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First Brunson at WPT Ladies Night
The name Brunson summons images of a Stetson-sporting Doyle or a surly Todd at the poker table. But recently it is another name - Pamela - that is creating a buzz on the tournament circuit.
The latest success of Pamela Brunson, daughter of the legendary Texas Dolly, came this weekend at the Bicycle Casino in L.A. where the so-called Queen Kitty beat 125 other competitors at the World Poker Tour Ladies Only event Sunday.
For winning the tournament, Brunson pocketed $34,435 and a seat at the WPT Ladies' Night 5 invitational Aug. 31. The victory comes on the heels of her 2007 World Series of Poker success, where Brunson outlasted her father and brother to finish 364th and cash in the Main Event.
Now she will face five other female players at the upcoming televised final table: defending champion Mimi Tran, Full Tilt pro Kristy Gazes and Melissa Hayden, a poker player and writer. The winner of the tournament is to receive a $25,000 seat to the 2008 WPT World Championship.
But it wasn't just Brunson who earned cash at last weekend's event. The tournament also raised money for breast cancer research by donating money to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure partner charity. The WPT also partnered with the Ladies Poker Association for the first time, raising the buy-in to $1,000 and making the event an official stop on the LPA tour.
Fifteen percent of each buy-in as well as proceeds from auction prizes and cash donations from players raised more than $21,000 for the foundation to benefit breast cancer research. The WPT and Hands-On Mobile, maker of cell phone Texas Hold'em games, will also donate $5,000 apiece to Komen for the Cure.
The cause is particularly close to Brunson's heart after losing both her mother and grandmother to breast cancer. After making excited phone calls to friends and family upon winning the tournament, Brunson urged women to get mammograms.
"Breast cancer is a horrible disease that affects so many people, which is why we are honored to do our part to help find the cure for breast cancer," said WPT vice-president Robyn Moder. "Ladies' Night raises funds for a great cause while promoting awareness and strength among the poker and general community alike."
Running with the idea, the Bicycle Casino hosted a pink -themed appreciation party before the tournament where players munched cupcakes, drank cocktails and got pedicures while playing the news WPT mobile Hold'em game. Swag bags from the party included Republic of Tea products and pink Save the Ta-Ta's t-shirts.
The WPT Ladies Night 5 event will be taped at 3 p.m. at the Bike in Bell Gardens, Calif. The program will air on the Game Show Network sometime in 2008.