2011 PCA Ladies Event pits satellite winners against pros and celebrities

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgNinety-six women started today in the $1K PokerStars Ladies Event, and the 28 satellite players who qualified have some tough competition. There are three Team PokerStars Pros in the field including Vicky Coren and Maridu Mayrinck plus Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo. Other pros include Kathy Liebert, top all-time female money winner, Veronica Dabul and Lauren Kling who has cashed in several major tournaments recently, including a fourteenth place finish in a WPT tournament.

In addition, Ana Marquez, who just missed the final table of the PCA Main Event yesterday when she finished tenth is in today as well, feeling confident and relaxed after her recent success. Other well-known players include Beth Gains, Megan Milburn, runner-up in EPT London Ladies event and Han Soljan, winner of the EPT Prague Ladies Event.

Then to add more star power to the event, we have Ricki Lake playing at a table that includes several of the tough players mentioned above, and one satellite player who has never played a live event. The line up at the table includes Fatima Moreira De Melo; Beth Gains; Lauren Kling; Cathy Hong, serious player and girlfriend of Team PokerStars Pro, Elky Grospellier; and finally Teija Halkosaari; a freeroll satellite winner who is playing her first live event. Teija traveled for over 30 hours to get here from Finland, and she is very excited about her first trip to the Bahamas. Although she has never played live, Teija has played thousands of hours online on PokerStars before coming here, and is currently holding her own.


Like Teija, this is the first big buy-in tournament for many of the players, but for one player, the Atlantis is starting to seem like her poker home away from home. Elizabeth Bennett-Martin has played the Main Event as a satellite player for the last three years, and she has played the ladies event each year as well. She was last seen with a good sized stack and holding a stuffed animal given to her by one of her sons. Her son and the rest of the family are here for the third year enjoying the Atlantis, while she plays poker.

An early hand ended the tournament for satellite player Rose Genest when her full house (tens over jacks) was beaten by a bigger full house. Another satellite player from Finland, Veronica Engberg, pushed in with jacks over tens and Rose called with what is normally a lock hand. Rose, who has recently made poker a major focus in her life by logging several hours a day playing satellites and playing in the PokerStars Women's League, took the bad beat in stride, but the early end to her tournament was obviously a devastating loss. When she realized however, that she had the rest of the afternoon to relax and get ready for the party tonight, she seemed to brighten visibly.

For all the players, today's event will provide some exciting poker and the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the poker world. After all, getting beaten by the likes of Vicky Coren or Kathy Liebert is a story that after a little while will be only a little bittersweet to tell.