Day 10: Ladies, start your engines

Susie Isaacs
Susie Isaacs is a two-time ladies champ and hungry for a third win.

The big news of the day today at the 2008 World Series of Poker will be the start of the Ladies No-Limit Hold'em World Championship.

The Ladies Championship has a long history as a World Series of Poker event, going back to 1977, just seven years after the WSOP got its start. That inaugural event had a $100 buy-in, bringing the ladies together to play some Seven-Card Stud.

Jackie McDaniels won it the first year, and the event has since become a deeply rooted WSOP tradition.

However, it has evolved over the years as well. The very next year after its initiation, the buy-in was upped to $200.

That made the pool a little juicier for the eventual winner, Terry King. King went on to cash in the event in '91, '92, '93 and '98, making the final table during two of those tournaments.

The buy-in was doubled again for the 1979 tournament won by Barbara Freer, and it stayed at that level for two more years after that before being increased to $500 in 1982.

It was 10 years before the WSOP would make another change to the tournament. In 1992, the buy-in was doubled to $1,000, and Shari Flanzer was the biggest beneficiary of the prize-pool boost that year.

Then in 2000, the tournament officials decided to try out a new format for the Ladies Event, switching it from strictly Seven-Card Stud to half Hold'em and half Stud instead. In 2004 it was switched to just Limit Hold'em and then in 2005 it became a No-Limit Hold'em event that saw record attendance.

The poker boom ignited by Chris Moneymaker's win in 2003 didn't just bring more male players to the tables and to the World Series. The women were ready for some No-Limit action as well, and 601 of them showed up to play.

In 2006, that number nearly doubled as 1,128 women shattered the record for attendance of a women-only event. That record was broken again in 2007, and tournament officials are expecting to see just as many if not more ladies in the event this year.

So who are the ladies who've been named World Champion in this event over the past 30 years? Here's the list:

Year Name Prize
1977 Jackie McDaniels $5,580
1978 Terry King $10,080
1979 Barbara Freer $12,720
1980 Debby Callihan $14,888
1981 Ruth Godfrey $17,600
1982 June Field $16,000
1983 Carolyn Gardner $16,000
1984 Karen Wolfson $15,500
1985 Rose Pifer $18,500
1986 Barbara Enright $16,400
1987 Linda Ryke-Drucker $16,800
1988 Loretta Huber $17,000
1989 Alma McClelland $18,600
19990 Marie Gabert $22,000
1991 Donna Ward $28,200
1992 Shari Flanzer $38,000
1993 Phyllis Kessler $32,800
1994 Barbara Enright $38,400
1995 Starla Brodie $35,200
1996 Susie Isaacs $42,000
1997 Susie Isaacs $38,000
1998 Mandy Commanda $40,000
1999 Christina Pie $34,000
2000 Nani Dollison $54,200
2001 Nani Dollison $41,130
2002 Catherine Brown $39,880
2003 Barb Rugolo $40,700
2004 Huong Doan $58,530
2005 Jennifer Tilly $158,335
2006 Mary Jones $236,094
2007 Sally Boyer $262,077

The Ladies Championship gets under way at noon today, and Event 16, the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better, starts up at 5 p.m.

Other poker action at the Rio today includes the conclusion of Events 11 and 12, plus the second day of play for Events 13 and 14.

To keep up on who's in and who's out for each event, visit the Live Tournaments section. The PokerListings tournament reporters are on the floor to bring you the best live updates, photos, interviews, video and more straight from the Rio in Las Vegas.

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