Poker history was made last Sunday night during the WPT Bellagio Five Star World Poker Classic. For the first time ever in the poker history a women’s tournament required a record buy-in of $1,500 – in the past, the WSOP Ladies Event buy-in had been capped at $1,000 and never exceeded this amount.
This year, that amount was exceeded by an astounding 50%, quite a leap. There was a bit of controversy that cast a shadow over this most recent tournament. An impressive 150 players showed up for the tournament. So what’s the catch? Six of the 150 players turned out to be of a more phallic sex.
Some of the women were not too pleased to be sharing their girls-only tournament with a few shabby men, and spearheading a boycott of the event was none other than female poker superstar Susie Isaacs. Adding to the controversy was a 15% mandatory charitable donation that was not known beforehand to any of the entrants. But in spite of these two unexpected glitches the tournament went on as scheduled.
The Bellagio tournament was frequented by several well known professional and semi-professional women poker plays including Kathy Liebert, Jan Fisher, Linda Johnson, Van Nguyen, Karina Jett, Erica Schoenberg, Jennifer Tilly, Full Tilt pro J.J. Liu and Evelyn Ng just to name a few.
There seems to be a new name to look out for: up and coming poker maverick Vanessa Selbst, a new but dominating face in women’s poker, took an early chip lead and managed to amass a huge stack that added up to well over 100,000 in chips going into the final round. Selbst won a seat to this event by taking first place in a heads-up match against Erica Schoenberg at the Commerce LA Open ladies event.
Six players remain at this point and will return on April 25th to play in a televised final table. The players will have to prove themselves, showing that they can play under the pressure created by the lights, cameras and crowds watching every single move.
The six players who made the final table lineup, with chip counts:
Seat 1 – Nancy Todd Tyner – 107,400
Seat 2 – Janice Kim – 32,900
Seat 3 – Cindy Kerslake – 16,400
Seat 4 – Vanessa Selbst – 182,200
Seat 5 – Donna Varlotto – 68,600
Seat 6 – Van Nguyen – 42,300