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2011 World Series of Poker Day 34: Marsha Wolak Wins Ladies Championship

Marsha Wolak

Day 34 of the 2011 World Series of Poker saw a bracelet awarded in the $1,000 Ladies Championship at a final table that included the first man to ever make a WSOP Ladies Event final table. Also, over 2,600 players took to the felt for Day 1b of the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event. Finally, the field in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship began to thin as the limits started getting large enough to make a difference to the shorter stacks.

Event #53 $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship

Day 3 of the $1,000 Ladies Event began with 14 players, including one guy, looking to take down the bracelet. By the time the final table was reached, there were two stories everyone was following. The first was that Jonathan Epstein became the first man to ever make the Ladies Championship final table. The other was Karina Jett's run. She was the only pro left in the field and began the final table as the short stack. Carol Tomlinson went into the final table as the chip leader with 851,000.

Jonathan Epstein's stay at the final table was short lived because he was the first player out. Marsha Wolak moved all-in preflop and Epstein made the call and was covered. Wolak was racing for the bounty with pocket tens against {A-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}. It was obvious who everyone was rooting for when the flop fell {K-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}. The crowd groaned when Epstein picked up both a straight and flush draw to go with his over-cards. Wolak had to fade 16 outs to survive the hand, outs that actually increased to 19 when the {K-Hearts} hit the turn because Epstein could have won if the board had paired the jack. The river brought a harmless {6-Hearts}, and the entire final table and rail erupted in cheers for Epstein's elimination. The rail sung "Hey, Hey, Goodbye" as Epstein left to collect his ninth-place money.

Karina Jett and Marsha Wolak both began the final table as short stacks and both made it to the final three. Wolak went on a monster run three-handed to take the chip lead, including knocking out Carol Tomlinson in third place. Tomlinson was all-in preflop for about 575,000 with {A-Diamonds}{8-Spades} and Wolak called with {K-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}. The flop fell {J-Spades}{8-Clubs}{3-Hearts} to pair both ladies' kickers. The turn brought the {5-Spades} and river the {Q-Spades} to take the event into heads-up play.

Wolak led Jett 2.3 million to 814,000 to start heads-up play at this final table. On the very first hand of heads-up play, Jett made it 60,000 on the button and Wolak made the call. The flop fell {Q-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}{8-Clubs} and Wolak checked to Jett who bet 70,000. Wolak then check-raised all in and Jett made the call. Wolak showed {Q-Hearts}{9-Hearts} for top pair and a straight draw, and Jett showed {K-Spades}{10-Diamonds} for an open ended draw. The turn {10-Clubs} gave Wolak a straight, but an ace would give Jett Broadway. The river brought the {3-Diamonds} and Wolak was the champion.

Marsha Wolak started the final table as the short stack but finished the Ladies Event Champion. She took the bracelet and $192,344.

For all the action from final table of the Ladies Championship, read our live coverage blog.

Event #54: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em

Day 1b of the final $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event of the 2011 WSOP drew a massive field of 2,644 players, bringing the total for this event to 4,576. This is the second largest $1,000 NL Hold'em event in the WSOP's history and the $648,880 is also the second largest first-place prize ever for a $1k event.

After 10 levels of play, 380 players remained. They will be combined with the 306 players from Day 1b to make a total of 686 players returning on Monday to play past the money bubble and toward the final table. Eric Afriat finished with the Day 1b chip lead holding 100,200, but Paul Volpe will take the overall chip lead into Day 2 play with 124,500. Other players finishing strong on Day 1b included Shane Schleger, Matt Waxman, Terrence Chan, and Greg Raymer. Play will resume at 1430 PDT (2130 GMT) on Monday.

All the Day 1b from this event can be found in our live reporting pages.

Event #55: $50,000 Poker Player's Championship

Day 2 of the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship began action on Sunday with 123 players looking to moves to build stacks and work their way to the money. We finally started to see some bust-outs with Michael Mizrachi among the first to go. He was all-in with {K-Spades}{8-Spades} against the {A-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} of David Benyamine andi did catch a king on the flop, but running nines on the turn and river ended the event for this now former defending champion.

Other players that will have a full day off on Monday include Erik Seidel, Gabe Kaplan, Mikael Thuritz, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Jason Mercier, Patrik Antonius, John Juanda, and Dan Kelly.

The big story of this event may be the end of an era in tournament poker. Doyle Brunson had stated on Twitter before the start of this event that he might retire from tournament poker if he did not play up to his standards. Brunson busted on Day 2 of this event and via his twitter said, " Busted... Total nightmare... Goodbye WSOP." He later tweeted, "No main event for me. Maybe the DOJ will stake me." Time will tell whether this is indeed Brunson's swan song, but if it is, it has been quite a career for the man considered the "Greatest Poker Player of All-Time."

At the end of the day, 74 players remained to come back for moving day in this event. Ben Lamb leads with 704,500, followed by Gus Hansen with 688,700. David Oppenheim, Matt Glantz, Josh Arieh, and Steve Billirakis round out the top 10.

Find out who made Day 3 of this event when you read our live reporting blog.

On Tap

Monday is technically an "off day" for the 2011 WSOP because no new events kick off. It also marks the first day in a few weeks that a bracelet will not be awarded. The $1,000 No-Limit Event will combine the fields from the weekend and play through the money bubble as players prepare for the this event's final. Players in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship will begin to make their moves as they try to position themselves for a run at the money and the final table.


This past week, the PokerNews Podcast crew talked about all the big news in the poker world including the Full Tilt Poker license revocation and subsequent reports of a sale. Also, they covered all the action during Week 5 of the 2011 WSOP. Some of the guest joining the podcast this week were Kara Scott, Jay Rosenkrantz, Jeff Madsen and Evelyn Ng.

For access to all of this past week's episodes, check out our archives.

Video of the Day

Matt Matros won his second career bracelet on Saturday in the $2,500 Mixed Hold'em event. Sarah Grant caught up with him after his bracelet win, and he told her a bit about his tough final table, how lucky he feels as a poker player, and what it's like to knock a good friend out of the final table.

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