After holding the chip lead for much of the Ladies Championship event at the World Series of Poker, many thought that La Sengphet would emerge as the winner, but as so often happens in the peaks and valleys of the game she was able only to muster a seventh placing as Vanessa Hellebuyk swept to victory in an event that sparked another gender uproar.
It was certainly an eventful weekend at the Las Vegas epic:
Event 21, the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud, saw internet high stakes cash game pro Richard Ashby emerge triumphant from a competitive and highly experienced final table to take the main prize of $140,467.
In the heads up he was at a chip disadvantage as he faced Christine Pietsch at the start, who gave him a good run for his money but was not able to stop the young Brit, who claimed his first WSOP bracelet.
The fireworks occurred in Event 22, the $1,000 Ladies NLHE contest.and not just at the tables.
Shaun Deeb in drag, along with a few other males claiming gender inequality, entered and played in the event but were not among the final tablers when the game ended. Deeb, who has variously claimed he did it for a bet and to protest at the gender inequality of the event, was at the centre of the publicity, subsequently earning some harsh criticism on pro blogs.
Aside from that talking point, the event featured some excellent players by any standards, and by Day 2 the field was down to 136, with respected aces like Michelle Lewis, Liv Boeree, Lacey Jones and Karina Jett unable to stay the course.
By close of play Saturday Sidsel Boesen finished with the overnight chip lead on a final table of nine, which reconvened Sunday afternoon to play down to the winner. She was to last through to the heads up against Vanessa Hellebuyk, but the final prize eluded her.
The heads up was formed when Timmi DeRosa was eliminated by Hellebuyk and lasted for only seven hands before Hellebuyk used her 5 to 1 chip advantage to send Boesen to the exit around 8.45pm Vegas time Sunday.
Hellebuyk claimed the honour of best of 1,054 entrants and collected the winner’s check for $192,132, leaving her plucky opponent with a runner up prize worth $118,897.
After two days of action, by Sunday only 12 players remained of the 384 who registered for event 23 – the $2,500 buy-in Limit Hold’Em Six-Handed contest.
The quality of the field can be judged by a look at some of those who did not succeed, a list that included Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, J.C. Tran, Annie Duke, Erik Cajelais, Andy Bloch, Joe Sebok and Vitaly Lunkin.
Others who came short but at least cashed included Justin Bonomo, Michael Binger and Shawn Buchanan.
Sunday afternoon’s resumption saw Al Barbieri holding the Togel Online chip lead, but by late evening he had been eliminated and the field was down to just three players, with Brian Meinders holding a substantial chip lead on 1,500,000, followed by Dutch Boyd on 820,000 and Albert Minnullin on 705,000.
Day 1b of event 24, the $1,000 NLHE attracted another 1,358 entrants which, added to Day 1a’s massive field brought the total of competing players to 3,289.
290 survivors emerged from Day 1a’s action, and these will compete against the Day 1b remaining players.
Sunday’s Day 1b saw players like Craig Marquis, Andrew Feldman, Shawn Buchanan, Matt Graham, Maria Ho taking their seats, whilst WSOP bracelet holders were in abundance, among them Humberto Brenes (2), Blair Hinkle (1), Brandon Cantu (2), Vitaly Lunkin (2) Josh Arieh (2) and Jason DeWitt (1).
Two of the internet’s most potent high stakes players were there, too – Isaac Haxton and Tom Dwan.
Approaching 11pm Vegas time Sunday the competition was at level 9 after a hard day, with a high rate of attrition ensuring that only 222 players remained, with David Wilkerson in the lead on 66,400, pursued by Chris Adams (56,325) and Adam Reynolds (54,400)
Tom Dwan, still chasing that elusive first WSOP bracelet and some big money in side bets, was still in the hunt and around ninth in the chip counts.
Event 25 – the $10,000 buy-in Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better Championship entered its second day on Sunday and by 11pm Vegas time had played down from an original entry field of 212 to 36 pros on level 15.
Still in the running, albeit relatively low on the chip stacks was Phil Hellmuth, chasing his 12th bracelet and a new record and of course the $488,237 first prize that goes with this event.
This is a stellar-heavy competition; among the top 20 going into Day 2 were Eugene Katchalov, David Benyamine, Sammy Farha, Alexander Kostritsyn, George Danzer, Vladamir Shchemelev, Jeffrey Lisandro and Brock Parker.
Late night Sunday Sergey Altbregin held the chip lead on 435,000, with Sammy Farha on 380,000 and Eric Baldwin on 285,000.
Already despatched to the rail are 2008 Champ Benyamine, Vladimir Schmelev, Scotty Nguyen, John Monnette, Jen Harman, Robert Mizrachi, Phil Ivey and Barry Greenstein.