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In its 15-year history the World Poker Tour has never had a female champion at an open main event, until now.
Communications specialist Ema Zajmovic won the WPT Winter Festival at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal this week, taking over $240,000.
Amazingly Zajmovic, who has a relatively short list of poker cashes, made the final table of the last World Poker Tour main event in Montreal, finishing fifth for over $100,000.
It was her first six-figure score. Other major poker events including the World Series of Poker and the European Poker Tour have both seen multiple female champions.
Women have won invitational events on the WPT before but a victory in an open major had so far eluded them. Mike Sexton, who won the event Zajmovic final tabled previously, called her a mix between Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst in that she's aggressive and unafraid of playing pots.
Based on what he saw, Sexton predicted we'll be seeing Zajmovic at more final tables in the future. “Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it," Zajmovic told the WPT after she won.
"The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing.
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This week Ema Zajmovic became the first female to win an open World Poker Tour main event in the tour's 15-year history.
Zajmovic overcame a field of 380 players in the $3200 buy-in WPT Winter Festival at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal.
Zazmovic won over $240,000, plus a $15,000 buy-in to the World Poker Tour's season finale, the Tournament of Champions.
She also got her name on the WPT Champions Cup and took home a special WPT championship belt.
Zajmovic tweeted after the win:
“Hope your Valentine's Day was as good as mine! Thanks for the support!!!”
The communications specialist from Montreal caught the poker world's attention at the World Poker Tour's last main event at the Playground Poker Club last November when she made the final table and finished fifth, earning over $100,000.
That event was ultimately won by WPT commentator Mike Sexton
The World Poker Tour was impressed with her play, and quoted Sexton in a tweet saying:
“She is a combo of Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst”
Zajmovic's victory represents another step forward for women in poker and adds to a growing number of female champions who have won major open poker tournaments.
“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.