The bracelet hunt is fully underway and Sin City has once again become the center of attention for poker pros, online qualifiers, media and fortune-hunters from all over the world. France and the Netherlands have celebrated their first victories in 2012 along side the usual US American and Canadian dominations at the Final Table of the World Series of Poker.
But one development so far in the early stages of the WSOP 2012 is by far more remarkable: The high number of deep runs and final table appearances for female contenders. It is not really a surprise though, because women have been tearing up the live poker circuit for quite some time already, but it's a warm welcome to the rather testosterone driven competition.
The $500 Casino Employee tournament set a great start to the run this year when Patricia Baker finished as the runner-up. And the last female player to win an open-event bracelet at the WSOP seemed to be determined only one event later to repeat her victory. Back in 2008, Vanessa Selbst won a $1,500 PLO event; now 4 years later she reached the final table again in an open event. Ultimately she fell short of the win and came 4th for $161,345 in Event #2 ($1,500 NLHE), but once again confirmed why she is widely considered as one of the best if not the best female poker player on the live poker circuit right now.
Former WSOPE Main Event Champion Annette Obrestad, who signed up with Lock Poker in April 2012, reached the last 8 of the $3,000 Heads-Up PLO/NLHE Event #3 and lost her match against Jason Koon to finish in a tie for 5th place out of a 317 player strong field.
The $1,500 Stud 8 or better Event 4 at the Rio All-suite & Casino in Las Vegas saw 622 entries and two women reached the final table. Marsha Waggoner just missed out in 9th place; Bonnie Rossi was sent to the rail in 8th place for $16,684 and Canadian Xuan Liu added a WSOP Final Table to her poker resume, which already contains two six-figure scores. It was not meant to be her first golden bracelet (at least at the WSOP) and she was eliminated in 6th place for $ 29,985, yet she has remained one of the female shooting stars on the circuit in the last few years.
The next two events would not see another female Final Table appearance but in Event 7, a $1,500 Seven Card Stud tournament, Canadian Caroline Hermesh finished 7th for $15,135 which was quite some feat considering the competition in this event such as David Williams who ended the tournament in 4th place and an epic Heads-Up battle between Barry Greenstein and Andy Bloch.
Event #9, a $1,500 NLHE re-entry tournament, saw an impressive 3,404 Entries and again, a woman reached the Final Table and it was no other than Amanda Musumeci who had a deep run in the Main Event last year where she finished in 62nd ($ 130,997). In 2012 the American has already cashed in several WSOP Circuit Events and TheReaLMander made it into the Heads-Up against Ashkan Razavi. Razavi had a huge chip advantage going into play but Musumeci never gave up and doubled up once, yet she eventually had to settle for 2nd place and the $481,643 score was her largest lifetime cash to date.
Within the first 10 events a total of eight female players reached a Top 10 finish at this year's World Series Of Poker and this almost increased to nine when Cyndy Violette was sent to the rail close to the Final 8 in the Seven Card Stud Event #10 and ended up in 11th place ($22,332). She will also be opening a Vegan restaurant in Sin City soon and this is most definitely a welcome change to the various fast food restaurants around each corner.
After this tremendous start this year, it shall be interesting to see if the Ladies can keep up that pace and whether or not any woman can reach the Final Table of the Main Event in 2012. So far this has only happened once in 1995 when Barbara Enright finished in 5th place for $ 114,180 and the inaugural female Poker Hall of Fame inductee was also the first woman to win a Golden Bracelet in an open tournament one year later after taking down a $ 2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em Event in 1996.