POKER NEWS

2024 Ladies Poker Week: Aria and Golden Nugget

June 28, 2024

Our coverage of 2024 Ladies Poker Week continued on Thursday June 27 with another doubleheader (check out our first doubleheader, from a few days ago). This time around, a pair of Ladies Events were held at Aria and Golden Nugget, the former on the Las Vegas Strip, and the latter in Downtown Las Vegas. The Golden Nugget’s $250 Ladies Event carried a $10,000 guarantee and attracted 96 entries for a total prize pool of $18,720. Aria’s $500 buy-in Ladies Championship event featured a $75,000 guarantee and brought in a whopping 351 entries for a total prize pool of $147,420.

Full-Throated Support from Aria’s Top Brass

While at Aria, I spoke with the terrific trio of Ryan Kirk (Director of Poker Operations at Aria), Paul Campbell (Aria’s Tournament Poker Manager and PokerGO Studio Manager), and Sean McCormack (Director of Poker Operations at MGM Resorts International), all of whom have demonstrably been strong advocates for women in poker throughout their time in the poker industry.

“We’re really excited that we get to host this Ladies Event,” said Kirk. “We’ve worked with the Women’s Poker Association to make sure that we have a spot on the calendar that provides this event, and we are very proud of the fact that we have put together a $75K guarantee on this event. It’s the biggest guarantee on the Ladies Poker Week calendar this summer and we’re proud to be hosting it here at Aria.”

“The Ladies Championship is one of my favorites to run here at Aria because you have the camaraderie among the players,” said Campbell. “So many of the tournaments we run are cutthroat; nobody’s there to make friends, and it’s all just about the money. These ladies are of course here to compete against one another, but beyond that they also support each other, so it’s a fun dynamic to watch, to hear the table talk and the support that they give each other, all while taking each other’s chips.”

McCormack then summed up the conversation by saying “As we know, poker is not without the need for growth in certain areas, and we know that events like ladies events bring more women into the game and make them feel comfortable and welcome playing in an environment among other ladies. In any field, representation is key and the number of women we have in our game is not yet where any of us want it to be. Working on, promoting, and engaging with events like this both in person and online through social media and other channels just speaks to our efforts to grow the game we all love both for women and in general.”

Ladies Poker Week Aria Golden Nugget

No Tilt Poker Tables Players of the Day

As with our previous doubleheader, with two Ladies Events on the docket, we selected a pair of No Tilt Poker Tables Players of the Day: Jennifer Dennis at Aria, and Hagit Movshovitz at the Golden Nugget.

Jennifer Dennis

A 42-year-old mother of triplets — Jackson, Adelaide, and Maverick — who lives in Norman, Oklahoma, Jennifer runs a restaurant as her full-time work. Last year was her first time attending Ladies Poker Week, and she’s here once again in 2024 to give it another shot. “It feels like summer camp and I love being out here to meet all the ladies with whom I usually only get to socialize online; it’s great to put faces to names and get to hang out and strengthen friendships,” she said.

Jennifer’s father introduced her to poker when she was a teenager. “He used used to play in a Monday night home poker game – all the crazy games, draw, stud, etc. – with a bunch of his friends from synagogue, for nickels, dimes and quarters. He said ‘if you bake us chocolate chip cookies we’ll let you watch and we’ll teach you; and if you bring us beer, we’ll let you play.’,” she recalled.

Jennifer’s first foray into live poker at a brick and mortar venue was back in 2011, and she’s been playing recreationally ever since. She counts her 3rd place finish in event #12 of the 2019 WSOP, Super Turbo NLHE Bounty event for $102,010 as her biggest poker achievement to date. “I’ve never won a big tournament; only online events, so my first live win would be great – I’m really looking forward to the picture. My husband’s not here, so if I do win one out here, I’ll have to Photoshop him in.”

In a parting message, Jennifer encouraged “any women out there who might feel too intimidated to come out and play live poker to just put yourself out there and try to meet ladies in the poker community online. Everyone is super friendly, and just from participating in the Facebook groups you can develop so many great friendships that way! Don’t wear headphones, find and use any opportunities you get to communicate and converse with all the ladies at the table.”

