Women thrive at London, eye up the Caribbean
by Mad Harper
Women positively blossomed at the PokerStars European Poker Tour London Poker Festival last week and showed they are more than a force to be reckoned with on the international poker circuit.
Only a few days after her official launch as the newest member of PokerStars' elite team of professional players, Liv Boeree from the UK showed her mettle with a second-place finish in the £2,000 No Limit Hold'em event. Her performance - against a 147-strong field- added another £51,330 to her already-burgeoning bankroll. Liv, a 25-year-old astrophysics graduate, has been playing poker for around five years but her breakthrough came last April when she beat 1,239 players to take down EPT San Remo for a €1,250,000 first prize. The tournament was one of the biggest ever held in Europe.
Another new member of Team PokerStars Pro also boosted her formidable reputation at the EPT London Poker Festival. American Vanessa Selbst is currently studying law at Yale but manages to juggle her off-felt commitments with a thriving life on the international tournament circuit. The 25-year-old from Brooklyn already has five WSOP finals to her name and pulled off a career-best victory when she won the inaugural PokerStars North American Poker Tour Main Event at Mohegan Sun in April this year for $750,000.
Since joining Team PokerStars Pro in the summer, Vanessa has played two EPTs and cashed at both. At EPT Tallinn in August, she came joint third in the €3,200 Heads-Up Tourney but her €11,400 cash in Estonia seems positively puny compared to the £145,000 she won last week for coming fourth in the £20,000 EPT London High Roller event, a tournament which pitted her against the very biggest names in poker.
EPT London also played host to several ladies-only events which attracted some big names and proved a massive hit with women from all over the world. The highlight was the two-day £550 PokerStars Luxury Ladies Event which was won by French player Anais Lerouge, a former poker dealer, who took £11,050 back home to Cannes. She bested a 57-strong field that included top players such as Team PokerStars Pros Veronica Dabul, Sandra Naujoks and Celina Lin plus Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, EPT TV presenter Michelle Orpe, PokerStars-sponsored gamer Charlotte van Brabander and British pro Maria Demetriou.
Anais, who has been playing poker for around three and a half years, has already had impressive results and came second for €68,000 at the Partouche Main Event in Cannes in September. No doubt her boyfriend has been giving her tips: he's Frenchman Antoine Saout who came third at the World Series of Poker last year.
Also competing in the EPT London Ladies Event was Michelle Webb, who won her £1,500 prize package in a free-roll sponsored by Woman Poker Player magazine. Her prize included entry fee to the main ladies' tournament, spending money for expenses, hotel accommodation, a special goodie bag AND an invite to the poker party of the year at Mayfair's spectacular Club Jalouse. Also playing was Claire Renaut - girlfriend of top French pro Fabrice Soulier - who took her seat just after finishing 91st in the Main Event. The total prize pool was £27,645.
In the £220 Ladies Event, 24 players competed, creating a total prize pool of £4,656. The winner was Sinem Melin from the UK who won £3,000. The runner-up was Tina Marie Abery from Ireland who cashed £1,656.
With London done and dusted, all eyes are now on the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event in January - and why not! This is where PokerStars' Luxury Ladies Poker Events get truly tropical. Starting this month, PokerStars is offering a range of online qualifers (running right through to January) offering women the chance to escape the winter cold and win a trip to the fabulous Atlantis Casino in the Bahamas. There they will be competing in the premier Ladies Event of the Year - the two-day $1,100 Ladies Event. The 2010 event was won by Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso who beat 90 players - including team-mates such as Sandra Naujoks, Maria Mayrinck, Veronica Dabul and Katja Thater - to snag the $24,725 first prize.
All news about PokerStars Ladies Events and special promotions can be found at the new PokerStars Women website - a one-stop shop for everything that PokerStars has to offer female poker players. As well as exclusive tournaments, PokerStarsWomen offers the best rewards scheme, interviews, promotions, merchandise, special leagues, forum and blogs - not to mention valuable tips from the top pros.