WSOP 2008 Event #15, $1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em World Championship, Final Results and Report
Number of Entries: 1,190
The 2008 Ladies World Poker Championship attracted 1,190 entries, which was the second-largest women’s-only event in poker history. The buy in was $1,000, creating a prize pool totaling $1,082,900. The top 99 finishers collected prize money. This was only the second million-dollar prize pool for a ladies event in history.
The Ladies World Poker Championship has been played every year since 1977. Hence, this was the 31st straight year of the competition. During the first two decades, the ladies competed by playing Seven-Card Stud. In 2001, the format was changed to Hold’em.
From 1977 through 2003, this event was traditionally played on Mothers Day. At the time, the WSOP took place during the months of April and May. Accordingly, Mothers Day Sunday was reserved for ladies. This proved to be a conflict for many ladies who wanted to compete in the event, but who also had family commitments on that day. So, the event was moved to a different day in 2004. The WSOP has been played during the summer months since 2005.
Susie Isaacs holds another record in this event, which will be difficult to match. She cashed five out of six years in this competition between 1991 and 1997.
This event is historic for at least one more reason. It produced the first WSOP gold bracelet winner of color. This year marked the 25th anniversary of Carolyn Gardner’s victory in the 1983 Ladies World Poker Championship.
Last year’s ladies championship was played in a sequestered staging area, due to the live (actually slightly-delayed) broadcast showing players’ hole cards. This year, hole cards are not being shown to the viewing audience. Accordingly, the ladies championship finale returned once again to the feature table, attracting a standing room only crowd of spectators. Bluff Media covered the final table which was shown on the ESPN360 website at www.espn360.com. Play-by-play man Howard David was joined by 2006 ladies champion Mary Jones and poker pro Karina Jett on the broadcast. The show will be archived for later viewing at: www.worldseriesofpoker.com
The tournament began with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack announcing to all the players that the ladies-only tournament will continue to be a world championship event, with a gold bracelet awarded to the winner – so long as ladies continue to support the tradition in large numbers. Judging by the enthusiastic response of the crowd assembled inside the Rio, this will be a gold bracelet tournament for many years to come. Note: There has been some controversy about the implications of offering “women’s only” poker tournaments. Opponents of the concept argue that women do not need to be singled out with a special event, since they are just as capable of competing in “open” events with men. However, there is no question the ladies tournament remains a popular attraction on the WSOP schedule.
Actress/TV star Jackie Collins was on hand to announce “shuffle up and deal,” which is the official phrase which starts the tournament. Before filling the tournament room with those magic words however, Collins, the diva of female empowerment, remarked “I’m ready to see some ladies kick ass, so let’s do it!” Collins recently penned another tell-all book called “Married Lovers,” which hits bookstores this week.
This was the second year of the Queen of Hearts poker team. The group consists of 37 celebrities and poker professionals. Each player vowed to dedicate 20 percent of her winnings in this event to the official charity of the WSOP, the Nevada Cancer Institute. The Queen of Hearts poker team was founded by Lisa Tenner. Members were recognized before the start of the tournament.
The Queen of Hearts team ensured that many well-known names and faces would be in attendance for this event. Jackie Collins was the honorary team captain. Other famous names on the team who played in the event included Cheryl Hines (from HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm), Mindy McCready (country music star), Mimi Rogers (actress), and others.
Several former Ladies World Champions entered this event, including Barbara Enright, Susie Isaacs, Mary Jones, and the defending champion – Sally Ann Boyer. However, none of these former winners cashed.
The winner was Svetlana Gromenkova, from New York, NY. She was born near Moscow, Russia and immigrated to the United States about six years ago.
Gromenkova collected $224,702 in prize money for first place. She also earned her first WSOP gold bracelet. The winner was also presented with a custom-designed gold and diamond ladies watch, exclusively designed by Corum USA. WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack made the official presentation to the new champion.
Gromenkova is the friend of Las Vegas-based professional poker player Anthony Rivera, who won the Half Omaha/Half Stud championship last week. Rivera gave Gromenkova his sunglasses to wear at the table, which turned out to be good luck. Gromenkova later claimed that the lucky sunglasses were hers and that Rivera had “borrowed” them during his final table victory. The sunglasses have earned the two players about half a million dollars within the past week.
“I want people to know I’m a good player,” Gromenkova said afterward. “And they will know it now.”
After the tournament ended, Gromenkova who was aware of her opponent’s two second-place showings in this event, approached Le and said, “Nice job. I’m really sorry.” Le took the gesture well and responded, “No – you played fantastic.”
Patty Till, from Avon, IN graduated from the “WSOP Academy Ladies Only Poker Camp” which was held the previous week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. She ended up as the third place finisher. The poker camp is creating some talented poker players, proven by Till’s impressive finish in this tournament and Sally Anne Boyer’s victory last year (the 2007 Ladies World Poker Champion also attended the poker camp prior to the start of the tournament.).
The final table lasted about six hours.
Notable finishes included former gold bracelet winner Linda Johnson, who finished 23rd. Former gold bracelet winner Kathy Liebert took 47th. And Olga Varkonyi, wife of 2002 WSOP champion Robert Varkonyi finished 37th.
This event included the first-ever “excessive celebration” penalty. In use for the first time, the WSOP established a new rule this year which states players cannot celebrate beyond a routine duration of time. On Day One, a female player celebrated her winning hand to the detriment of others players at her table. Following her penalty, she rejoined the tournament and continued play.
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