danielle Andersen and Jessica Dawley.
Poker pro Danielle Andersen ($6,799) was the first player to be eliminated when her queen-high straight lost to Dawley’s king-high straight. Tara Snow ($8,732) was the next one out, and poker writer and marketing director Molly Mossey ($11,411) followed in 8th place running a pair of sevens into Jill Pike’s pocket aces.
Pike was responsible for the next elimination as well. Weiyi Mo had moved all in with queen-nine and was looked up by Pike who was holding pocket sevens. The board did not help to Mo and she was sent to the rail in 7th place for $15,167.
Down to 6-handed play Dawley who was by far the most aggressive player was leading the way with Jill Pike hot on her heels. Tara Cain was getting short and when Dawley in the small blind put her all in she called from the big blind with pocket fives. Dawley was holding ace-six and she hit a six on the river to eliminate Tara Cain in 6th place for $20,499.
5th place went to Jacqueline Burkhart who was all in with ace-jack. Jill Pike had picked up a pair of aces once more and she called to eliminate Burkhart who took home $28,167 for her deep run.
With four players left Lisa Fong doubled through Dawley with a pair of jacks vs. Dawley’s ace-king. Fortunately for Dawley she went on to double through Mesha James with ace-king against pocket tens. The all in battle left Mesha James short stacked and she was eliminated in 4th place for $39,334 as she ran her king-ten into Lisa Fong’s ace-queen.
Down to three players Dawley kept the pressure on and she eliminated Lisa Fong in 3rd place when she picked up kings and called a shove from Fong who was all in with ace-six and failed to improve. Fong took home $55,812 for her deep run.
The two chip leaders at the start of the day now found themselves heads up. The heads up battle only lasted four hands though as a short stacked Jill Pike shoved with and was called by Dawley with . When the board ran out Jill Pike was eliminated in 2nd place for $80,444 – and Jessica Dawley was crowned champion.
Jessica Dawley takes home $130,230 for her impressive performance. In an interview with PokerWomenNews back in 2014 she said: “women are harder to read in my experience”, but this time around it all worked out for the ambitious and hardworking grinder who has come such a long way to call herself the new Ladies World Poker Champion.