Heather Alcorn has spent a lot of time under the bright lights of the ‘Mothership’ stage at the World Series of Poker – more time than Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey or any of your other favorite players.
That’s because Alcorn, the 2019 WSOP Dealer of the Year, has slung cards at the WSOP Main Event final table on multiple occasions and spent over a decade dealing some of the highest-profile and highest-stakes events that poker has to offer.
She’s no slouch as a player, either. In 2018, Alcorn won the 2018 WSOP Circuit Main Event at Caesars Southern Indiana, taking home a career-best $129,654 along with the Circuit ring. And so it’s no surprise that Alcorn is in the money in the 2023 WSOP Main Event – in the mix and chasing history as she looks to become the first person to be at the WSOP Main Event final table as both a dealer and a player.
It’s Alcorn’s first cash in three attempts in the WSOP Main Event, and $15,000 represents her third-biggest career cash to date. And in considering her successes as a poker player, Alcorn believes strongly that they may well not have been possible without her many years of experience in the box, watching some of the best players in the world do what they do best.
“I love poker, obviously,” said Alcorn. “So when I’m dealing, I’m paying attention, I’m watching the everybody and reading them and getting to know them. And I see them over and over. I can’t sit down at a table not knowing someone at the table and how they play. So that helps me a lot already. I don’t have to sit and watch them for a few minutes to figure it out.”
One of her higher-profile gigs, during the WSOP Main Event, actually helped give Alcorn an edge over a pro at her table early on in the Main Event.
“My second day, I was at the table with a guy from my very first final table [that I dealt],” said Alcorn. “I’ve sat and obviously watched a lot of hands with him, so that helped a lot. Plus, I’m a little more comfortable at a featured table or anything with cameras around, it doesn’t bother me.”
When she’s not in the midst of making a run at a $12.1 million first-place prize, Alcorn operates the Poker Life Dealer Academy. Utilizing her own experiences, Alcorn runs classes – predominantly in her home state of Missouri – that allows dealers to do what Alcorn has and work their way up the ranks at the WSOP and at events worldwide.
“That’s kind of one of my bonuses for my students,” said Alcorn. “They actually know that I’ve been up there on TV, and I can teach them how to get to that spot, which, honestly, for most dealers that’s where they want to be.”
Right now, where Alcorn wants to be is right where she is – in the mix in the WSOP Main Event with less than 1,000 players remaining. Her stack at the start of the day was 518,000, but by the end of the first level it had slipped after a call with top pair and a straight draw went sideways.
“It’s a great thing because I’m running very bad so far on Day 4,” said Alcorn. “I don’t know if you looked at my stack, but I’ve already lost almost all of it. I just ran into a horrible river suckout against a guy trying to bluff, and he made a straight on the river. I’m down to 200K, and I haven’t been that low in days.”
Still, having been a part of many WSOP Main Events has given Alcorn the patience to know she has time to pick her spot and rebuild. If the first three days of her run are any indication, a hot run of cards could be right around the corner.
“I have had very few good hands, and I am still deep in the Main Event,” said Alcorn. “That’s really hard to do in any other tournament. I literally haven’t had the nuts one time. I’ve had several good hands, and some better hands. But I’ve literally never had the nuts. I’ve never been comfortable betting or shoving or anything like that, and I can still have a good stack in the Main Event.”