Will 2012 Be “The Year of the Woman” at the WSOP?

Spotlight About to Heat Up:  Eyes of the World About to Focus on Gaelle Baumann

It’s only happened once.

One time.

In the entire 43-year-history of the World Series of Poker, a woman has appeared at the championship final table only once.  Others have come close, but Poker Hall of Famer Barbara Enright, who finished fifth in the 1995 Main Event Championship, still stands at the only woman in history to take a seat at poker’s most monumental table.

Now, 17 years following Enright’s epic run, another woman appears ready to carry the competitive torch on behalf of half of the world’s population.

At the conclusion of Day 2A, Gaelle Baumann, from France, leads all players who are still alive in the championship.  On Day Three, she will sit down at her next table and be anything other than the relatively anonymous player she was during the first two playing sessions.  She began Tuesday as one of 2,044 divided between the Days 1A and 1B fields, but ended the day as the latest female success story at a WSOP filled with successful women.

On Tuesday night, Baumann ended her session with 505,800 in chips – which eclipsed several other players in the high 400,000 range, including Mark Demirdjian, who topped the Day 1A field in Amazon with 499,900.  Although Day 2B still remains to be played (on Wednesday), Baumann will be either at or near the top of the leaderboard.

A bit of context is advisable here.  There is still a long way to go.  At least five more days of poker will be played before the 2012 November Nine finalists are ultimately determined.  Even after five levels of play, there are still 842 contenders from Day 2A alone. 
Baumann is not alone on the leaderboard.  In fact, she has plenty of noteworthy company.  Among the most notable females within striking distance of the chip lead is two-time gold bracelet champion Vanessa Selbst (with 350,000 in chips).  Also in the top half of the field are Suzie Zhao, Maria Ho, and Liv Boeree.

Regardless of where you live or who you cheer for, just about everyone in poker would like to see one or more women make it to this year’s final table.  That distinct possibility has taken two giant steps forward over the past two days with the big moves by Baumann and others.  It still remains to be seen if 2012 will eventually turn out to be the “Year of the Woman” though.

For now, the current chip leader is far more interested in making this -- "The Year of Gaelle Baumann."

Baumann is not the only player flying high into Day 3.  Here are the top ten official chip counts from the 842 Day 2A survivors.  These players will be back in action for Day 3 on Thursday:

1. Gaelle Baumann - 505,800
2. Mark Demirdjian - 499,900
3. Shaun Deeb - 460,900
4. Gerard Lubas - 449,500
5. Kevin Davis - 394,800
6. Jan Kasten - 391,800
7. Taylor Paur - 391,600
8. Matthew Woodward - 381,000
9. Jacob Schindler - 371,600
10. Julio De La Rosa - 350,700