Power couple Foxen and Bicknell top out Day 1 chip counts at Wynn $10 million

Jon Pill
Posted on: June 28, 2021 12:25 PDT

Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell have each got a top ten chip stack going into Day 2 of the Wynn Millions.

The power-poker couple announced their engagement back in May. There's over $1 million dollars each in play for the top two finishers in the Wynn Millions event. If both Bicknell and Foxen run deep, they'll be on track to fund one hell of a wedding.

Foxen starts Day 2 in seventh with 295,500 in chips. Bicknell starts in eighth with 282,000 in chips. Both lag just behind Bryn Kenney, who is in first. Kenney carries a substantial lead right now, and a chip stack of 376,500.

The couple sit near the top of a list of big names who remain in play. These include Daniel Negreanu, Darren Elias, Jared Jaffee, Shaun Deeb, Vanessa Kade, Jason Koon, and Joseph Cheong.

Battle of the sexes

Kristen Bicknell has a touch over $5 million dollars in live tournament cashes, according to the Hendon Mob. These include two bracelet-winning runs at live WSOP events. She also has a WSOP online bracelet from last year's series.

Alex Foxen seems to have enormously benefited from his time dating a tournament pro. His live tournament winnings are a little over $17 million, the vast majority of which he won since 2017, after he and Bicknell hooked up.

Bicknell has previously described the experience of playing with her fiancee. "In a way, it is really fun but then there are some spots that feel really frustrating because I want him to do well but I want to do well," she said in an interview in 2018. "We both want to win and both want each other to win but that’s not possible so it is a little hard."

She added: "We talk poker all the time and that makes it a little difficult in hands because we kind of know what each other is thinking."

Today's play (Day 2AB) will run for five 90-minute levels "with no dinner break." The remaining players from Days 1C and 1D will have a similar day tomorrow. All remaining players will then combine into one flight for Day 3.

Collusion course

The pair have had simultaneous deep runs before. Back in 2018, their joint appearance at the final table of the MSPT Venetian $5k led to accusations of soft playing.

They ultimately took first and second in that event, splitting $439,000 between them. James Obst in particular led the charge, suggesting that they may have softplayed each other, if not actively colluded.

The three-handed scenario was described by Obst as "watching behavior that isn’t representative of two people trying to beat each other," in a now deleted tweet.

The couple was aware of the potential for criticism as they played. Bicknell suggested a chop three handed, most likely to avoid the scenario where anyone might question their integrity. Foxen rejected the offer.

In particular, one hand heads up saw Bicknell make an impressive fold of aces on the river when she was beaten. Joey Ingram tweeted about the hand defending the couple.

"I haven't seen the rest of the action but I'm not sure this hand is that ridiculous?" Ingram wrote. "Probably some sick relationship meta-game going on."

"As soon as that hand was played I knew there would be an insane amount of criticism," Foxen told interviewers at the time. "When she knows and I know exactly how the other one is thinking it’s a spot that’s weird. You put ICM on top of that and you have to fold everything but kings on that river."

If Bicknell and Foxen make another final table, this history of accusations will give them an entire additional PR meta-game to deal with. One imagines the potential million-dollar paydays might take the sting out of any criticism of their play this time around.

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT