Some might remember the science fiction movie "The right stuff" from 1983 about the first steps of the US space program on the way to fulfill a dream. A total of 936 mostly female contenders (there are always a few black male sheep in the Ladies Event) signed up for the $ 1,000 Event #51 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship at the World Series Of Poker 2012 in Las Vegas and wanted to write a new chapter in the history of poker. Day 1 played down to the money and at the end of a long day, 117 were left and already had at least $1,601 guaranteed.
Amongst them was a frequent contributor on Woman Poker Player and Woman Poker Player Poker Face of the Month , Lesley Amos (also known as nutbreaker online) who won her seat to through the Lips Ladies Mega Satellite at the Golden Nugget. Not only did she get the entry into the Ladies WSOP event, she also qualified for the LIPS Championship and had to miss that tournament in favor of the Rio's - a decision that definitely paid off and some extra cash instead of a ticket always comes in handy in Sin City. The Canadian with the fitting slogan "Studio Manager by day. Poker player the rest of the time." on her twitter account @nutbreakerLA finished Day 1 in the money with 44,200 in Chips and was sitting comfortably in the top 20 out of 117 players left.
Despite some hiccups and even dropping down to merely 6 Big Blinds after losing Pocket Kings against Pocket Queens, Lesley never lost the confidence in her game and the comeback started in a battle of the blinds where her Q-T improved against A-x. Soon after she tripled up to more than 90k and eliminated J.J. Liu, the starting signal for the upcoming thunder storm at the tables in the Rio All-suite & Casino.
With the improved Chip stack her typical aggressive play paid off and the Canadian never looked back, dominating her table as the action got closer to the top 10. Her Pocket 9s held up in a Coinflip against Grindette Jamie Kerstetter (20th), who hit one of her two over cards on the Flop but also saw a Nine as well to destroy the hope of a double-up. The Canadian also outlasted Lock Pro Leo Margets (22nd) and ultimately finished the second Day with 352,000 in Chips as 4th out of 9 players remaining to reach the official Final Table.
The action was fast paced and it didn't take long for the first eliminations, Ida Lundholm (9th) and Rosemary Lawrence (8th) were both sent to the rail early on. The next major decision would see Lesley to run into a setup that you encounter often deep into an event and simply have to survive if you want to win a tournament. From the Button, Yen Dang opened the action with a raise to 23,000 and the young Canadian min-raised to 46,000 out of the Small Blind. The Big Blind got out of the way and Dang called to see a Heads-Up Flop Qs Jh Kh.
Lesley went all-in for 220k and Dang quickly called - never a good sign - by tabling As Td for the flopped nut straight. The Canadian had flopped two pair with Qh Jc but no further Jack or Queen would show up on Turn and River to end the great run in 7th place for $20,184. "Ty everyone for the love. Not bad for my first large live event." Not bad might is definitely an understatement - who can honestly say to have final tabled an Event of the World Series Of Poker, especially in the very first attempt?
With four players left, there was a huge change of table dynamics when start-of-day chip leader Debbie Pechac lost a preflop Coinflip with Pocket Sevens against the Ace King of Yen Dang as an Ace appeared on the Flop and Turn. Suddenly short stacked, Pechac started a comeback and even reached the heads-up against Dang, she had the opportunity to turn around things completely with an open ended straight draw on a Ks Qd 8c Flop. Dang called and was ahead with Qs7s, an Ace or Nine would complete the straight for Pechac with Jh Tc, but Lady Luck was not in favor of Pechac as the Turn 4h and River Js didn't change anything.
1st - Yen Dang - $170,587
2nd - Debbie Pechac - $105,586
3rd - Janet Howard - $66,061
4th - Angela Moed - $47,949
5th - Candida Ross-Powers - $35,398
6th - Rae Rocco -$26,536
7th - Lesley Amos -$20,184
8th - Freda Lawrence -$15,559
9th - Anna Lundholm -$12,156
Besides the new crowned Ladies Champion, Day 1 of the elusive "One Drop" Tournament with a spectacular Buy-In of $1,000,000 also started on Sunday to establish another dimension for tournament poker. But there was another reason for the female poker players to shine on Canada Day. Vanessa Selbst won her first Golden Bracelet at the WSOP back in 2008 and she added another one late at night after defeating a 421 player strong field in the $2,500 buy-in Six-Handed Ten-Game Mix Event #52. For her victory, the American pocketed $244,259 and has once again shown why she is widely considered as "the best female tournament player in the game today." The right stuff indeed happens in Vegas and makes dreams come true.