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WSOP 2009

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Event #17, $1,000 Ladies World Championship, Final Report

Event #17
Ladies World Poker Championship
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $1,000
Number of Entries: 1,060
Total Net Prize Pool: $964,600
Number of Places Paid: 117
First Place Prize: $195,390
June 7-9, 2009

Event Headlines

  1. Lisa Hamilton Wins 2009 Ladies World Poker Championship
  2. High-Stakes Cash Game Player Makes Last-Minute Decision to Enter Tournament, Wins Event
  3. Two-Time Champ Susie Isaacs Cashes for Ninth Time in Ladies Championship – Most in History

The Winner

The 2009 World Series of Poker Ladies Poker Championship is Lisa Hamilton, from Las Vegas, NV.

Hamilton is originally from Hawaii. She has been living in Las Vegas for about 12 years.

Hamilton does not describe herself as a “professional poker player.” Yet she spends many hours playing poker (in big cash games). She explained she is shy and does not want to boast about playing poker for a living. Hamilton also spends some of her time helping with the family business, which is in clothing retail.

This was only the second WSOP event Hamilton has played. She entered an event a few years ago, but was eliminated early. Hence, this was her first WSOP cash, which was an outright victory.

Hamilton is a high-stakes cash-game player. She regularly sits in the upper strata of No-Limit games, from $10-20 up to $50-100 blinds, a big game by any standard. She rarely plays in poker tournaments.

“I do not even play in tournaments,” Hamilton said. “That’s why everyone is teasing me (after I won).”

Hamilton stated in the previous WSOP event she entered, she busted out just a few minutes into play. She vowed never to play in a tournament again. However, Hamilton came to this WSOP with a friend to watch her play and hang out with her during breaks. She decided to enter the tournament at the last minute.

“I entered at the last minute,” Hamilton said. “I kept telling my friend, ‘I’m not playing!’ I am not playing in this event! I decided to play and I don’t even know how I made it this far. I’m shocked!”

“I’m not used to being around so many girls,” Hamilton said, in reference to the fact she usually sits with male opponents in most of her high-stakes cash games.

Hamilton collected $195,390 for first place. She was also awarded her first WSOP gold bracelet.

Hamilton had no specific plans for the prize money she won.

Hamilton was cheered on to victory by about a dozen friends, including many players who know her from cash games.

As for future tournament plans, Hamilton stated that she plans to play only the WSOP Main Event.

According to the official records, Hamilton now has 1 win, 1 final table appearance, and 1 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. This was her first time to cash.

The Final Table

The final table contained no former WSOP gold bracelet winners. This was the seventh of 18 finales held so far this year with no former winners -- which guaranteed a first-time champion.

This was the first final table this year with no players aged in their 20s. Yesterday’s finale (Event 15) was quite possibly the youngest final table composition in WSOP history, with an average age of 24. The ages for the ladies ranged from 31 to 53.

The runner up was Lori Bender, from Houston, TX. She graduated from the FBI National Academy and is now a captain in the Houston Police Department.

The third-place finisher was Mari Lou Morelli, from Long Beach, CA. Two years ago, she won the Deep Stack Extravaganza which paid $93,000, held at the Venetian.

The fourth-place finisher was Angel Pedroza, from Turlock, CA. She works as a bartender.

The fifth-place finisher was Kimberly Cunningham, from Pearland, TX. She is the daughter of a professional pool player. Cunningham is also a homemaker and mother of two children.

The sixth-place finisher was Kim Rios, from San Lorenzo, CA. She won her buy-in into the tournament via the Ladies in Poker Series (LIPS), which supports women in the game of poker.

The seventh-place finisher was Lisa Parsons, from Las Vegas, NV. She finished 76th in last year’s WSOP Main Event. She also took 33rd place in the 2007 Ladies Poker Championship.

The eighth-place finisher was Dawn Thomas, from Southgate, Michigan.

The ninth-place finisher was Lisa Santy, from El Segundo, CA.

The defending champion from 2008 was Svetlana Gromenkova, from New York, NY. She cashed again this year, finishing in 57th place.

Other In-the-Money Finishers

Former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included – Susie Isaacs (84th) and Svetlana Gromenkova (57th).

Susie Isaacs in-the-money finish in this event means she has now cashed nine times in the Ladies Poker Championship, more than any player in history.

Other notable names on the money list included: Karina Jett (21st), Debbie Burkhead (53rd), Maria Ho (97th), and Erica Schoenberg (117th).

