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Ema Zajmovic Ices First Open WPT Title for Women in MTL
There's something about Montreal - and the Playground Poker Club - that seems to lend itself to history.
Less than three months after World Poker Tour icon Mike Sexton stormed back to win his first-ever WPT title, poker history was made in La Belle Province again tonight.
Quebecer Ema Zajmovic - who was at that final table with Sexton in November but finished fifth - outlasted all 380 players in the partypoker.net WPT Playground main event to become the first female player to win an open-field WPT title.
On top of that historical benchmark, she earned $261,000 CAD along with a $15k seat in the season-end WPT Tournament of Champions and her name engraved on the famed Champions Cup.
2nd Time's the Charm
As mentioned Zajmovic nearly made history in November when she made the final six at WPT Montreal. Coming into that final table second in chips she looked poised to break the curse but ultimately finished fifth.
Surprisingly, in its 15-year run the WPT had never crowned a female winner in an open-field event before tonight although Van Nguyen won a WPT Invitational back in 2008.
Zajmovic made no mistake in stamping her name in the history books this time, defeating Jean-Francois Bouchard heads-up after starting with a chip deficit.
“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it," Zajmovic told the WPT. "The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing.
"When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”
Montreal native Eric Afriat - himself already a $1.1m WPT winner - finished third while Tam Ho, once the chipleader at the final table, finished fourth.
Here are the complete final-table results and payouts from partypoker.net WPT Playground:
1. Ema Zajmovic – CAD $261,000* (US $200,769*)
2. Jean-Francois Bouchard – CAD $169,270 (US $130,208)
3. Eric Afriat – CAD $108,690 (US $83,608)
4. Tam Ho – CAD $71,670 (US $55,131)
5. Mekhail Mekhail – CAD $55,200 (US $42,462)
6. Jean-Pascal Savard – CAD $45,690 (US $35,146)
For a full rundown of all the final-table action and more, check the WPT Live Updates.