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2009 WSOP: Tibbles Dominates Ladies #17, Bjorin Leads #18 Stacked Pack

Tamara Tibbles

$1,000 Ladies World Championship Event #17, Day 1 – Tibbles Towers Over Field

Event #17, $1,000 Ladies World Championship, kicked off Sunday afternoon. The Ladies Championship has been a staple of the WSOP since 1977 when Jackie McDaniel won the $100 Ladies Seven-Card Stud event. Poker Hall-of-Famer Barbara Enright claimed two of her three gold bracelets in this event. This year, 1060 women turned out for a chance to put their names in the WSOP history books. By the end of Day 1, Tamara Tibbles emerged as the dominating chip leader with 129,700 – more than twice as much as her next-closest competitor, defending champ Svetlana Gromenkova with 62,200.

The Ladies Championship draws out amateurs and pros alike, all looking for a shot at the bracelet. Among those in attendance for the event were Evelyn Ng, Kristy Gazes, Marsha Waggoner, Liv Boeree, Shirley Williams, Mario Ho, Anna Wroblewski, Erica Schoenberg, Amanda Baker, Karina Jett and last year’s champion Svetlana Gromenkova. Marsha Waggoner was eliminated by the start of Level 2. Waggoner moved all in on the board of {J-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} and was called. Waggoner held {5-Hearts}{5-Spades} for middle set and her opponent held {J-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} for top pair. The turn {9-Diamonds} and river {Q-Diamonds} gave her opponent a runner-runner flush and sent Waggoner home early.

Maya Gellar was short-stacked on the day and found a hand that most players like to see when the chips are down: pocket queens. She moved in and was called by another player holding pocket jacks. Gellar seemed headed for the double-up until the flop fell {J-Hearts}{J-Clubs}{8-Hearts} to give her opponent quad jacks. Gellar needed running queens to survive. One of those runners arrived when the turn came the {Q-Spades} and Gellar reduced her chance to win to only 45-to-1 against. She was unable to beat the odds as the {K-Hearts} fell on the river to eliminate Gellar.

Several notables were knocked out near the end of Day 1. Beth Shak was all in preflop holding {A-Hearts}{10-Clubs} against the {J-Spades}{6-Clubs} of her opponent. The flop of {3-Spades}{4-Spades}{5-Hearts} gave Shak a wheel draw, but it was no good against her opponent's higher open-ended straight draw. The turn missed both players when the {9-Clubs} fell. The river was the {7-Clubs}, completing the straight for Shak’s opponent and sending Shak to the rail. Shirley Williams was all in for her tournament life holding {A-Clubs}{J-Diamonds} against the {A-Spades}{Q-Spades} of Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck. The flop gave both a pair of aces, but Williams was unable to catch a jack. Mayrinck’s kicker played and Williams would have to try for the ladies bracelet again next year.

Day 1 play concluded with Tamara Tibbles sitting firmly at the top of the leaderboard with 129,700 in chips. Other notables left in the field include Svetlana Gromenkova with 62,800, Mario Ho with 24,800, and JJ Liu with 38,300. 146 players will return tomorrow to make their march towards the money and the final table of the Ladies Championship.

$10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi/Lo Event #18, Day 1 – Bjorin Squeaks Into Early Lead

Event #18, the $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi/Lo, also kicked off on Monday evening. Last year, David Benyamine outlasted an all-star final table that included Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, David Chiu, and Ram Vaswani. This year, Benyamine returned to defend his title amongst another high-powered field. 179 players total turned out for this championship event. After a long day of limit poker action, Chris Bjorin finished as the Day 1 chip leader with 134,400, followed closely by Scott Clements with 130,800. The remaining Day 1 survivors all finished under the 100,000-mark, with defending champ Benyamine in fifth chip position on 94,800. Phil Hellmuth closed out the day in a good spot to make a run at his 12th (and first non-hold’em) bracelet, in eighth place with 83,700. Phil Ivey is also still in the hunt, his stack of 80,000 putting him in 11th chip position at the end of the day.

To say that this field is “world class” is an understatement. Other big-name players taking part in this World Championship event included Annie Duke, Women’s Hall-of-Famer Linda Johnson, Barry Greenstein, Ted Lawson, Doyle Brunson, Josh Arieh, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Phil Gordon, and Greg Raymer.

Ted Lawson was among the early chip leaders. Lawson was involved in a sizable pot early on with Greg Raymer and another opponent. The board read {Q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{8-Clubs} on the turn and Raymer bet out into his two opponents. Lawson raised and the third player got out of the way. Raymer three-bet and Lawson capped the betting. The river fell the {6-Clubs} and Raymer bet out again into Lawson. Lawson threw in a raise and Raymer only called. Lawson showed {Q-Clubs}{Q-Spades}{K-Spades}{J-Hearts} for queens full and Raymer mucked. Lawson moved up to 44,000 with that pot.

Daniel Negreanu proved that he could multi-table with the best of them. While on a break from his Event #14 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em final table, Negreanu came over to play his stack, which had been blinded down. With the board reading {Q-Hearts}{Q-Clubs}{3-Spades}{2-Spades}{9-Diamonds}, Negreanu bet out and received a call from his opponent. Kid Poker showed {5-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{3-Clubs} for threes full and moved up to 35,000 in chips. Afterward, Negreanu returned to his final table at Event #14, where he finished runner-up.

The pace of play for the event was somewhat slow due to the 30,000 stack size and the nature of the game. As a result, players found various ways to amuse themselves. Mike Matusow went around to different tables visiting with players. Jeff Madsen celebrated his birthday, complete with balloons. Jennifer Harman had a brief visit from her husband and children which resulted in one of her kids trying to belly up to the table and play her stack. Prop betting was also another regular distraction amongst the players. One of the more interesting bets laid odds as to whether President Barack Obama would come to the Main Event and play at least one hand of poker.

Several big names did not make Day 2. Marcel Luske was one of the unfortunate three to bust before dinner. He never moved above his starting stack and wound up taking an early dinner. Jennifer Harman was all in preflop after calling a raise from Sam Farha. Harman held {Q-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} to Farha’s {A-Clubs}{Q-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{5-Spades}. The flop fell {A-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{3-Hearts} to put Farha in the lead for both halves of the pot. The turn came the {7-Hearts} to lock up the low for Farha and Harman needed the case queen to chop. The river was the {J-Diamonds} and Harman headed for the rail.

Defending champion David Benyamine and back-to-back $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo event bracelet winner Thang Luu were sitting at the same table. The two of them got involved in a big pot with Greg Raymer. The pot was four-bet preflop and the three players saw the flop of {Q-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}. Raymer bet out and received a call from both opponents. The same betting occurred when the {8-Spades} fell on the turn. When the {K-Diamonds} fell on the river, Benyamine bet out and he was called by both opponents. Benyamine showed {A-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{2-Hearts} for two pair and Thang Luu tabled {A-Clubs}{4-Spades}{9-Clubs}{2-Diamonds} for the second nut low. Raymer mucked his hand. After the pot, Benyamine was up to 110,000 in chips and among the chip leaders.

133 players survived Day 1 with Chris Bjorin finishing the day as chip leader with 134,400 chips. Scott Clements is right behind him with 130,800. Day 2 will commence at 2 p.m. PDT Monday and play is scheduled to continue until a final table is reached. Stay tuned to as we bring you all the exciting action from this and every event at the 2009 World Series of Poker.

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