The Playground is one of the coolest card rooms in Canada and the heart of poker in Montreal. On Valentine's Day, Ema Zajmovic became the the second woman to win an event on the World Poker Tour, but she also made history by becoming the first-ever female to win an open event. Yes, it's a technicality, but in the poker world, everyone is a stickler for details.
In 2008, Van Nguyen (who was married to Men the Master at the time) won the invitation-only WPT Invitational. Although Nguyen was the first woman to win a WPT title, it was a freeroll. Alas, Ema Zajmovic etched her name in the history books with a victory at the WPT Playground. The French-Canadian cash-game specialist made her second-straight WPT final table.
The main event buy-in at the WPT Playground was $3,500 CAD. The field was 380 deep. The final day of the main event started with 10 players. The final table lasted 256 hands. Ema Zajmovic won $261K in Canadian Dollars, or roughly $200K USD.
In a post-victory interview, Zajmovic told the crew at WPT, “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. 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.”
Zajmovic made back-to-back final tables in Montreal. Last November, she final tabled the partypoker.net WPT Montreal. Mike Sexton pulled off a sick comeback and shipped that title. Although Zajmovic busted in fifth place, Mike Sexton showered her with praise for her skills. She got another shot at a final table a couple months later and didn't waste the opportunity.