Zajmovic Makes WPT History with First Female Open-Field Title
In its entire 15-year history, the World Poker Tour had only crowned one female champion - Van Nugyen in the WPT Invitational way back in 2008.
That all changed last night in Montreal, Canada as local star Ema Zajmovic took Nguyen's win one step further.
Outlasting a field of 380 players, Zajmovic became the first-ever open field female champion on the WPT and collected $261,000 CAD.
Not Her First Final Table
Interestingly, Zajmovic had a very good chance to complete the same feat just two months ago when she made the final table of the WPT Montreal Main Event. That one was eventually one by WPT legend Mike Sexton in a miraculous comeback while Zajmovic finished fifth.
She couldn't be thwarted this time, though, as she battled former WPT champion Eric Afriat, chipleader Tam Ho and finally Jean-Francois Bouchard heads-up to seal the victory.
On top of the cash and the honor of becoming the first female open-field champ, Zajmovic also won a WPT championship belt, a $15,000 seat in the upcoming WPT Championship and a WPT Champions Cup of her own.
“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it," Zajmovic told the WPT after her win. "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 has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”
"A Cross Between Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst"
Sexton himself was effusive in his praise for Zajmovic's play calling her "tough," "no fluke," and "a cross between Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst."
Normally a cash-game player Zajmovic now has two very impressive tournament scores on her resume and over $283k USD in career live earnings.
She also says she's been taking more advantage of the great games online at partypoker. "It’s amazing,” she said.
For a full recap of Zajmovic's history-making run in Montreal, read the WPT Live Updates. Complete final-table results and payouts from partypoker.net WPT Playground:
1. Ema Zajmovic – CAD $261,000* (US $200,769*)
2. Jean-Francois Bouchard – CAD $169,270 (US $130,208)
3. Eric Afriat – CAD $108,690 (US $83,608)
4. Tam Ho – CAD $71,670 (US $55,131)
5. Mekhail Mekhail – CAD $55,200 (US $42,462)
6. Jean-Pascal Savard – CAD $45,690 (US $35,146)