Ema Zajmovic Wins WPT Playground Main Event for $200,769

We’re only half way through February, and already the month has produced a trio of impressive victories for women poker players, with Loni Harwood capturing $61,156 and a third career WSOPC ring while competing at the WSOPC West Palm Beach, Nadya Magnus taking down the WSOPC Potawatomi High-roller for $71,398, and now Ema Zajmovic becoming the first female player to win a WPT open event.
Canadian pro Ema Zajmovic was in action at the C$3,500 WPT Playground Main Event in Montreal, along with a field of 380 players who all had their sights set on the tournament’s US$200,769 first place prize. Going into the event, Zajmovic had just six cashes for $100,142 since 2011, but after her latest triumph that figure has now increased threefold.
Interestingly, Zajmovic’s previous biggest score in November 2016 was also at the C$3,500 WPT Playground Poker Fall Classic, where she finished in 5th place for US$76,108, with Mike Sexton ultimately collecting top honors and $317,817 in prize money. This time around, though, it was Zajmovic lifting the trophy, after which she commented:
“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it. The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing. When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”
Zajmovic entered the final table of six behind the chip leader Tam Ho, but soon regained the lead after which she was dealt pocket kings and eliminated Mekhail Mekhail (A-J) in 5th place. Zajmovic then did likewise to Tam Ho in 4th, and after Jean-Francois Bouchard sent a short-stacked Eric Afriat to the rail in 3rd, the head-up phase of the competition was set.
Bouchard held a 3-to-2 chip advantage as the final battle commenced, but Zajmovic eventually took the lead before the deciding hand was played with both players all-in preflop and Zajmovic holding K-Q to her opponent’s A-9. The K-10-7-Q-5 then made Zajmovic two pair, which was good enough to claim the title, while Bouchard had to settle for a $130,208 payout for his hard-fought efforts. As the World Poker Tour twitter page stated after her winning performance:
“History made! With her #WPTPlayground victory, Ema Zajmovic becomes first woman to win an open WPT Main Tour event. http://bit.ly/2lwZ4CD”
Final Table Results (US$)
1st: Ema Zajmovic $200,769
2nd: J.Bouchard $130,208
3rd: Eric Afriat $83,608
4th: Tam Ho $55,131
5th: Mekhail Mekhail $42,462
6th: J. Savard $35,146
7th: Danny Li $29,446
8th: Carter Swidler $24,000
9th: Ryan Yu $18,554

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