Catching Up With WPT ‘Ones to Watch’ Candace Collins

Candace Collins is the last WPT Ones to Watch standing at the 2015 LA Poker Classic.

Candace Collins is the last WPT Ones to Watch standing at the 2015 LA Poker Classic.

Candace Collins made her first big splash on the World Poker Tour in 2014, when a deep run in the Bay 101 Shooting Star Classic ended just shy of a final table, in 14th. The Northern California native was named one of the WPT Ones to Watch this season, and she’s back on the WPT’s California Swing to try to make another impact in her home state.

As Day 3 of the LA Poker Classic gets underway, Collins is one of 120 players still in the hunt at the Commerce Casino. She has an opportunity to kick off the California Swing in a big way and head into the home stretch of Season XIII with all the momentum she could need.

“I haven’t played a ton of events yet this season but I feel very strong,” said Collins. “I’m excited to be here at the LAPC. It’s my second year at the LAPC, and last year here was my first WPT. I feel really good about this season.”

If Collins is fortunate enough to outlast half the remaining Day 3 field and make the money, it would be her first tournament cash of 2015.

“This year so far has been a little bit rocky, up and down for me as far as cash play and tournament play,” said Collins, “But now I’m here. I’m less than average chips but I feel very calm and confident so I’m excited.”

Self awareness can be a tough thing for a poker player, especially if things aren’t going their way. Knowing yourself and your state of mind is one thing, but with poker tournaments running all over the country and around the world on an almost daily basis these days the pull of the road can be very strong.

“I do pick and choose my spots [now],” said Collins. “I actually found myself playing a few too many tournaments, I think, so I took some time. For me, it was just a three, four-day weekend, to visit family. That always helps me just get my mind back in and that’s what I did a couple weekends ago. I feel like I definitely would recommend taking a break if you’re grinding too much, because it just helps refresh your brain and everything, for me at least.”

Even daily escapes can have a major effect on mindset and mood. Getting away from the table every once in a while can be crucial.

“I love to work out. I love yoga,” said Collins. “I’m trying to get more into yoga and get better at it. I love hiking. I live in Northern California. There’s a lot of beautiful areas to hike. I don’t have a ton of extracurricular activities that I do but I try to do as many new things as I can. If friends suggest something new I’m all for it. I love competitive anything, obviously.”

No matter how Day 3 and beyond play out at the LA Poker Classic for Collins, she’ll be heading North and closer to home once things wrap up.

“Yes, I’m going to definitely be at the Bay 101 and Rolling Thunder after that,” said Collins. “Thunder Valley has a great poker room. It’s actually like a 2-1/2 hour drive for me and that’s the nearest really nice casino. Ben Erwin is awesome there, so I’ll be there for sure.”

Day 3 is sure to be a fight from the get-go for Collins, but it nearly didn’t get even that far. Midway through the day Collins played a big pot with Adam Friedman that nearly cost her her entire stack. She called a small four-bet from Friedman preflop and raised on the flop, only for Friedman to shove and put her to a decision for her final 17,000 chips.

She tanked well into a break before letting it go, and her table broke soon after they returned from that break. Friedman wasn’t her only cause for concern there, and the timing of the table change likely saved her from a Day 2 elimination.

“I felt a lot better that that table broke because I just felt like I was digging myself into a hole once I got over there and it had Aaron Massey next to me – he’s a beast.”

Collins continued to fight and made it through to the end of Day 2. She’s the last of the Ones to Watch in the LAPC, and while Collins has her sights set on her second cash of Season XIII she’s got a tough table draw to deal with to start Day 3.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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