Vicky Coren places second in IFP World Championship
In four days of exciting poker that showcased the depth of talent around the world, pros converged atop the London Eye for the International Federation of Poker Nation's Cup. Germany's victory was followed by the $500,000 Invitational World Championship where the ladies held court at "The Table."
135 of the world's top players sat for this historic event to determine who should be King, or Queen of London. With three ladies on the final table, including Team PokerStars Pros Vicky Coren and Sandra Naujoks, as well as Australia's Hall of Famer Marsha Waggoner, the ladies were looking dangerous and ready to dance.
Coren came incredibly close to victory, dominating heads-up play against Spain's Raul Mestre. After starting the final table third in chips, Coren sent Japan's Kinichi Nakata to the rail early followed by Germany's Tim Reese within the first hour of play.
One key hand with six players remaining saw a preview of the tangle to come, as Mestre attacked Coren's big blind holding Q♠3♠. Coren paid to see a flop of T♦2♣A♦ with a hand of 9♣6♣. She check-raised Mestre's bet of 12,000, raising it to 26,000. The J♣ turn opened up a flush draw for Coren and gutshot straight draw for Mestre. Coren bet 30,000 into the 83,000 pot and after Mestre asked for a count, he raised eyebrows and the pot to 80,000. After a long pause Coren folded, only to be shown the queen by Mestre.
"Did you call with a gutshot?" asked Coren. The bluff, re-bluff, re-re-bluff showed the level of skill and layers that were unfolding between these two calculating and masterful players.
Sandra Naujoks, the second-ever woman to win a European Poker Tour title in 2009, was sent to the rail at the hands of Mestre, collecting $17,500 for her sixth-place finish. Naujoks suffered arguably the bad beat of the day when her pocket kings were rivered by Mestre's 8-9 offsuit. In a poker career spanning only a few years, Naujoks continues to impress on and off the table. A qualified teacher, successful graphic designer and model, she also finds time to give back to the community through her charity All in 4 Kids.
Marsha Waggoner nursed her short-stack all the way to fifth place, showing the experience and skill that has made her one of the most enduring women on the poker circuit. Waggoner first tasted poker victory in 1990 in the Super Bowl of Poker Las Vegas where she then went on to tear up the felt across Nevada and California, culminating in more than $850,000 tournament career winnings. She joined the Australian Poker Hall of Fame in 2010, recognizing her achievements and her role as an ambassador for poker down under.
As play reached heads-up and in the throngs of defeat after losing a flip with A-J against pocket fives, Coren remained poised to turn around her 6-to-1 chip deficit.
"Oh, dear, I think we're going to be here quite a while longer," Coren said to the Mestre shortly after. But the final blow would be dealt when Coren's A-3 was dominated by Mestre's A-5, an unnecessary five on the flop sealing the fate and a World Championship title to the Spaniard.
Whoever said that poker was a man's game, must not have been sitting at "The Table," as the ladies continue to shine on poker's world stage.
1. Raul Mestre (Spain), $250,000
2. Victoria Coren, Team PokerStars Pro, (United Kingdom), $100,000
3. Igor Trafane (Brazil), $50,000
4. Slavko Tomic (Serbia), $25,000
5. Marsha Waggoner (Australia), $20,000
6. Sandra Naujoks, Team PokerStars Pro, (Germany), $17,500
7. Takuo Serita (Japan), $15,000
8. Tim Reese (Germany), $12,500
9. Kinichi Nakata (Japan), $10,000