Ladies events can be a controversial topic in the poker community. Some established female players avoid playing them altogether, while others see great value in competing in a field where they believe they have an edge. In a game where none of the physical differences between the sexes bears a direct impact on the playing field or is advantageous for one side or the other, stand-alone ladies events can appear unnecessary.
However in a male-dominated domain, ladies events become an import vehicle to encourage new female players onto the felt. And for those who engage in battle in the bigger open events and have a lot of experience under their belt, the ladies events can offer a lighter mood to enjoy the game in a different way. However the friendly banter at a table full of smiling ladies is not always the 'sweet cup of tea' it may seem, especially in Macau where there continues to be a spike in the number of ladies competing. No longer is it the poker WAGS having a splash to pass the time in between shopping sprees at Macau's buffet of luxury retailers. The ladies are here for business.
Vivian Im and Celina Lin are two faces you will always recognise at the ladies events in Macau. Their high profile and string of success continues to attract other females onto the felt. Even though Celina was balancing a heavy Macau Poker Cup Championship schedule along with the WCOOP last week, she was still to be found amongst the ladies event where the buy-in is a modest HK$1,000. 18 players anted up for the recent MPCC Ladies Event with a HK$15,714 prize pool up for grabs.
Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im, outlasted, outplayed and outwitted her components adding yet another title to her growing collection. The first prize of HK$7,900 was not a massive scoop to write home about, but Vivian celebrated the win with just as much delight as it were the Main Event. The growth of women in poker is seen to be an important part of her role. "There are much more female players compared to two-three years ago," Vivian shared with us earlier this year.
"You can see more female participants in live tournaments and there are quite a few who are really good. There are still a lot of male players who doesn't like losing to female players causing them to make weird bluffs. These can be used to extract a lot of chips. Poker is a game where the gender of a person doesn't matter. If female players build up more experience and invest more time in the game, better results will follow naturally."
The depth of female talent in the region is evident after another successful series for the ladies at the MPCC. The HK$1,500 Deepstack side event saw Hong Kong's Hazel Chui take top honours and an extra HK$57,400 in shopping money to spurge on her impending trip to Japan. Chui, a former model, outlasted a 179-player field in what was her first tournament to yield more than 100 starters.
Im and Chui's performances were complimented by two ladies making the final table of the MPCC Main Event.
Established player, Jessica Ngu has cashed at the WSOP and has enjoyed previous success in tournaments in Macau, making two previous major final tables throughout her three-year poker career. Her 6th place finish during the Main Event has resulted in her largest score to date, collecting HK$241,000 (US$31,069).
China's Lisi Wei was eliminated from the MPCC Main Event moments before Ngu in 7th place. The ladies missed out on the title, but following another solid performance on the Macau felt, it won't be long until another female champion is crowned. It may even be someone who was splashing about in the ladies event. Don't be fooled by those Jimmy Choos that she may be wearing. The ladies in Macau shop hard, but play poker harder.
Catch up with all the Macau reports here at the PokerStars Blog.