Two women started in contention for the world championship on Day 5 as the field has finally been narrowed to double digits. Only Maria Ho remains.
Ho spent most of Day 4 at the Bluff featured table doing battle with Humberto Brenes and his shark. She finished with 885,000 chips to end Day 4 after getting terribly short early. She put her tournament life at risk later in the day with versus two black tens and spiked an ace to double through. The woman from Arcadia, Calif., made a straight late in the day with her K-10 to double through Ed Betlow to attain her stack for the start of Day 5. She held about 1.16 million chips at the first break.
Kelly Jo McGlothlin from Palmdale, Calif., came into Day 4 as the woman with the most chips, with 563,000 of them. She was frustrated during the first break because she had just lost a big pot with Q-Q vs. A-K after getting it all in before the flop. That dropped her stack down to about 300,000.
"I'm pretty depressed now, but I'm hoping to pick up some hands," she told me as she paced the hallways. "I'm hoping to claw my way back like I did the first day and the third day."
McGlothlin said she was down to 5,000 (a quarter of her starting stack) late in Day 1 and was able to build it up. Then on Day 2 she got down to 160,000 late, but built it up to 563,000 by day's end.
That roller coaster ride continued Friday as she dropped down to around 200,000, but then jumped back up to 530,000 before the dinner break. She finished the day with 870,000 chips.
She was eliminated during the first level of Day 5 when she pushed all in on a flop of . McGlothlin was called by Senovio Ramirez III, who held two tens. McGlothlin had and missed her flush draw.
This was McGlothlin's first main event. She and nine friends back home played a series of tournaments back home with a points system to send one of them to Las Vegas for the WSOP. McGlothlin gets 55 percent of the $67,535 she won for her 95th place finish; her friends get the rest.
Seven women were still in the hunt for the platinum bracelet as Day 4 began, but five of them fell by the wayside
Mimi Tran, the last well-known female player, was busted in 317th place when her ran into and she couldn't trip up. She earned $39,445. At about the same time, Veronica Dabul got all in preflop with but ran into and she also got no help. Dabul finished in 314th place and got $39,445 in prize money.
Deb Blair of Tucson, Ariz., spent much of Day 4 at the ESPN featured table, which included the incoming chipleader Dario Minieri and 2002 main event runner-up Julian Gardner. She tangled with Minieri for a large double up just before the second break. Holding , she bet 60,000 into a flop of and was called by Mineri. After the hit the turn, Blair bet 125,000 and Mineri moved all in. Blair called and Minieri showed . The river was a harmless and Blair doubled up to 850,000.
Blair seemed to be a favorite of the spectators at the featured table. Earlier, after tangling with Minieri and getting him to fold, she received a shout of "Yeah, Deb!" from one member of the crowd followed by hearty applause from the rest of the viewers.
Minieri finally got the best of Blair in the end as her propensity for calling the young aggressive player down beat her in the end. She called a pre-flop raise by Minieri with pocket tens and bet out 110,000 on a flop of . Minieri called. After a turn of , Blair bet 200,000, Minieri moved all in and Blair called off her last 949,000. He turned over for the straight and Blair could not catch a six on the river to chop. She finished in 176th place and collected $51,398.
Amanda Baker, a local resident, was eliminated in the second level of the day when her went down to . It got interesting when the flop came , giving Baker two pair, but the on the turn made her opponent Travis Belles an inside straight. Baker could not fill up on the river and busted in 253rd place and won $45,422.
Donna Blevins of Inverness, Fla., was busted in the third level by then chipleader Adam White. After a flop of , she moved in for just over 100,000 with and White called with . She received no help on the river and finished in 179th place, which was worth $51,398.
Barbara Enright was the first (and still the only) woman to make the final table of the main event when she finished 5th in 1995. (Annie Duke finished 10th in the 2000 main event, but the final table is played nine handed.)
Sabyl Cohen was the highest finishing woman last year, going out in 56th place.