World Series of Poker Europe Women's World Open III Nears Start

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This Sunday brings the start of the Women's World Open III. The limited-field event, organized by Matchroom Sports, runs from May 24-27, 2009 and annually draws 36 of the world’s best female poker players. $50,000 and bragging rights go to the winner, the lion’s share of the $108,000 purse in the $3,000 buy-in tourney.

2008 Women’s World Open II champion Soraya Homan returns to defend her title in the event, which features six heats of six players each squaring off in short-handed shootouts to earn a seat into the final. The six runners-up in the preliminary heats then square off in a second-chance shootout to determine the seventh and final qualifier.

Homan will face a fierce lineup if she hopes to repeat. Among the other invitees are Norwegian online prodigy Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, EPT Dortmund winner Sandra Naujoks, WSOP Ladies Event bracelet winner Jennifer Tilly and many others. Additional entrants include Lynne Beaumont, Maria Demetriou, Jen Mason, Veronique Gordon, Christine Klecz, Liv Boeree, Cecilia Nordenstram, Kim Wooka, Lise Vigezzi, Colette Murphy and Polish boxing champ Agnieska Rylik. Three of Homan’s final-table opponents from 2008 also return — Stefanie Bergener, May Maceiras and Eliza Burnett.

Four qualifiers from PartyPoker’s online VIP club, the Paladium Lounge, also gained entry into the event. Veteran poker broadcaster Jesse May will anchor the commentary for the Matchroom Sports broadcast, which will air in the UK and selected international markets.

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