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The Ladies Invitational
tournament held at The Bicycle Casino was a little different this year. The World Poker Tour invited five women: Clonie Gowen (returning champion of
Ladies Night 1),
Isabelle Mercier, Wendeen Eolis, Sharon Goldman and
Cyndy Violette. The last seat went to the one woman who could win her way via a
No Limit Holdem tournament held prior
to the Invitational. This year, the winner was Lavinna Zhang who beat out over 300 women including myself for her seat.
episode was not one of the best of the WPT shows. I was looking forward to seeing Cyndy kick some butt, but she
never really got anything going. I wanted to Clonie on the show for a little while because she makes for interesting television, but
she was the first person eliminated. I wanted to see the other women just play great poker, but I was not impressed by a lot of it.
seemed so serious throughout the tournament. It almost looked as if she was giving the other women dirty looks. Every once
in awhile, she would crack a smile and you could catch a glimpse of some of her charm. I am not suggesting that she smile
throughout the tournament. Sometimes the competitive nature of the game can make us look like serious creatures, but it so
much more appealing to the audience to see some of the lighter side of personalities. I wish she would have shown more of that.
In fairness to her, I have to say that she played great poker. She was the aggressor throughout the tournament and that led
to her victory. She had the ability to calculate
pot odds and make correct calls. She was able
to get away from a couple of hands. She maximized the chips she won on a couple of hands where she might not have got even one bet
if she played it another way. The fact that she got a lot more playable hands than the other women didn't hurt either.
Windows - Mac
I decided to do
the reports a little different this year. After doing so many of them and then talking to some of the players after, I realized that
it is almost impossible to evaluate some of the hands. Players make decisions based on all the hands played previously with their
opponents. The episodes that air for television have been edited, so it is impossible to figure out many of the reasons why a player
played a hand a particular way. Although, I am not going to discuss many of the hands, I will discuss when I think a player made a
good play or bad play based on the foundations of poker. This leads me to the following hand.
and Sharon were the final three women at the table. Lavinna folded on the button and Sharon raised the $60,000 big blind to
$200,000 with Q6. Isabelle thought for awhile and finally moved all-in with A5. Sharon only had $200,000 left and was
getting three to one on her call. I remember thinking that it was going to be a difficult call to make, but she had to do
it. She was getting the right price against anything except the best three hands, and she was in a desperate position in any
case. She folded the hand and was eliminated on the next hand we saw when she took her A5 against Isabelle's AQ. I do not
think there is anything wrong with her raise in that spot, but I see two things wrong with the way the hand was played. She
should have called because of the pot odds and her small stack, and her second mistake was if she was going to commit half
her stack on that hand, she should have moved all-in. She would have made the decision more difficult for Isabelle. Sharon
also would then not have the opportunity to make a bad decision by folding.
I wanted to win my way onto this event, but if anybody deserved it, Lavinna certainly did. That girl can play! I was
impressed with every move she made. She was not afraid to back down. She made remarkable moves in certain situations. She
called every pot when she was getting the right pot odds. There was one hand that she called where many players wouldn't.
She raised with 95 suited and Sharon
moved all-in. Lavinna asked the dealer to pull the original bets in so she could see how much she needed to call. Many
players would not make the call in this situation even if they were getting the correct odds because they would be
embarrassed to show their hand and their bluff.
Not Lavinna. She called. I am not sure if she has any interest in becoming a professional player, but if she makes that
move, she will be a force to be reckoned with.
The final results of the tournament showed that the aggressive players are often victorious. Isabelle Mercier and Lavinna
Zhang were the most aggressive players at the table and they finished first and second respectively. Sharon Goldman finished
in third, Wendeen Eolis fourth, Cyndy Violette fifth, and Cycalona "Clonie" Gowen was sixth place.
Ladies Invitational Three