When James Brown was singing, ‘this is a man’s world,’ he might as well have been penning the theme tune to the World Series of Poker (WSOP). In the past 44 years, the people with the Y chromosome have been cleaning house, and you have to take a trip down memory lane to 2007, when Annette Obrestad won the WSOP Europe (WSOPE) Main Event, to find a female WSOP bracelet winner in an open event that wasn’t the dominant Vanessa Selbst. That was until yesterday.
Dana Castaneda only entered Event #54: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) after being told she was going to win the event by her late Grandmother. A wonderful story that eventually came true when she outlasted a field of 2,883 players to take home the first prize of $454,207.
“A week ago I was visiting my Grandmother on her deathbed. I told her that I was coming to the WSOP to play in the Sunday tournament, and she said I was going to win it. On Tuesday, a week ago today, she passed. I came here and played in the women’s event and cashed, then I hopped into the Bounty and cashed, so I decided to free roll the tournament I told my Grandma I was going to play in and I won.” Castaneda told the PokerNews sideline reporter Kristy Arnett after her win.
It’s a fairytale story and sums up what the WSOP represents: that anyone with a dream can win a WSOP bracelet.
“I walked into it as the bottom stack and I told my husband that I was going to be first to go out, but not to worry because I had already won $32,000. Then people started to get knocked out, and then I doubled up and before long I had the chip lead. It was amazing.”
Castaneda defeated Jason Bigelow, in heads up action, after her two pair [9d] [5h] won the race against the [Qd] [2d] flush-draw of Bigelow on a [7d] [7s] [5d] flop. Jacob Bazeley made his second final table of the series, but had to make do with a seventh place finish worth $58,147.
Don Nguyen Leads the $50k Players Championship
The players love it and the TV production team hate it. It is of course the $50,000 WSOP Players Championship, formerly known as the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E championship, and Don Nguyen is currently the favorite to get his hands on $1,744,089 in prize money, a WSOP gold bracelet and the famous David ‘Chip’ Reese Memorial Trophy.
With the tournament in the infancy of its fourth day of action, Nguyen has a commanding chip lead with just 20-players remaining. Nguyen is a fairly unknown quantity, but he grabbed everybody’s attention when he finished as the runner up to Mark Radoja in Event #16: $10,000 NLHE Heads-Up earlier in the series.
We have already seen Justin Smith, John Juanda, Stephen Chidwick, Greg Mueller, Joe Hachem and the 2009 champion David Bach all hit the rail today, but Matthew Ashton, John Hennigan, David Benyamine, Huck Seed and Jonathan Duhamel are still in contention for one of the most coveted titles in poker.
Yesterday, Doyle ‘TexasDolly’ Brunson created a few waves by making a series of bets on his own success in this tournament. According to his Twitter feed he stood to lose between $80-140k if he didn’t cash and that is exactly what happened as the great man failed to make the cut.
The French Look Great in Event #56
Event #56: $2,500 NLHE is into the final day of action, and at the time of writing the French are making a great run at securing their first bracelet of the series.
Sebastien Comel (2.2m) has a huge chip lead over his fellow countryman Nicolas Faure (1.3m) and Nicolas Levi is also in the top ten with 900k. Owen Crowe is looking to make it bracelet number eleven for Canada and the experienced Josh Arieh is also in the mix.
Quality Galore in the $5k NLHE Event
There are 252-players remaining from a starting field of 784-players as the action spins into the second day for Event #57: $5,000 NLHE. Mark Darner currently has the chip lead with 310k, but there is a whole host of talent on his tail that include Timothy O’Reilly (212k), Barry Shulman (195k), Olivier Busquets (195k) and Philipp Gruissem (180k).