On Sunday, April 13th, the WPT Bellagio Five Star World Poker Classic made poker history by offering a ladies' tournament with a record buy-in of $1,500. In the past, the WSOP Ladies Event buy-in of $1,000 was the highest ever offered. 150 players turned out for the tournament, but it was not without its controversy. Six of the 150 players were men, and a boycott of the event was spearheaded by one of our leading women in poker, Susie Isaacs. The controversy was due to a 15% mandatory charitable donation which was not known beforehand to all entrants, though the tournament went on as planned.
Several professional and semi-pro women players attended the tournament such as Kathy Liebert, Jan Fisher, Linda Johnson, Van Nguyen, Karina Jett, Erica Schoenberg, Jennifer Tilly, J.J. Liu and Evelyn Ng just to name a few. But the name on everyone's lips was Vanessa Selbst. Vanessa took an early chip lead and had a mast a huge stack at the bubble of over 100,000 in chips. I mentioned Vanessa as a "fresh new face" to watch this year in a previous article. She won her seat into this event when she took first place in the heads-up match against Erica Schoenberg at the Commerce LA Open ladies event.
The last six standing will return on April 25th to play the televised final table under all the lights, glitz and glamour of the famed stage of the WPT.
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