Ema Zajmovic Crowned First Ever Female WPT Open Event Champion

Ema Zajmovic

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Prior to this event, no female player had ever won an open WPT main event title. Canadian cash game pro Ema Zajmovic emerged victorious from a field of 380 entries to bag the 2017 WPT Playground $3,500 CAD no-limit hold’em main event trophy.
“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it. The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing,” Zajmovic told World Poker Tour reporters after the event. “When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”
For her win Zajmovic added her name not only to the history books but also to the WPT Champions cup. She was additionally awarded a championship belt from the Playground Poker Club, the winning prize of $261,000 CAD ($200,769 USD) and 900 Card Player Player of the Year points. Zajmovic was catapulted into 27th place on the POY leaderboard as a result of the win.
Zajmovic ended fifth in the WPT Playground Poker Fall Classic that was eventually clinched by longtime WPT commentator and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton in November 2016. Sexton applauded Montreal native.
“I have the greatest respect for her. This is no fluke, in my opinion. We’re gonna be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s that good,” Sexton told the WPT reporters.
Zajmovic entered the final day of the tournament as the chip leader with ten players remaining. By the time the official WPT six-handed final table was set she had raised her chip count but had fallen behind Tam Ho on the leaderboard.
Zajmovic sent Tam Ho packing in fourth place and then stacked Afriat’s last big blind after he was left handicapped in a massive pot against Jean Francois Bouchard. Then, Zajmovic set up a heads-up showdown with Bouchard, who began with a 3-to-2 chip advantage.
The final two players tussled for 62 hands. Zajmovic claimed the lead midway through and never looked back. On the ultimate hand the two got all in preflop with Zajmovic possessing the K Spade SuitQSpade Suit and Bouchard the ASpade Suit9Spade Suit. The board ran out KClub Suit10Heart Suit7Club SuitQHeart Suit5Spade Suit to offer Zajmovic two pair and the pot. Bouchard earned $169,270 CAD ($130,208 USD) for his deep run.
While Ema Zajmovic is the first female player to win an open field WPT main event, she isn’t the first ever female WPT event winner. Nine years ago Van Nguyen bagged the WPT Celebrity Invitational, a 445-entry event in 2008.