$$$$The front half of the Amazon Room was adorned with supportive husbands, gleeful children and girlfriends of the remaining lady competitors. It was a sea of pink hats, pink jackets, pink nails, and even…pink hair.
Yes, it is quite the spectacle, this Ladies' Event. And it is especially spectacular because in addition to winning a sweet $262,077, the first place winner will also receive a makeover at the spa at the Rio, courtside seats to a WNBA Sparks game (including recognition at the game), and…a date with the pit boss.
Now, while this frilly basket of prizes is sure to excite the remaining nine players of the event, one can't help but wonder: Why don't the winners of the other events get dates with the pit boss?
Okay, I know, the other tournaments are made up of like, ninety per cent straight dudes. But still. Spoiling the Ladies' Event winner with this much frosting is almost patronizing. It's like telling the winner, "Yes, you're a winner! Yes, really! You're really a winner! Congratulations! You WIN!"
But maybe this is okay. From the looks of it, the ladies' tournament is in a caliber of its own, compared with the rest of the events. When it was down to two tables, eliminations were met with enthusiastic applause as the busted (no pun intended) would regally rise from her table, give a little wave or a bow, and exit the tournament area.
There was no shaking of heads due to a bad beat, and no huffing and puffing while stalking off, as is sometimes the case in other events. Instead, the losers rushed into the arms of their husband/boyfriend/children; it was quite heart-warming.
But even ladies - are still girls. And girls are catty. At the beginning of the day, a player pushed all-in on the first hand, and lost. Luckily, she had her opponent covered so she still had something left. But the play didn't impress Mary Jones Meyer, winner of the 2006 Ladies' Event, who was at the same table.
"Okay, let's just go all-in - on the first hand!" she called out, with a smile on her face. It seemed she was going for the good-natured tone, but I couldn't help but sense some sarcasm.
Mary was eliminated in 16th place, so we will be crowning a new poker queen tomorrow. She takes home $8,426, which is a bit of a pay-cut from last year's pay.
Besides the energy of the ladies' tournament, there are other obvious differences in play between this event and some of the other events we've seen thus far. We started off the day with 67 players, and that number quickly diminished to 9 after a short six hours of play. In poker time, 6 hours to a final table is almost lightning speed.
Meanwhile, at another table nestled in a quieter and less-pink section of the Amazon Room, Mimi Tran sat across from each other in Day 2 of the World Championship Limit Hold'em event. Vanessa Rousso was also still in the game today, surrounded by guys both at the table and the rails, as usual. At the moment, Liz Lieu is the only female player left in the tournament. But there is no smiling allowed at these tables - they mean business here.
So today's lady-laden Amazon Room brings up the discourse that quandaries many a poker player's mind: In the world of poker, where does a woman stand?
And while there are a few pretty faces out there who are media favorites but don't really seem to cash-in very often, it seems that good genes will get you somewhere in poker (well at least you'll get some free hats and clothes). But to actually make some good money, skill and luck count for a whole lot more.
The Ladies' Event continues tomorrow at 2 p.m. and we're down to the final nine ladies. Leading the club is Frauke Ritter Von Sporschill (try saying that name really loud and fast - it's fun), with over $500,000 in chips.
We look forward to a day of sisterhood in the poker world, as we work it down to the first lucky lady of poker. Hopefully they keep the smiles on.