The lineup for the fourth edition of the World Poker Tour's® Ladies' Night tournament is all but set, with Academy Award® nominated actress Jennifer Tilly set to defend the title she won last year against a strong handful of challengers. Tilly's win last year in WPT Ladies' Night III came on the heels of her unexpected triumph in the Ladies' Event at the 2005 WSOP, and cemented her newfound status as one of the best 'celebrity' players in the game. Tilly, who took up poker on the set of Let It Ride and is tutored in the finer points of the game by boyfriend Phil "Unabomber" Laak, boasts over $200,000 in career earnings.
Already securing spots in Ladies Night IV and attempting to dethrone Tilly are Joanne "JJ" Liu, Vanessa Rousso, Anahit Galajian and Erica Schoenberg, the top four leading female money winners in this season's WPT. The sixth and final spot in the televised freezeout will be awarded to the winner of the Bicycle Casino's Ladies' Poker Party Open, to be held on August 19-20 in Bell Gardens, Calif.
Of the announced challengers, Liu offers the strongest poker resume; she made a WSOP final table in 1996, soon after joining the pro ranks, and has cashed more than 30 times in major events in the decade since, earning over $800,000. Liu placed fourth in the Season IV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic™ event, winning over $360,000. Rousso, the "Lady Maverick of Poker," shot to fame when she captured a seventh place in last year's WPT World Championship at Bellagio, cashing for more than $260,000 and just missing the televised table. Former model Schoenberg also made headlines in that event, finishing seventeenth and catching the notice of cameras and endorsement providers alike, while the less-known Galajian may be the hottest of any of the players, having cashed four times in the recently concluded WSOP. Galajian's poker history also includes a 7th-place finish at Season IV's WPT LA Poker Classic™, with the $166,000 winnings from that event her biggest cash to date.
Schedule to air on the Travel Channel, Ladies' Night IV will be filmed August 31 at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
Ed note: Swim with the Poker fishes at Poker Ocean