Odds and Ends

The tournament was played over three consecutive days. On Day Three, the final table was dealt out on ESPN’s secondary stage. The feature table, located nearby, hosted the other finale played on the same day, which was the World Championship of Omaha High-Low Split. Most days at the WSOP this year will include two final tables.

The Ladies World Poker Championship has been played every year at the WSOP since 1977. This was the 32nd straight year of the competition. During the first two decades, the ladies played Seven-Card Stud for the title. 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. Since 2005, the WSOP has been played during the summer months.

Only two women have won multiple Ladies Poker World Championships. This short list includes Barbara Enright and Susie Isaacs. 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.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory. The ceremony takes place on at center stage of the main tournament room and begins during the break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 pm. The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played. The entire presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.

The Event

The $1,000 buy-in Ladies Poker World Championship attracted 1,060 entries. The total prize pool amounted to $964,600. The top 117 finishers collected prize money.

This was the fourth consecutive year that attendance in the ladies championship has surpassed one-thousand players.

The chip leader at the end of Day One was Tamara Tibbles, from Spokane, WA. She ended up finishing 15th.

The chip leader coming into the final table was Lori Bender. She ended up finishing second. Winner Lisa Hamilton started off Day Three in second place.

Hamilton endured at least one scary moment late in the tournament. At the final table, she was all-in holding pocket kings against the (then) chip leader, Angel Pedroza, who had A-J suited. An ace flopped, but so did a king – giving Hamilton a set of kings. The set won. That was the critical hand which propelled her to victory.

When heads-up play began, Hamilton had about a 3 to 1 chip advantage over Lori Bender.

The final hand of the tournament came when Hamilton was dealt Q-8 versus Bender, holding 9-8. The flop came J-8-3. After a blank four on the turn, Bebder check-raised all-in and Hamilton made the call. Hamilton tables second pair with the better kicker, which dragged the pot after a blank fell on the river.

This was the quickest final table of the 2009 WSOP, to date. It clocked in as less than three hours.

The tournament officially began on Saturday, June 7th, at 12 noon. The tournament officially ended on Tuesday, June 9, 5:10 pm.

