Each year, the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas draws a greater number of women to the tournament series. Though still a minority in most fields, women are a growing force to be reckoned with in the poker world. Many of them, however, come only for the $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, and this year they can do it as a member of the Queen of Hearts team while helping the Nevada Cancer Institute.
The official Queen of Hearts poker team, after three years of participation in the ladies-only event to raise more than $100,000 in funds for charities, is now being managed by Harrah’s Entertainment. The 2009 WSOP will feature the team as in years past and will make its presence known in order to raise money and awareness for the Nevada Cancer Institute. Women on the team are welcome to offer a portion of their winnings to the charity, and their mere presence with Queen of Hearts gear will raise awareness for the Nevada Cancer Institute.
When Harrah’s took over the team, WSOP Commission Jeffrey Pollack noted that they looked to make the Queen of Hearts team “more inclusive versus exclusive as it has been. We are looking into ways that every woman can take part in it.” And as promised, the Queen of Hearts team will be open to all entrants in the 2009 WSOP Ladies NLHE World Championship event. All players will have the opportunity to purchase Queen of Hearts merchandise at the retail stores at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino or online at ShopWSOP.com, and proceeds from the sales will benefit the Nevada Cancer Institute.
Not only will the mere purchase of a specially-designed commemorative shirt or hat contribute to the cause, but players will be given the opportunity to donate 1 percent of their winnings in the event to the Nevada Cancer Institute.
The ladies-only WSOP bracelet event will begin at noon on Sunday, June 7 at the Rio in Las Vegas, and all women are encouraged to play. Last year’s champion, Svetlana Gromenkova, who beat 1,189 fellow competitors to win the $224,702 first place prize, will surely be in the field to defend her title. Expectations are high for the field at the 40th annual WSOP, and it could be a record-setting year for women in poker.