One of the great features of poker is that it attracts people from all walks of life. You may find yourself sat next to a professional poker player, a solicitor, or in the case of Cat “misscat87” Winch, a teacher.

By day, Cat is a performing arts teacher who mostly teaches music. By night, Cat transforms into an avid poker player, one who has to shuffle the inflexibility that teaching creates with her passion for cards. Recently, Cat won the $109 buy-in $50,000 guaranteed Uppercut for $9,625 and followed that up with a sixth place in the same tournament a couple of nights later.

“I went to bed at 4:30am and had to be back up at 6:00am! I couldn’t sleep because I was really excited, but I survived thanks to lots of coffee.”

Cat was introduced to this crazy game while she was studying at university. Her housemates were all males, with one in particular being fond of poker himself, which sparked Cat’s own interest.

“When I was at university all my housemates were lads, and one of them played online poker so I started playing. He’d play in one room and I’d play in one of the other rooms and see who could last longer in tournaments. I went to poker nights at the university and then got involved in Redtooth Poker (a pub league) and won a trip to Vegas by winning the West Midlands regional.”

Like most poker players who head to Vegas, Cat wants to return to “Sin City,” but being tied to her school’s term times restricts her ability to do so, so her wish of playing at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is on hold for the time being. However, Cat does have plans to take poker even more seriously over the next couple of years and make her dream become a reality.

“If I can do two good years online then I’m hoping to go part-time with teaching, perhaps do supply teaching, and then I’d have the time to go to Vegas. Build enough bankroll to go to Vegas and also support myself if I wasn’t in a full time job so I’d have more control over my holidays.”

Until she can get out to Vegas, Cat is content with grinding online at partypoker and playing live events such as the Grand Prix Poker Tour (GPPT). At the Old Trafford leg of the GPPT, Cat finished 20th, narrowly missing out on a big payday, one that could have been huge as she had a Golden Chip in her possession.

“I got so close and had a Golden Chip too so wanted to reach the final table, but I literally had 10 big blinds all day. Each time I got more chips, the blinds went up! The tournaments are great value though, you get almost a Vegas-style tournament except it’s only £70 to enter, and the number of Day 1s makes it easy to play. As I’m a teacher, I can’t always get to play so the Players Choice are great, that’s how I got my Old Trafford seat. I definitely want to play at Leeds.”

Until the Vegas dream comes true, perhaps after winning GPPT Elland Road, Cat plans to continue grinding on partypoker where she is a sponsored player through the staking site Bankroll Supply.

“Yeah, I’m part of Bankroll Supply. It takes pressure off in relation to my bankroll, but I don’t really do it for the bankroll side, I do it for the support and the mentoring; it’s a really great team of people. Sylvia Hewitt is my mentor, and if she’s not available for coaching then one of the other guys will do it. They’re really supportive if you’re running deep we all rail each other, I really enjoy that, plus if you’re running bad and feeling down they’ll pick you back up.”

If you play any tournaments at Dusk Till Dawn or are online at partypoker on an evening, you may bump into Cat at the tables. She tries to play The Jab, Contender, and Uppercut three nights per week, and is a regular in the satellites to the $109 tickets. Make sure you say hi to “misscat87” at the felt because she is up for a bit of banter, just don’t underestimate her abilities as a poker player just because she’s of the fairer sex.

“There are some who think you’ll be easy to play against because you’re a woman, I’ll hopefully show them that that’s not the case.”

We’re sure you will, Cat.

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