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2024 Ladies Poker Week: LIPS National Championship at South Point

Our coverage of 2024 Ladies Poker Week — in collaboration with the Women’s Poker Association — continued on Wednesday June 26 with the Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) $400 National Championship at the South Point Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. The event already surpassed its $40K guarantee by the time cards hit the air. By the time registration closed a few hours later, 253 entries had been recorded, generating a $86,020 prize pool.

“We’ve been hosting the LIPS National Championship for quite a few years now,” said South Point Poker Room Manager Jason Sanborn. “This event during Ladies Poker Week is one that we really get the most excited about here. The ladies come out to have fun and a good time, and there’s always such great camaraderie among them at and away from the tables. That’s why we love supporting it. We pride ourselves here at South Point on being a comfortable place to play, so any ladies coming out here for the first time will find a very welcoming environment,” Sanborn continued.

Ladies Poker Week South Point LIPS National Championship

LIPS Founder Lupe Soto: A Celebration 20 Years in the Making!

LIPS founder Lupe Soto was overjoyed at the turnout and took a moment to reflect on the National Championship’s 20-year journey. “It’s not a given that we’re still here 20 years later. Where it used to be compared to where it is right now is unbelievable,” she said. Our very first champion, Kim Fontes, who won our inaugural National Championship back at San Diego’s Ocean’s 11 Casino, is here playing in our 20th! That’s amazing. Women really love poker and that’s why they come support us. The operators know we want events like these to run, so they give us the space to come out and enjoy ourselves at the tables.”

No Tilt Poker Tables Player of the Day: Trey Johns

Our No Tilt Poker Tables Player of the Day is Arlinda “Tray” Johns. Thus far this summer, Tray has competed at Ladies Events at the Wynn, Venetian, Resorts World, and MGM in addition to South Point. She is a 50-year-old grandmother who lives in Haines City, Florida, who specifically flew out to Las Vegas for the Ladies Week events.

“I love Ladies Events because that’s where I feel most comfortable playing poker. Against men, they’re ‘playing against a woman’, where as against woman, they’re ‘playing against me’ and I like that,” said Johns.

With regard to her poker playing history, Johns revealed that “I learned how to play when I was a kid. I was born not with a silver spoon in my mouth, but rather a deck of cards. My grandmother taught us how to play 5 Card Stud, told us to get all our coins out from our piggy banks, then just won it all. We also played cribbage and lots of other card games; I always loved the cards.”

Despite playing poker throughout her life, the switch from cash games to tournaments was a recent one for Johns. “This is my second year of playing tournaments; up until then it was exclusively cash games. Last year was a horrible year for me tournament-wise. I didn’t study; I just played them like I played in the cash games. I had played cards my whole life, so I figured success would come easily, but nothing could have been further from the truth! I was a terrible tournament player! Tournaments are totally different.”

It was a difficult thing for Johns to “admit that I needed coaching because I’ve player poker for so many years. But I did, and over the past year I have put in almost 200 hours of study. I watch a lot of poker vlogs on YouTube and also use Pokercoaching.com, especially the weekly quizzes. Thankfully, all that study has paid off with some good results.”

As far as on-the-felt successes, Johns is most proud of having won a Moneymaker Tour $400 side event last month in West Palm Beach for almost $4,500. “That’s where I feel like I finally broke through after having made quite a few final tables over the past few months.”

Tray Johns

Retired from having served in the Navy as a fireman for a few years, Johns was also a welder and machinist. She ran track and played basketball in college, and still exercises a lot today in order to stay in good shape; “all the exercise helps me out a lot as far as my endurance at the tables.”

We ended our conversation with Johns telling me that “I dream about winning the WSOP Ladies Event bracelet. I played in that tournament for the first time last year and I’m looking forward to taking another shot at it this year.”

Notable Names and Faces in the Field

As mentioned, the event got a total of 253 entries, and 36 players got paid a minimum of $946. The winner, Marcy Paulson, took home $17,554 for her efforts.

Below is a listing of the players who made the final table along with a photo, plus one of the tournament winner.

2024 LIPS National Championship South Point final table

Player Payout
1. Marcy Paulson $17,594
2. Rachel Sawyer $10,796
3. Ranae Warren $7,011
4. Julie Thomas $4,602
5. Jolene Krawczak $3,398
6. Thuy Kawaro $2,968
7. Sheila Raine $2,581
8. Toni Bisconti $2,237
9. Marci Miles $1,935

Marcy Paulson

2024 Ladies Poker Week: What’s Next?

Cardplayer Lifestyle’s exclusive coverage of 2024 Ladies Poker Week continues on Thursday June 27 with another doubleheader.

The $500 Aria Ladies Championship starts at 12pm and the Golden Nugget’s $250 Ladies Event will begin at 1pm in downtown Las Vegas. There’s also a $150 LIPS Mega Satellite taking place at South Point at 6pm.

On Friday June 28, the $1,000 WSOP Ladies Championship — the marquee event of Ladies Poker Week — will begin 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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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded Cardplayerlifestyle.com in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]

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