Interview: Vanessa Kade discusses ACR signing, $1.5m win, and Dan Bilzerian

vanessa kade poker bilzerian
Jon Sofen
Posted on: March 27, 2021 04:15 PDT

Vanessa Kade, fresh off her $1.5 million win in the PokerStars Sunday Millions, spoke to about her big victory. The Canadian poker player also addressed her recent signing with Americas Cardroom and her recent feud with Dan Bilzerian, whom she refers to as a misogynyst.

"It's been three days now, and to be honest, I still don't feel like it's real that I won $1.5 million," Kade told in an interview.

Now you know who I am

Kade won that life-changing money in a 69,000-player tournament on PokerStars. It was far and away her best win, and it came just a few months after Bilzerian, who claims he's won over $50 million playing poker, referred to her as a "hoe" and called her a nobody.

"Maybe he just doesn't know a ton about what's going on in the poker industry, because I feel like I've been around for quite a while," she said of Bilzerian's insulting comments.

Kade refers to Bilzerian, who frequently posts photos on social media with scantily clad women and guns, as a misogynist. Phil Nagy, the CEO of Winning Poker Network, which owns Americas Cardroom, came to Kade's defense back in December on Twitter. He even offered to stake her in a heads-up match against the social media playboy. Would she be interest in playing?

"I would one-thousand percent play him heads-up, yeah, definitely," Kade said about the possibility of a heads-up match against Bilzerian.

Don't hold your breath waiting for this match to happen. Bilzerian doesn't ever actually face quality opposition at the poker table.

ACR boss to the rescue

When Nagy stood up for the recent poker champion, she gained even more respect for him. But, as she says, that wasn't the only reason she signed on as an ambassador for the Americas Cardroom poker site, it simply solidified her decision. She had already been discussing the possibility with the WPN CEO.

When Bilzerian signed with GGPoker, a site she often promoted, Kade took offense to the move because of what she believes to be a history of misogynistic behavior by Bilzerian. She took to Twitter to lash out at the poker site. A few months later, GGPoker terminated her affiliate account due to the critical comments she made.

Kade also received some backlash from Bilzerian followers and some members of the poker community. But the attacks didn't deter her from standing up for what she believes in — gender equality.

"I think there was definitely a time (verbal attacks would deter me), but I think as I got exposed to enough of it and maybe spending a lot of time on Twitch, where you have to deal with occasional vulgar trolls, I have slowly gotten more immune to it."

Instead of paying attention to those who fling nasty comments her way, she prefers to focus on those who are more civil, which is the majority of the poker community.

What to do with $1.5 million

After scoring a seven-figure payday, many poker players go out and buy a Lambo, a fancy house, stock up on some bling, or take all their friends on a dream vacation. Kade has other plans for the life-changing money she just won.

"I don't plan on buying anything extravagant," the poker pro claims. "I want to buy a nice new laptop so that I can stream off it a little easier, I need some really basic boring things. I was already going to buy those things anyway, like new jeans and stuff like that. Everything that I think is on my wish list that I would bother getting right now could all be bought for less than $20,000."

That leaves her about $1,480,000 to put away and save for the future. Perhaps she'll one day use that money to put Dan Bilzerian in his place at the poker table.

Inequality in poker

Kade, a poker pro residing in Vancouver who strongly believes in gender equality, knows that women are underrepresented in the game. In any random packed poker room, on any given day, you'd be lucky to find more than 10 or 12 ladies seated at the tables.

In the WSOP Main Event each year, out of around 7,000 players, women represent only about 4-percent of the field. Kade has a solution to the problem on how to attract more women to the game.

"To me, it's a two-part problem, and the very first thing we have to do is to fix the environment," she said. "If half the women are coming in and having a negative experience and not wanting to return because it's not fun, that's not a good thing because we need to remember that the whole point of poker is to have fun, and if it's not a fun experience, they're not going to want to come back."

"So, I think the first thing is fixing the environment and making it a welcoming environment for everyone," Kade continued. "I think we need to have that first before we start a bunch of initiatives that interest women, which would be the second part, but as long as we don't fix the first part, any effort we're spending to bring a bunch of women in to an environment that's not ideal is basically going to be half or less effective."

Featured image source: Twitter