Jennifer Dennis

Hagit Movshovitz

A 53-years-old divorcee from Shoham, Israel, Hagit is a longtime self-employed owner of a real estate agency. That gives her the freedom, discretionary income and time to be able to play. She learned how to play poker just two years ago “August 31, 2022 — I’ll never forget that date,” she says, upon enrolling in the Israel Poker Academy.

“I knew NOTHING; poker was a whole new language to me, but also completely enchanting and I had a hunger for knowledge to try and quickly improve at and succeed at the game. I always loved gambling and playing casino games, but I was looking for something a little bit more interesting and challenging; that’s how I found poker. It’s a magical, amazing world that opened up to me, and now I’m ‘all in’ on poker.”

Hagit mostly plays tournaments in underground poker rooms in Israel, occasionally cash games too. Beyond the actual gameplay, what interests her most is “the behavioral psychology on full display, so poker was immediately right up my alley. I’m studying people at the tables all the time, learning from their mannerisms and behavioral patterns. It’s a perfect match for my personal interests, and it fills me with excitement to play and engage with other poker players.”

As part of her ongoing poker journey, Hagit reached out to Poker Hall of Famer Eli Elezra last year. “Eli has taught me so much and has introduced me to the entire live poker world here in Las Vegas.”

She is elated to be playing in the WSOP Ladies bracelet event for the first time. Last year she was at home in Israel over the summer. One of her friends made a deep run to finish in 50th place in the Ladies event, and Hagit then continued watching the live stream and saw Tammy Abraham win the bracelet. “At that moment I told myself next year, I HAVE to play in that event. It would be pretty amazing to make the final table.”

In her second Vegas poker summer, Hagit is clearly having the time of her life. She loves poker and feels like she’s in absolute Paradise here in Vegas. She hopes to keep coming back a couple times a year for a few weeks at a time to just play lots and lots of poker in the future. And skills-wise, she certainly feels like she has a good chance to achieve success at the felt. “Having developed friendships with a number of other lady poker players in Israel through practice and study, I feel like the skill level of players from our country is pretty solid.”

But there’s just one thing… hand in hand with her month-long stay in Las Vegas, and all the joy she’s experienced, Hagit has been wearing a yellow ribbon on her heart and on her clothing. “It signifies support for the hostages being held by Hamas. People are asking about the ribbon, so I feel like I have the opportunity and obligation to share what that’s about, and what it’s like to be living in Israel with all the craziness going on right now. I’m playing with a heavy heart, knowing what’s going on back home. I watch the news from back home every day and cry. But at the same time I feel compelled to be an ambassador for my country and for the hostages. I pray every day that everything will be OK with them and for everyone back at home.”

Hagit Movshovitz

Payouts, Final Tables and Winners

Aria’s event brought in a total of 351 entries, with 46 players cashing for a minimum of $737. The winner, Ayaka Muraishi took home $30,219 for her efforts.

Player Payout
1. Ayaka Muraishi $30,219
2. Faye Hall $20,934
3. Samantha Lake $14,005
4. Thi Ngo $8,993
5. Mary Kim $6,781
6. Liping Zhang $5,602
7. Dianne Hull $4,570
8. Haven Werner $3,686
9. Jessica Shu $3,096

 

Ayaka Muraishi

Meanwhile, the numbers over at Golden Nugget tallied up to 96 entries and a total prize pool of $18,720. The winner, Chris Read, took home $5,940. Below is a picture of the players who made the final table. Unfortunately, we couldn’t manage to get their names by press time, but we did manage to track down Chris’ winner’s photo.

Final table Golden Nugget Ladies Event

Chris Read

2024 Ladies Poker Week: What’s Next?

Cardplayer Lifestyle’s exclusive coverage of 2024 Ladies Poker Week continues on Friday June 2827 with the $1,000 WSOP Ladies Championship bracelet event — the marquee event of Ladies Poker Week — which begins at noon at the Horseshoe/Paris Las Vegas.

Our coverage finishes off on Saturday June 29 with the $150 PLON Omaha 8 event at 2pm at Westgate.

Our coverage is brought to you courtesy of No Tilt Poker Tables, which produces custom, handcrafted poker tables for families, card rooms, and casinos all over the world.

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