69 in the hunt as registration closes on 2014 PCA Women's Event
In a cordoned off area of the PCA this afternoon there's a simple rule in place, namely: no men allowed. It's the annual $1,100 PCA Women's Event, and the 69 turnout has created a sizeable $66,930 prize pool -- up from 66 runners and $64,020 in 2013.
Among the field we've got past champs, PCA Main Event cashers, first-time players, PokerStars qualifiers and a healthy dose of Team PokerStars faces. When the next two days are done, only one of them will be left standing with the winner's cheque.
Players from all walks of life have taken their seats for the only tournament on the 39-strong PCA festival where Y chromosomes are a no-no.
There's Eva Anna Marie Jiretorn, who should have arrived in The Bahamas on Tuesday, but who got delayed by that Polar Vortex thing and had to stay for a night at Fort Lauderdale Airport. There's Evelyne Pugh, who's escaped -20 degree weather in Oakville, Canada, for a break with her husband and shot at PCA glory. And then there's Wanda McCarley, who's story is a little more touching than most.
In 2005, McCarley was diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of breast cancer and at one point was given a 40% chance of living past two years.
"It was tough," said McCarley. "I needed a double mastectomy and five weeks of radiation. I had two little boys -- aged six and 10 -- but we've all made it through. I qualified for today in a $215 direct qualifier, this is my first time here, and it's great fun. I'm learning a lot."
In the early levels we've spotted a pregnant Adrienne "Talonchick" Rowsome doing all she can to get comfortable (more from her later), Fatima Moreira de Melo talking nails (see below) and among the early pace-setters is one Lilly Kiletto.
With $361,251 in live tournament cashes, Kiletto is one of the more experienced players in today's field. She'll be looking to start the year as she ended it, following up a fifth place finish at a WPT event in Montreal by claiming her first PCA Women's Event cash come Monday.
Also looking to build a stack is Loni Harwood, who was the last woman standing in the yet to be finalised $10,000 Main Event, and she came into today's tournament looking to add to the $43,300 cash she recorded earlier this week.
"I'm very happy I had a deep run in the main," said Harwood during the first break. "I was happy to be the last woman standing, but that doesn't mean that much to me."
And how's Harwood getting on today, I hear you ask.
"The table's actually a lot tougher than I thought it would be," she added. "I expected it to be a bit softer."
As for past champions, 2013 winner, Corina Lupascu looks to still be close to her starting stack, while Vanessa Rousso helped make up the PokerStars contingent along de Melo, Rowsome and a late entry from Leo Margets.
All together this merry band are your 2014 PCA Women's Event line-up, and they'll each be hoping they don't get much time out in the sun over the next two days. The result is still too difficult to call, but it should be a great event to watch in the Imperial Ballroom.
"The Women's Event is always a highlight of the PCA for everyone involved, and it's great to see the numbers improving." said Joanne Bartley, Female Player Marketing Manager at PokerStars. "PokerStars cares about its strong community of female players, and hopefully next year's event will be even bigger."
$1,100 PCA Women's Event
Prize pool: $66,930
Stay tuned for more from the $1,100 Women's Event on the PokerStars Blog, or click through to live updates, features and interviews from the $10,000,000 guaranteed PCA Main Event, the $25,000 High Roller and the $100,000 Super High Roller.
Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.