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Final Table Takedown: Kyna England

MSPT POY Winner Breaks Down WPT Final Table

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Mar 23, 2022


Kyna England Credit: WPTKyna England hails from Chicago and recently moved to Las Vegas. She has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Illinois, where she also discovered the game of poker.

England loves talking about the game and sharing her experiences. She began teaching in 2020 during the pandemic through the website, which has a goal of teaching one million women the game of poker. She worked her way from $300 buy-ins to being able to play the WSOP main event in a little over two years.

England had a spectacular year on the felt, finishing as the highest ranked woman in the Card Player POY race, taking 40th place overall. She cashed numerous times on the Mid-States Poker Tour, including a third-place showing in Iowa for $73,782 and a win in Minnesota worth $186,709. As a result of her tour dominance, she was crowed the 2021 MSPT Player of the Year.

The biggest score of her career, however, came in July when she took third in the $5,000 buy-in World Poker Tour main event at the Venetian in Las Vegas. After navigating her way through most of a massive field of 1,199 players, she earned a $444,755 payday.

Stacks: Kyna England – 200,000 (200 BB) Jordan Cristos – 70,000 (70 BB)
Blinds: 500-1,000 with a 1,000 BB ante
Players: 9

CT: What was your read on Jordan? I’ve worked with him in the past and I’ve enjoyed the way he looks at the game. Very different than most.

KE: Yes. Jordan is a very interesting player. He thinks for quite a long time before he acts and makes very unconventional plays.

Cristos raised to 7,500 from under-the-gun and action folded to England on the button.

KE: I have 7Diamond Suit 7Spade Suit. Now I would rarely three-bet here, but his open was so big. I knew if I three-bet it would look very strong. Also, I can represent big hands on the flop. And if I had hit my actual hand, it would be pretty well disguised. So, after clarifying, “How much is it?” I thought for a minute, and I made it…

England three-bet to 22,500. Cristos tanked and then called.

CT: What range of hands for Jordan are you putting him on?

KE: I felt like he didn’t have A-X of any sort, because he might have just gone all-in or folded. I thought maybe J-J, 10-10, 9-9 or some K-X suited combos.

Flop: AClub Suit JClub Suit 4Heart Suit (pot: 47,500)

Cristos checked.

CT: What’s the plan?

KE: He checked very quickly, which is unusual. I knew if I bet toward a larger sizing, he would probably give it up.

England bet 45,000.

CT: Why the larger sizing? I know the trend now can be one-quarter to one-third pot for continuation bets.

KE: I would bet that sizing if I had any A-X combos, which at this point I felt like I was more likely to have. I was only worried he might have had J-J. Who knows if this was bluffing with the best hand? But he folded quickly.

Cristos folded and England dragged the pot.

CT: What is the main takeaway you want to share about this hand?

KE: Sometimes you must combat an unconventional play with another unconventional play. With large opens it can be uncomfortable to three-bet on a bluff, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try in the right spot. This time it happened to work out, next time it might not. That doesn’t make it wrong.

Stacks: Kyna England – 3,400,000 (56 BB) Tony Wasaya – 1,900,000 (31 BB) Michael Mizrachi – 2,700,000 (45 BB)
Blinds: 30,000–60,000 with a 60,000 BB ante
Players Remaining: 11

Action folded to England on the button holding AClub Suit 9Heart Suit and she raised to 130,000.

CT: Set this hand up for us.

KE: The player in the small blind was Tony Wasaya. He had been short stacked the whole time. The player in the big blind was Michael Mizrachi, who consistently would roll his eyes at a lot of my plays. I would typically open here with any Ace. But many times, a lot wider than that, since I had them both covered. I don’t think I played this hand very well, but I did learn quite a bit from studying the overall situation in this spot. I talked through it later with some of my friends and colleagues. 

Wasaya called, as did Mizrachi.

Flop: AHeart Suit 9Spade Suit 9Diamond Suit (pot: 450,000)

CT: Nice flop.

KE: Yes. Poker is easy! (laughs)

Both players checked to England.

CT: Should you bet or slow play here?

KE: I thought maybe I should check back because my hand is so strong. However, I landed on a small bet because that is most likely what I would do if I had an ace or if I didn’t have an ace. I’m going to get value from worse aces and worse nines.

England bet 225,000. Wasaya called, and Mizrachi folded.

Turn: 5Heart Suit (pot: 900,000)

Wasaya checked, and England checked behind.

CT: What? No turn bet. What went through your mind?

KE: In this spot I figured checking back was better, because I will get a value bet from most aces and most nines on the river. There aren’t many draws. And I don’t want to fold out smaller pocket pairs that would have floated the flop bet that would possibly try to find thin value on the river. I think a check back here is good. With this kind of pay jump pressure, I don’t have many hands that go for three streets of value anyway, that aren’t the exact hand that I have. Better to try to get some value on the river.

