Although one of the more massive events of the 2011 World Series of Poker was taking place around them, the players in the Ladies Championship and in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship seemed to be oblivious to the action. The Ladies Event completed play on Sunday, while the $50K steamed along to crowning a champion come Wednesday.
Event #53 – $1000 Ladies No Limit Hold’em Championship – Final Day
With thirteen women – and one man, Jonathan Epstein – coming back to determine a champion in this event on Sunday, there was a bit of vitriol in the air due to Epstein’s presence. Epstein, who is the younger brother of former ESPN “Inside Deal” host Laura Lane, might not have expected such a backlash from the railbirds in attendance, but it was evident from the start of the final day of play.
Within the first hour of play, the unofficial ten handed final table was determined, with Carol Tomlinson at the head of the field. Carrying the Canadian flag banner to the table was Quebec’s Genevieve Gloutnez, who sat in the middle of the field with her 340,000 in chips. Epstein was still in the mix, with his 162K in chips, but he was ahead of the short stacks of Karina Jett and Marsha Wolak.
Mercifully, Epstein was the first one to leave the final table. After she doubled up, Wolak took on the only male player left in the Ladies Event. After Wolak moved all in from the button, Epstein made the call for the remainder of his chip stack and tabled A-Q. This wasn’t good enough, as Wolak showed her pocket tens for a classic race situation. After some excitement with a K-J-2 flop, another King fell on the turn and an innocuous six on the river ended the tournament for Epstein. To the chagrin of no one, Epstein quickly dashed away from the table in ninth place.
Genevieve couldn’t gain any traction once entering the final table and was eliminated on a cooler. With Katherine Stahl all in in front of her and a call from call from Carol Tomlinson, Genevieve moved in over the top of Tomlinson, only to see her immediately call. It was obvious why once the cards were tabled; Tomlinson held pocket Aces to Genevieve’s pocket Queens and Stahl’s pocket fives. Amazingly, a five hit the flop, giving Stahl the lead in the hand. Once the turn and river ran dry, Stahl had tripled up and Tomlinson eliminated Genevieve from the tournament in eighth place.
By the time the play was down to six handed, Tomlinson had worked her way out to a 3:1 lead over Wolak, but the fireworks were far from finished. Tomlinson dumped Stahl from the tournament in sixth place and, after Peg Ledman was eliminated by Valerie McColligan, the play was down to four handed. Jett decided to get into action at this point, doubling up through Tomlinson and eliminating McColligan in fourth to move to second place. Wolak would prove, however, to have Lady Luck on her side through three handed play.
Wolak worked her way into second past Jett, then scored a huge double up through Tomlinson to seize the lead. She would finish off Tomlinson to reach heads up play against Jett with a nearly 3:1 advantage, then Wolak and Jett decided to take their dinner break prior to heads up play. What happened after that break surprised many in the room.
Back from dinner, it took all of ONE hand for the champion to be determined. After Jett raised on the first hand back and Wolak called, the duo saw a Q-J-8 flop. Wolak checked her option to Jett, who bet out 70K, only to have Wolak check raise her all in. Jett made the call, tabling her K-10 open ended straight draw, but Wolak had hit with her Q-9 for top pair and a gutshot straight draw. The ten on the turn gave Wolak her straight, but opened up outs for Jett (any Ace or nine would make a bigger straight). Those outs didn’t come home as an innocent three came down the river, winning the tournament for Wolak.
Karina Jett, who has made the final table of this tournament twice previously, had to be happy with her second place performance in the 1055 player field. Due to deliver a child at any time, Jett will have $119,010 to do a little decorating and decimate other cash games and tournaments. But the champion of the Ladies Event is Marsha Wolak, who came from the short stack at the start of the final table to take home the WSOP bracelet and a $192,344 payday.
Event #54 – $1000 No Limit Hold’em – Day 1B
While the ladies determined a champion, the second Day One of the latest $1000 NLHE event kicked off action. After seeing 1932 players step up on Saturday, the Sunday entourage proved to be even bigger. 2644 players decided to fork over the $1000 on Sunday, bringing the total in the field up to 4576 and making for the second largest non-Main Event field in WSOP history.
When play begins on Monday, the 380 survivors from Day 1B will join up with the 275 players who made it through Saturday’s carnage for Day 2 action. According to WSOP statistics, Day 1A chip leader Paul Volpe will be the official Day 1 leader with his 124,500. Right behind him is Day 1B chip leader, Saint-Laurent’s Eric Afriat, who holds 100,200 in chips. Also in the Top Ten are Ontario’s Spencer Cossette and Quebec’s Vincent Jacques.
468 players will be paid out from the 655 players who come back on Monday, but there is a long way to go to the final table on Wednesday. When the champion is determined, that player will take home a $648,880 payday and the WSOP bracelet for their efforts.
Event #55 – $50,000 Poker Players Championship – Day 2
With only four eliminations on the first day of play on Saturday, Sunday’s Day 2 was expected to whittle the field much more. It lived up to expectations, as fifty players were dropped from the 124 returnees on Sunday. Unfortunately, two of those eliminations were Concord’s Pat Pezzin and Daniel Negreanu, who has had (for him) a particularly disappointing WSOP.
“Kid Poker” took part in many tournaments but has only been able to muster two cashes to this point for a total of $29,940 in 2011 WSOP earnings. Over the past few years, six figure earnings for Daniel have been the norm, including a massive 2009 when he earned well over a million dollars that was spurred by his second place finish at the WSOP Europe. This has been Negreanu’s worst performance at the WSOP since 2006, when he also earned two cashes for only $46,760 in earnings
With 74 players remaining, there are four Canadians who are still in the mix, but have some work to do. Vancouver’s Greg “FBT” Mueller started Day 2 in second place in chips and still is among the upper echelons of the leaderboard with his 320,200 in chips (24th place). Lorraine’s Guillaume Rivet (36th), Toronto’s Sorel Mizzi (47th) and Abbotsford’s Shawn Buchanan (59th) will have some work to do to catch up to chip leader and 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Ben Lamb’s 704,500 in chips.
Only sixteen players will take away cash from this tournament, which is expected to conclude on Wednesday night. The top two players will walk away with million dollar paydays, with second earning $1,063,034 and the champion taking the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, the WSOP bracelet and a $1,720,328 bounty.
It will be a calm Monday at the 2011 World Series of Poker as only the $1000 NLHE tournament and the Poker Players Championship will be taking place. Tuesday marks the final two preliminary tournaments on the WSOP schedule prior to the start of the $10,000 Championship Event on Thursday.