Sarah Herzali Comes Up Shy of Being First Female Bracelet Winner of 2023 WSOP

Sarah Herzali

Though the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has only been underway for a week and a half, there have already been multiple female players who have closed in on WSOP bracelets.

First Kristen Foxen finished seventh in Event #6: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit for $69,683 (and later finished 12th in Event #16: $25,000 High Roller for $79,335), and later France's Sarah Herzali made a deep run in Event #15: $1,500 6-Handed No-Limit Hold'em that had poker fans wondering if she would be the first female champion of the 2023 WSOP.

Though Herzali, who entered the tournament with $552,104 in Hendon Mob earnings, came short of winning a bracelet, she finished third for a career-best $207,720 and to make the deepest run of any woman at the WSOP so far this year.

PokerNews spoke with Herzali about her run in the event that drew 2,454 entrants for a prize pool of $3,276,090.

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First WSOP Final Table

Herzali's first tournament cash dates back to 2009 when she finished fourth in a Partouche Poker Tour event for $4,132. But she was first introduced to poker through cash games.

“I started to play poker in cash games in south France," she told PokerNews. "I played a lot of cash games and after that I had a sponsorship, so I played more tournaments. And since then I don’t have my sponsorship (anymore), but I’m still playing tournaments.”

Sarah Herzali
Sarah Herzali

Herzali is a WSOP regular and noted that she attends the summer series “almost every year.” She made deep runs in the both the 2019 and 2022 WSOP Main Events, respectively finishing 561st for $24,560 and 314th for $40,900.

She also plays international stops. A few years ago, she met her husband, fellow French poker player Tom Jarry, during a poker festival in the Bahamas.

“Yeah, we met there," said Herzali. "He was commentating for partypoker.”

A few years down the road and Jarry found himself in Las Vegas cheering his wife on as she made her first WSOP final table. It was on the rail that PokerNews spoke with Jarry as Herzali sparred with the four other remaining players in the $1,500 event.

“She’s just really good," he said when asked about the best part of his wife's poker game. "Really aggressive, and patient as well. Just overall really good, did study a lot in the past few years.”

Though they live in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jarry said the couple make the trip out to Las Vegas for the WSOP "every summer.”

“She’s been coming here even longer than me," he said.

2023 WSOP Featured Females: Maria Konnikova & Kristen Foxen Making Runs

Rowdiest Rail of the Summer

Jarry wasn't the only one cheering Herzali on from the sidelines. In fact, the $1,500 6-Handed event featured the rowdiest rail of the summer so far, in no small part because of a group of over a dozen French poker players rooting for Herzali. Team France was only outdone by the louder and deeper Team Brazil rooting for eventual champion Rafael Reis.

“It was a huge rail. It was really really amazing," said Herzali. “It just was fun. It was really nice to not feel the pressure when they’re screaming (for you). It’s a more fun experience than something too serious.”

Herzali's supporters were there cheering her on when she hit a straight flush during Day 3 in a hand where she didn't get as much value as she wanted after checking the river (“I hoped a bluff or an ace-high flush would bet"), and they were rooting for her even harder when she doubled multiple times after losing most of her stack during four-handed play.

Sarah Herzali
Sarah Herzali

But the cheers couldn't prevent Herzali from running king-nine into the pocket jacks of Reis in the hand that ended her bracelet run in third for $207,720.

“I ran pretty well yesterday on Day 2, and unfortunately my Day 3 was more difficult ... so I just did my best," said Herzali, who had started Day 3 as the chip leader with 15 players remaining.

While she wasn't able to be the first female WSOP champion of the summer, a feat that would see her follow in the footsteps of fellow European pro and 2021 $1,500 The Closer champion Leo Margets, Herzali was in good spirits after earning the career-best six-figure score.

“I’m really happy about my tournament (and) how everything went well," Herzali told PokerNews shortly after her elimination. "And I finished third, so I’m quite happy. I don’t regret anything.”

Read about last week's WSOP Featured Females as Foxen and famed writer Maria Konnikova both made deep runs.

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  • Sarah Herzali made the deepest bracelet run of any woman so far at the 2023 @WSOP.

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