Love it or hate it, the ladies-only event is a part of the 2008 World Series of Poker as it has been for many years. With a smaller buy-in than any open events, the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em World Championship brings women from all over the world to play for a WSOP bracelet, as well as a special extra prize for this particular tournament – an engraved Corum watch.
The field was smaller than at the 2007 WSOP, but the total of 1,190 was still impressive as it created a prize pool of just over $1 million. Day 1 saw the fastest and sharpest decrease in players, as the number of remaining players ended at 62 for the day. Some big names were left to fight on Day 2, including Kathy Liebert, Linda Johnson, Evelyn Ng, and Van Nguyen.
By the time the final table was set, the only semi-recognizable names left were Svetlana Gromenkova and Anh Le. All of the chip counts going into Day 3 were as follows:
The first 25 hands of the action, if you can call it that, consisted of much folding and a few double-ups. Several of the short stacks took their time but eventually found opportunities to move in. Marla Crumpler doubled through Chris Priday, Roz Quarto doubled via Svetlana Gromenkova, and Sue Porter doubled her stack courtesy of Crumpler. Despite being on the wrong end of one of those exchanges, Gromenkova maintained her significant chip lead – nearly 2-1 over those in second, third, and fourth chip positions.
Finally, short-stacked Sue Porter got involved in a pot raised by Quarto and called by Crumpler and herself. All players checked the flop of , and when the turn produced a , Quarto moved all-in with , Crumpler folded, and Porter called all-in with . The river was a blank , and Porter was eliminated in 9th place with $20,034.
It wasn’t long before another left to make other plans for the evening. Crumpler raised pre-flop, and Yesenia Garcia pushed all-in for her last 59K with . Crumpler called with . The board came , and Crumpler took it. Garcia was out in 8th place with $28,155.
Players then reverted back to slow and conservative play, rarely seeing a flop. Gromenkova stayed atop the leader board with Crumpler getting a little closer. And Debbie Mitchell finally got tired of being short and decided to play a little poker. In less than 10 hands, she doubled twice through Gromenkova and made a run for the lead.
Quarto had been unable to make much happen. She limped into a pot that got raised by Crumpler and reraised all-in by Priday. Quarto called for her last 157K with , Crumpler folded pocket 10’s, and Priday showed . The dealer gave them , and Quarto was sent away in 7th place with $36,277.
After 100 hands, six players remained. It was destined to be a slow final table, and as the audience dissipated, the table lost some of its luster. But the players started to spice it up, and it took place mostly at the hands of Gromenkova and Anh Le.
Hand 111 saw Gromenkova with her trademark aggressiveness move all-in from the small blind with , and Debbie Mitchell called with . The board couldn’t have been better for Gromenkova with , and Mitchell was ejected in 6th place with $47,106.
Crumpler tried to make a raise a few hands later, but Le came over the top all-in with . Crumpler called with , and the board came . Crumpler was forced to accept a 5th place finish and $60,101 in pocket change.
Priday tried to make something happen, and she did as she doubled through Le with A-Q versus the A-10 of Le. Priday was at 920K but then allowed Gromenkova to double through her to put Gromenkova high atop the leader board. Le was the short stack at that point and doubled through Gromenkova. Chips were flying everywhere.
It was Priday’s turn again to take a stand, and she pushed all-in for just under 300K with . Le called with , and the board couldn’t help Priday as it showed . Priday was sent away from the table in 4th place with $73,637.
Three-handed action didn’t last long with Patty Till as the severe short stack. She quickly pushed all-in for her last 341K with , Gromenkova came over the top all-in to isolate with , and Le folded. The board was , and trips were good for the chip leader. Till was tabled in 3rd place with $87,715 for her troubles.
Heads-up began with the following counts:
Though play started rather slowly, Le was soon able to double through Gromenkova with A-5 against A-K by catching a 5 on the flop. Le then sat in the chip lead for a bit, trying to maximize her position and watching Gromenkova tilt a bit from the beat she took. Gromenkova finally got herself together and slowly but surely took the chip lead back.
After 150 hands had been dealt, Le led out on the 151st hand of the night. Gromenkova made it an all-in move with , and Le called with . The board played out with , and it was over.
Anh Le was forced to settle for 2nd place and a $144,567 consolation prize.
Svetlana Gromenkova took the first place WSOP title, bracelet, and $244,702 prize. Congratulations!