In past years, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event was lucky to see one or two women make it to the top 100. When Day 5 coverage of the Main Event resumes tonight at 8pm ET on ESPN, there will be five women still in the field with less than 150 players remaining.
Poker fans thought the preliminary events would be where the women shined, but little did they know it was jsut the beginning. The Main Event, which has only seen one woman, Barbara Enright, make it to the final table in its 43-year history, has always been a Waterloo of sorts for female poker players. The "Last Woman Standing" title has become the goal for some women in the Main Event over the years, but this year "Last Player Standing" was well within the grasp of the five remaining women, Gaelle Baumann, Elisabeth Hille, Vanessa Selbst, Marcia Topp, and Susie Zhao.
Baumann, Hille, and Selbst have gotten time in front of the cameras over the past weeks of coverage, but tonight it will be Zhao's turn at the feature table. The LA cash game player, who is an Omaha specialist more than a No-Limit Hold'em grinder, joins the table line-up along with Kevin Pollak, who is doing his Hollywood home game proud with his impressive run.
The women will be the focus of much of tonight's coverage, but past November Niners Joseph Cheong and Sam Holden will also get some time in the spotlight as they aim to return to the final table. With no previous winners left int he field, there is guaranteed to be a new Main Event Champion, but there are still people in the running for a repeat visit to the top nine.
Then there are the up and comers making a name with a run in this event. Baumann and Hille are two of these players, but this week also has more from the outspoken Texas pro Rob Salaburu, a youngster with a chance to become the youngest Main Event winner in WSOP history, Jake Balsiger, and Hungarian pro Andras Koroknai who is hoping he will have similar success as the heavily European November Niners from last year.
For all of these players, the final table feels so close, but there are still several hours of play and more than 100 players standing in their way. In order to make it to the final table, they will most certainly need to cash in their "one time", but as this video clip will show you, not every player seems to understand what the phrase "one time" means:
Which of these players will parlay their sick run in this year's Main Event into a seat at the final table? Tune in to ESPN from 8pm-10pm ET to find out. And don't forget this might be your "one time" to win a seat into the 2013 WSOP Main Event thanks to our Watch and Win promotion. Watch tonight's coverage and keep an ear out for this week's code. Log into the WSOP.com free play site, enter the code, and you could be the latest winner of a ticket to next year's Main Event.
**Photo by Joe Giron for PokerNews/WSOP