Playing the Women's Sunday

women_thumb.jpgScratch the surface of any mere mortal poker player like me and you will probably find a fantasy such as this one. It's late in the game in a big tournament and you are at the table with a famous pro--Liv Boeree or Vanessa Selbst--someone famous and feared. You get a good hand and find yourself going head-to-head with them. Then miracle of miracles, your hand not only holds up but improves--your pair of queens turns into the nut flush.

You find yourself laying a trap to reel in the pro for a huge pot and busting them in the process. The pot is pushed to you and as it happens, the crowd roars and the TV cameras swivel to catch the shot of you raking in the chips. Well . . . maybe your poker fantasies don't get as extreme as mine . . . but at the very least your buddies on the rail are there watching and cheering you on.

Four players in yesterday's Women's Sunday will have a story similar to this one to tell for years to come, but for them it's no fantasy. For players "dorcca," "Krazeey," FinancialPOK," and "luzzzy" the stories will be part of their personal poker history. They are the first four women to play and knock-out the pros in the Women's Sunday $5k Guarantee that debuted on March 27 with 207players (including me) and four featured pros. The PokerStars Team Pros included Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst, Charlotte Van Brabander, and online whiz Mer Brit.

The tournament itself was a huge success with an overall payout that doubled the 5k guarantee and wound up coming in at $10,350.00. Thirty-six players were paid with the top prize totaling $2116.68. The pros all had a $50 bounty on their heads as well, and for the players who managed to knock them out, this added to the eventual cash they made for the tournament. But more importantly, the pros added an element of drama and the promise of a great story.

As for me, staying out of the way of the pros was probably something that contributed to my making the final table and something I was happy to do. Although Liv Boeree was at my table for a few minutes, I never had the opportunity to play a hand against her and probably survived a bit longer as a result. However, like a fan-obsessed Hollywood stalker, I did use the progress of the pros to chart my own success, as I'm sure my friends on Facebook could tell you. I watched the player standings minute-by-minute to see how many pros were still in and how I ranked compared to them.

Although I write about poker and have interviewed some of the pros, I'm not immune to the stories poker legends are made of. What player doesn't want that story to tell their kids about the time when they doubled-up against Vanessa Selbst and went on to win the tournament? Although unfortunately that's not what happened for me yesterday, my finish at the final table came close enough to still give me some tales I'm sure I will bore my poker buddies with for days to come. Like the one where I was almost knocked out with my pocket Jacks against AK, but came back to double-up and get back in. Or the one . . . well, you get the idea.

I did keep my friends and family updated on Facebook with posts like this one saying "I'm in 20th place and Liv Boeree is one seat ahead of me" and others like it throughout the whole tournament. And since my phone was buzzing throughout the game with messages on Twitter and FB from other players who were doing the same, I'm guessing I wasn't the only one with this obsession. When I finally went out at the final table in ninth place it was disappointing, but at least I didn't bubble!

Making it to the final table with four PokerStars Team Pros and many other well-known players, including some of the most successful league players, provides a bit of a story of my own. I will have to wait awhile for that poker legend story, but then again, there's always next Sunday.

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For more information on how to qualify for the Women's Sunday in daily satellites see the Women's Sunday tournament page. And for more details on yesterday's Women's Sunday tournament see Jennifer Newell's article.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women