Female Asian Poker Players Inspired By Part Time Pro Winning WSOP Ladies Event  

South Korea’s Jiyoung Kim emerged victorious in Event #47: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP). Kim outlasted a 968-entry field to capture her first bracelet and the top prize of $167,308.

Kim’s latest score easily surpassed her first WSOP cash of $580 which she won in a WSOP Circuit event three years ago. Prior to her victory at the Ladies Event, the part-time poker pro, who also owns a coffee shop in Gimhae, South Korea, had 17 different cashes in her career. Her previous highest cashout was $21,939 which she won during an event in the Philippines in 2016.  

Final Table Action

Only six players returned to the live-streamed final tables which took place over the weekend to compete for the lion’s share of the prize, with a minimum of $27,643 already guaranteed for each one. Among the final line-up was New York player Lexy Gavin who ended up busting in sixth place after losing a race with pocket sixes against Nancy Matson’s ace-queen. Gavin won $27,643 for her efforts.

American player Lyly Vo got her remaining six big blinds into the middle with seven-six, against Kim’s ace-seven. Vo stayed alive after she picked up a gutshot to a straight draw against Kim’s top pair. But the river bricked and Vo was eliminated in fifth place for $37,654. After knocking out Vo, Kim held the chip lead heading into the first break of the day, however when they returned Matson overtook the dominant position after going on a run. With four players remaining, Tu Dao was the short stack. 

The Canadian poker pro went all in preflop with ace-jack suited against Sandrine Phan’s pocket jacks. Phan, who hails from Brou-sur-Chantereine, France, won the pot and Dao left the table in fourth place for $52,007. An hour into three-handed play, Phan finally saw the curtain falling on her after her king-nine failed to hold up against Kim’s ace-deuce. Not a bad result for the French player who collected $72,821 for her third-place finish in her first-ever visit to the 2019 WSOP. It also represents Phan’s best career score when it comes to live tournaments. 

Phan’s elimination left Kim and Matson in heads-up play, with Kim holding a commanding lead. Matson got a double-up with ace-five against Kim’s king-queen, but eventually lost it when her king-eight failed to beat Kim’s ace-nine. The heads-up battle took 90 minutes and when the dust settled, it was Kim who was crowned the winner, with Matson taking home $103,350 for her runner-up finish – her biggest cash to date. The American poker pro already has a ring in her resume after winning a WSOP Circuit event at the Bicycle Casino back in December 2017.

Dream Come True For Kim

Kim’s victory marks the second-ever WSOP bracelet for South Korea, with the first one being won by Sean Yu in 2017.  It’s a dream come true for Kim who has been taking part in the WSOP in Vegas for the last three years but had never cashed. She plays recreationally and sometimes travels to several Asian spots to play tournament poker. 

In a post-win interview, Kim said she wanted to take it slow going into the final table as she knew she was up against great players. Despite being in or almost near the lead during the entire final day, Kim didn’t rush and never underestimated her opponents; she instead carefully selected spots that could work to her advantage.

Kim said luck sided with her during the final moments of the game leading to her victory. 

The Ladies Event is Kim’s third WSOP event this summer, having also participated in the BIG 50 and the Millionaire Maker earlier in the series, but did not cashout. Asked if she’ll take a shot at the Main Event, Kim has no definite answer, though she said she might try the satellites first and go from there. 

Her victory will no doubt inspire female Asian poker players as well as amateur female poker players around the world. Event #47: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em generated a total prize pool of $871,200. A total of 146 players made the money, with a min-cash payout of $1,496. 

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