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Women Take Center Stage at 2010 WSOP
There's a different vibe in the Pavilion Room on Day 15 of the 2010 WSOP, as it's a nearly all-female field for Day 1 of the $1k Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship.
1,054 players came for the start of the Ladies Championship Friday, and although a few males registered for the tournament, the field was an overwhelming female majority, with many big names in the house.
Liv Boeree, Shannon Elizabeth, Sara Underwood and Tiffany Michelle were all in the tournament for Day 1, and the field is a mix of celebrities and some of poker's female finest.
Also in the field were Kathy Liebert, Evelyn Ng, Leo Margets and Vanessa Rousso, with a first-place prize of $192,132 on the line.
"I think for a professional poker player it's a good value, because a lot of the ladies playing aren't experienced players," Michelle said during the first break.
"I like my odds. It's a fun event and fun to sit down with a bunch of women."
Michelle, who broke through on the poker scene with her 17th-place finish in the 2008 Main Event, has mixed feelings about the Ladies Championship.
"I think the reason it was created is wonderful, to promote more women getting into poker," Michelle said.
"I'm on the fence about it. I feel like women are always wanting equality. So I know that we'd be pissed if they had a men only event."
"There's kind of a double standard, but I think the purpose of it is to make it a stepping stone for women to be more comfortable playing with men."
The field of the Ladies Event is almost identical to last year with only six less players than in 2009. Last year Hawaiian Lisa Hamilton outlasted a field of 1,060 players to win a $195,390 first place prize.
The event peaked in 2007 with 1,286 players but the drop off hasn't been as steep as many other tournaments that have seen fewer numbers thanks to the economic downturn.
The female-only High Heels Poker Tour is also on hand, with a hospitality suite in the Brasilia Room right across from the Pavilion Room.
The HHPT qualified more than 20 women for the $1k Ladies Championship, with a dozen qualifiers coming from Thrusday's HHPT Sit-n-Go Extravaganza event.
HHPT founder Lauren Failla remains a fervant supporter of the event, despite taking a bad beat to be eliminated from this year's edition.
"It's been amazing," said of the HHPT promotion at the WSOP.
"Everyone embraced it, thought it was a really good idea to offer these women in the poker industry an opportunity to basically show their wares."
The weekend wraps up with the HHPT/Pink Ladies Poker Tour event, taking place Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel.