Just 45 Women Left Chasing Poker’s Biggest Title

Maria Ho is one of just 45 females left standing in the Main Event field after two days of play. (Drew Amato Photo)

Maria Ho is one of just 45 females left standing in the Main Event field after two days of play. (Drew Amato Photo)

It may be hard to be a woman in the poker world; numbers alone dictate you’re going to be the minority throughout the entire event. The WSOP Main Event is no different. Of the 6,683 total players; out of those competitors, only 282 were female.

Not to say that some women aren’t more than happy to take their seats in the WSOP Main Event and fight to hold their own; women like Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho and Melissa Burr have shown their skills and have no problem facing the men across the felt.

After a period of five days, the players returned for Day 3, with all three of the different flights combined into one for the first time. As the day began, only 1,864 players returned to the Rio, still hoping to lock in a spot as a November Niner. At the first shuffle up and deal, players filled all three rooms; just a few hours later and only Brasilia and Pavilion housed the 1,539 players that were left in the Main Event. Doing a walk through the masses, there appeared to only be 45 females left in the field, equally distributed between the two rooms.

The Ladies Event, which was held here at the WSOP earlier in the summer is the perfect chance for women to get their feet wet and try out the game without a feeling of intimidation from all the men. This year, Mikiyo Aoki finished second in the event, after only playing a few small events before. Following her run in the Ladies event, Aoki decided to give the Main Event a try, and has managed to survive to Day 3 with around 260,000 chips.

Catching up with Aoki after the first level of the day was completed, she was just excited about being apart of this huge event. “I’m so excited. This is a lot more of a marathon. Everyone starts so deep. In the Ladies Event, everyone only started with 3,000 chips, and here we started with 30,000 chips, so you can be a lot more patient and pick your spots. My summer has been awesome. It’s been on my bucket list since around the Chris Moneymaker era, and basically the Ladies Event gave me the opportunity to play this event. I thought I should take it while I had the chance.”

“So far I haven’t had to sit with any pros yet…I don’t think. And I’m okay with that. Hopefully I get some more chips before I get put in that situation. I had a rough start to the day, but still have enough. I made two bad calls on my part and just need to refocus and get back in the zone.” Talking about the remaining number of women left in the field, Aoki is excited about the group that is left. “It’s awesome to hear that there are still some ladies left in the field. I heard that there were only a couple hundred and was surprised by that.

Jamie Kerstetter, a circuit grinder and Party Poker team member, has made it to Day 3 as well. Kerstetter recently made a deep run in a tournament at Aria that she opted to play on her day off from the Main Event. During a quick chat with Kerstetter before she sat back down, she talked about the Main Event and her hopes at making a run. “This will be my fifth day of twelve hours or more if I make it to the end of the day. I feel pretty good though. Making a deep run in anything gives me more energy to play.”

Kerstetter tweeted about her table on Day 2 of the Main Event:

Talking about her previous experiences in the Main Event, Kerstetter has hope that this year could be a good one. ” I have about 140K. It’s fun just to still be in this tournament. I’ve made two day fours and busted on two day ones before. It’s cool to be deep in this one and give myself another chance. Everyone’s dream is just to be in a good position going into Day 4.”

When told that about 45 females were still in the field, Kerstetter was pleasantly surprised. “That’s pretty good then. If one out of five of us is still in. It’s probably ahead of the field actually. I don’t know, I think there are always one or two that make a deep run. There are a lot of good females players out there now. It’s funny, I was just in the bathroom seeing all the superstars come in, like Maria Ho and a couple other good ones. I hope one of us makes a good run.”

All about girl power, Maria Ho shared a link on her Twitter page earlier in the series about Vanessa Selbst:

Some other females that entered the event but were unable to survive the first two days include Vanessa Selbst, Melissa Burr, Jen Harman, Jennifer Shahade, Vanessa Rousso, Triana Iglesias, and Lauren Kling. Still left in the field after playing two gruelling days of poker include Nancy Birnbaum, Liya Gerasimova, Kristy Duong, Ariel Spivack, Susie Zhao, Carla Sabini, Anna Khait and Wendy Rubin.

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