River: JClub Suit (pot: 900,000)

KE: This probably doesn’t help him, and it makes it harder to get value from smaller pocket pairs as well. But to my surprise…

Wasaya bet 300,000.

CT: Small bet. What was he trying to tell you?

KE: It was very small. I don’t think I thought this spot through very well. I had such a dominating hand that when I raised on the river it was going to be hard to get a call. However, it did look like a small blocker bet, so I put in a small (way too small) raise of…

England raised to 800,000.

CT: What hands are you targeting with that sizing?

KE: I am hoping to get called by an ace. However, he did call quickly.

Wasaya called and revealed KSpade Suit 9Spade Suit. England won the pot of 2,500,000.

CT: Sounds like you had some regrets about this hand.

KE: Definitely. I should have just put him all-in. The times he does have a worse nine I always get a call, and my small raise is so fishy that he probably folds any hand that does not contain a nine, the way the hand played out.

And, by putting pressure on him at this stage of the tournament it looks a little more like a bluff. Sometimes I would get called by A-J or other A-X hands that he might not want to raise with preflop. And because of the pressure, if I am bluffing there, sometimes he folds an ace as well because the pay jumps were about $20,000. 

CT: What did you learn the most from going back and analyzing this hand?

KE: It’s helped me in future hands knowing this kind of spot better. I can better maximize value and balance out my bluffing spots. I think in spots like this it is better to make a big bet that sometimes gets called, rather than a small bet that always gets called. The goal is to win the tournament, not play it safe.  

Stacks: Kyna England – 13,000,000 (130 BB) Mike Liang – 8,00,000 (80 BB)
Blinds: 50,000-100,000 with a 100,000 BB ante
Players Remaining: 7

Craig Tapscott: Set this up for us Kyna.

Kyna England: This is the unofficial final table. The pay jump is nearing $100,000. This is the biggest spot I have ever been in in my life. I was chip leader with 13 million. I had played to Mike Liang’s left all of day 2 and had gotten the opportunity to get to know him and watch him play.

Liang raised from the button to 225,000. England was in the big blind and called holding 8Diamond Suit 6Diamond Suit.

CT: What was your read on Liang when you made this call?

KE: He opened from the button which he would do very wide, even wider than most players at a final table this big. He had a very intimidatingly aggressive style that I had picked up on over the previous days. He is quite a scary player. So, I defended with this suited connector.

Flop: 9Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit 4Heart Suit (pot: 600,000)

England checked and Liang bet 400,000.

CT: Pretty good flop for you, but a big bet from him. Perhaps just trying to shut you down with a so-so hand.

KE: I know. The bet was on the larger side, so I figured maybe he had bottom pair or ace high. I didn’t want to make the pot too big at these pay jump levels, so I just called with the open-ended straight draw.

Turn: 10Heart Suit (pot: 1,400,000)

Liang bet 650,000.

CT: What was the range you put on him after the turn bet?

KE: This seemed like a very small bet again, so I put him on a lot of A-X holdings with maybe the AHeart Suit or just a small pair. I had a straight though, so I thought now would be a good time to juice it. I didn’t think he would bet the flush draw in position if he had it at this stage of the game. Also, I thought my hand was well disguised here, so I made it…

England raised to 1,600,000. Liang called.

KE: When he called, I thought for sure he just had just one pair with possibly the redraw for the hearts.

RIVER: QDiamond Suit (pot: 4,600,000)

England bet 1,200,000.

CT: Why did you choose this bet sizing?

KE: I bet smaller hoping for just a call. I thought that even if he did have a small flush, he would probably just call there. But…

Liang raised to 4,000,000.

CT: What now?

KE: I didn’t like my bet sizing. In hindsight, I wish I had made a bigger bet here.

CT: Why?

KE: Because I would have bet bigger if I had the flush. Perhaps something like 2,200,000. And then he probably would have just called, which would have saved me some chips.

CT: How likely was your hand to be good?

KE: I had seen him do a lot of strange raising on the river with just top pair or two pair. I thought for a long time. Honestly, the flop bet is what made me think he didn’t have the flush, even though I wasn’t blocking it. And my hand is very disguised. He could have thought he was value raising with just top pair or two pair. If I did call, I would still have around 30 big blinds, which is playable, but not ideal at a final table this big. After using three of my time chips, I found a call. I was wrong.

England called. Liang turned over 6Heart Suit 3Heart Suit. Liang won the pot of 12,600,000.

KE: He had the flush draw with a gutter, which I am ashamed to admit didn’t cross my mind. I didn’t think he would reraise a weak flush like that, but he was right and played the hand very well. I went from chip leader to middle of the pack very quickly. ♠