The crowd is still stunned after what they've witnessed, but we’re now wrapping Event #53 of the 2011 World Series of Poker up less than six hours after we started, as Arizona real estate investor Marsh Wolak sits proudly at the head of the final table posing for her winner’s photos, defeating a field of 1,055 entrants for the coveted gold bracelet and $192,344 in prize money!
In fact, the 14 remaining players didn’t mess around from the get-go, with Laura Desantis, Mafalda Lopes, Karen Fisher and Amanda Baker eliminated within the space of half an hour. Once the preliminary final table was reached, Amanda Sizemore was eliminated in 10th place after she lost the flip for her tournament life with against Carol Tomlinson’s .
Jonathan Epstein, the last male in the field, was then busted in ninth place after he called all-in with , but was unable to improve against Wolak who shoved before him with . With the bracelet now assured a female victor, Epstein was given a rousing send-off by everybody on the rail – one which will be ringing in his ears for years to come.
A short time later, Genevieve Gloutnez was sent packing in eighth place when she got her money in with , but ran into Tomlinson’s . Even so, Katherine Stahl, who had been crippled by Wolak in a previous hand, was able to triple up with her after flopping a set of fives, with Tomlinson picking up the rest of Gloutnez’s chips in the sidepot.
From there, it was carnage. Jennifer Cowan was the next to go in seventh place after she moved all-in after a flop of with , but Tomlinson’s clairvoyant powers had brought forth the nut straight for her . Tomlinson also took out Stahl in sixth place when her held up against Stahl’s .
Valerie McColligan then sent Peg Ledman to the exits in fifth place after Ledman moved the last of her chips in with , but was unable to find any help against McColligan’s . However, it was McColligan that fell in fourth place at the hands of Karina Jett; despite getting her money in with against Jett’s , McColligan had her soul crushed when Jett spiked a king on the river.
Wolak then doubled through Tomlinson to take the chip lead during the three-handed battle, with Jett also applying the aggression. Left with only 575,000 in chips in the last hand before the dinner break, she moved all in with , but despite both players pairing up on the board of , Tomlinson was sent to the rail in third place, leaving Jett and Wolak heads-up.
And although they agreed to take an early dinner break and refuel in preparation for the battle, the war was over in just one hand. After Jett raised from the button and Wolak called to see a flop of , Wolak checked to Jett who moved all-in with .
Wolak snap-called, showing down and she then improved to a straight with the on the turn. The blanked out on the river and with that, Jett fell oh-so-short in second place, but it was a stellar effort, considering she’s final tabled this event twice in previous years and came runner-up this year with a baby on board!
That’s not to take anything away from Wolak, as she is certainly a worthy winner. As she celebrated with her friends, she described it as “great justice” – she was knocked out by Shaun Deeb in the 2010 edition of the Ladies Event, so to have taken out Epstein this year on the way to the title could be considered "karma" – well, as The Micros would have you believe.
Any way you look at it, the 2011 WSOP Ladies Event was truly a historic event and we would like to congratulate Marsha on her victory and also to commend everyone on their enthusiasm and their support of this event. We hope that it continues for many years to come. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team have certainly had a lot of fun covering it! We'll leave you now with Lynn Gilmartin's table-side interview with a very happy Marsha:
Stay tuned with us as our coverage of the $50,000 Player's Championship continues, plus all the action from every bracelet event and of course, the Main Event.
Until then, thanks for tuning in, and may the flop be with you!