Final Results

  Name Prize City State/Country
1 Hamilton, Lisa $195,390 Honolulu HI
2 Bender, Lori $120,575 Houston TX
3 Morelli, Mari Lou $78,132 Long Beach CA
4 Pedroza, Angel $53,940 Turlock CA
5 Cunningham, Kimberly $38,719 Pearland TX
6 Rios, Kimberly $29,121 San Lorenzo CA
7 Parsons, Lisa $22,880 Las Vegas NV
8 Thomas, Dawn $18,742 Southgate MI
9 Santy, Lisa $15,973 El Segundo CA
10 Houle, Donna $13,716 Cranston RI
11 Brown, Collette $13,716 Carrollton TX
12 Storrar, India $13,716 London United Kingdom
13 Liu, Joanne $9,954 Las Vegas NV
14 Jimena, Julieta $9,954 San Diego CA
15 Tibbles, Tamara $9,954 Spokane WA
16 Masek, Melissa $7,118 Denver CO
17 West, Sandra $7,118 Las Vegas NV
18 Kantor, Anna $7,118 Wauconda IL
19 Tran, Angie $5,556 Houston TX
20 Kerstetter, Jamie $5,556 Monroe Twp NJ
21 Jett, Karina $5,556 Henderson NV
22 Talbot, Alice $5,556 Arcadia CA
23 Kling, Lauren $5,556 Las Vegas NV
24 Swaney, Laurie $5,556 Olympia WA
25 Vinlove, Jennifer $5,556 Ceres CA
26 Hopper, Nelda $5,556 Anna TX
27 Bartolone, Frances $5,556 Robbinsville NJ
28 Bane, Nancy $4,581 San Marcos CA
29 Hillis, Cindy $4,581 Arlington WA
30 Zarosky, Patti $4,581 Pleasanton TX
31 Saelee, Yian $4,581 Tukwila WA
32 Harris, Maura $4,581 Chesterfield MO
33 Brown, Shelly $4,581 Honolulu HI
34 White, Sandra $4,581 Irving TX
35 Nazarali, Alya $4,581 Calgary AB, Canada
36 Blair, Deborah $4,581 Vail AZ
37 Snead, Debra $3,790 Parker CO
38 Chalendard, Marie $3,790 Chalendard FR
39 Withers, Michelle $3,790 Universal City TX
40 Austin, Mary $3,790 Springdale AR
41 Tangstrom, Ulrika $3,790 Stockholm Sweden
42 Kolfage, Candy $3,790 Las Vegas NV
43 Beltran, Thuy $3,790 Parrish FL
44 Joseph, Susan $3,790 Los Angeles CA
45 Peng, Vanessa $3,790 Las Vegas NV
46 Champa, Monica $3,260 Camas WA
47 Bonn, Candace $3,260 Mobridge SD
48 Armstrong, Rhonda $3,260 Santa Rosa CA
49 Mayrinck, Maria $3,260 Rio De Janeiro Brazil
50 Vukasin, Lisa $3,260 Anchorage AK
51 Khuu, Lisa $3,260 Las Vegas NV
52 Shea, Ann $3,260 Butte MT
53 Pierce, Lucia $3,260 Canyon TX
54 Navarro, Avelyn $3,260 Mt View CA
55 Burkhead, Debra $2,864 Las Vegas NV
56 Kruze, Julie $2,864 Las Vegas NV
57 Gromenkova, Svetlana $2,864 New York NY
58 Egedisen, Brenda $2,864 Denver CO
59 Rody, Laura $2,864 Las Vegas NV
60 Medina, Mychele $2,864 Long Beach CA
61 Varlotto, Donna $2,864 Las Vegas NV
62 Samor, Chhaya $2,864 Hemet CA
63 Murray, Nancy $2,864 Garden City GA
64 Mccabe, Terri $2,575 Cedar Park TX
65 Priday, Christine $2,575 Commerce City CO
66 Vonsachsen, D. Princess $2,575 Las Vegas NV
67 Martinez, Betty $2,575 Lakewood CO
68 Broda, Lorri $2,575 Tarzana CA
69 Schroeder, Christina $2,575 Red Deer AB, Canada
70 Seagris, Gail $2,575 Thunder Bay ON
71 Katz, Hillarie $2,575 San Francisco CA
72 Volynsky, Victoria $2,575 Pflugerville TX
73 Adriaans, Marina $2,459 Mierlo Netherlands
74 Baker, Jennifer $2,459 Ft Collins CO
75 Nguyen, Dang $2,459 Mont Royal QC, Canada
76 Johnston, Ann $2,459 Gainesville GA
77 Abarbanel, Brett $2,459 Las Vegas NV
78 Albritton, Lea $2,459 Berkeley CA
79 Cook, Amanda $2,459 Colorado Springs CO
80 Leago, Jennifer $2,459 Houston TX
81 Broder, Lori $2,459 Buellton CA
82 Verrett, Melissa $2,228 Cross Plains WI
83 Vullo, Tracy $2,228 Mayfield Hts OH
84 Isaacs, Susan $2,228 Henderson NV
85 Shaffer, Roneen $2,228 West Vancouver BC, Canada
86 Holomon, Marlene $2,228 Northridge CA
87 Honour, Nicole $2,228 Keystone Heights FL
88 Le, Anh $2,228 San Jose CA
89 Enriquez, Espy $2,228 Oceanside CA
90 Juarbe, Rosalinda $2,228 Las Vegas NV
91 Mcdonald, Jodene $2,083 Osceola WI
92 Feterman, Maria $2,083 Las Vegas NV
93 Newburger, Nancy $2,083 Vernon Hills IL
94 Bui, Adeline $2,083 Leander TX
95 Bachman, Kristin $2,083 Calgary AB, Canada
96 Clark, Patricia $2,083 Jeffersonvill IN
97 Ho, Maria $2,083 Arcadia CA
98 Gains, Beth $2,083 Los Angeles CA
99 Phillippo, Jody $2,083 Phoenix AZ
100 Kalantzi, Maria $1,900 Long Island City NY
101 Doan, Thuyen $1,900 Williamsburg VA
102 Rodriguez, Inga $1,900 Laredo TX
103 Wheat, Jane $1,900 Long Beach CA
104 Nguyen, Hai $1,900 Sacramento CA
105 Vaneffen, Dawn $1,900 Owosso MI
106 Musson, Enid $1,900 Blackpool United Kingdom
107 Hardisty, Katarina $1,900 Victoria BC, Canada
108 Decarlo, Dawn $1,900 Hamilton NJ
109 Celaya, Raylene $1,900 Las Cruces NM
110 Boehm, Stacie $1,900 Sheridan TX
111 Kasinowicz, Sandra $1,900 Folsom CA
112 Hollingshead, Kim $1,900 Van Nuys CA
113 McCarty, Robin $1,900 Coconut Creek FL
114 Han, Mo $1,900 Las Vegas NV
115 Benecke, Wendi $1,900 Carlsbad CA
116 Walker, Norma $1,900 Hemet CA
117 Schoenberg, Erica $1,900 Henderson NV

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