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Best of Ryan McLane
Mimi Tran and Kathy Liebert star at WPF Final Table15 November 2006
By Ryan McLane
Two female players will compete for a regular season World Poker Tour Main Event Championship for the first time Thursday as the final six players battle it out for the Foxwoods World Poker Finals title.
Seasoned tournament professional Kathy Liebert and high-stakes professional Thithi "Mimi" Tran are the two females vying for the crown. Both professionals said they didn't care about being the first woman to win a regular WPT title, but for tournament officials, it's a dream come true.
"We're very, very excited," WPT spokeswoman Kat Cowal said. "This is the first time in the history of the World Poker Tour that two women have made it to a $10,000 championship final table."
Cowal said the fact that both women are listed among the best female players in the world only adds to the excitement.
Not only are they two ladies - they are two amazing ladies," Cowal said. "Mimi Tran has made some big final tables in other events and we're very excited to have her make on of ours. And Kathy is the number one WPT ladies champion so we are happy to have her back."
Not only did they make the final table – they have tons of chips.
Tran, who made the most of her big pairs, getting several players to call her all-in bets when she was holding the goods, has more than $2,519,00 million in chips. She is $2 million chips behind tournament leader EG Harvin, but her experience makes her a big threat at a table full of amateurs.
Liebert has exactly $2.5 million in chips. She is arguably the best female tournament player in the world and has lived up to her name at Foxwoods, continually putting pressure on the men and raking in pot after pot.
This will be Liebert's third final table in the 2006 WPF and her second WPT $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship final table. She made her first WPT television appearance last year at the Borgata Open.
Liebert is the only women to ever win a non-special WPT Main Event. She won the first Party Poker Million, the year before the WPT became a regular circuit series. That Limit Hold'em win earned her $500,000.
But neither women puts muck stock in becoming the first woman champion.
"It means nothing to me because I play against the player, whether they're male or female," Tran said. "To me it's no different. We all have the same opportunity."
For Liebert, the chance to win at Foxwoods has special meaning because she finished seventh at the very first WPT main event held at that venue. In 2001, Liebert suffered bad-beats to Layne Flack and Howard Lederer, the two players who ended up playing heads-up for the title. The television-bubble finish left a bad taste in her mouth that she hopes to erase with a $1.7 million victory.
"I wasn't happy when I finished seventh," Liebert said while recalling the exact hands that eliminated her from the tournament. "I like my chances. I'm planning on winning."
Although the women will be the focus Thursday afternoon at Foxwoods, the men will still have some say in who becomes the next WPT millionaire.
Harvin has been unstoppable, winning almost every race situation he's entered. He has $4.6 million in chips, almost as much as the rest of the field combined. His only detractor is his lack of experience, but during media interviews, Harvin said he's happy to just to have made it this far, keeping the pressure off because he never expected to win.
Local players Nenad Medic, Michael Perry, and Michael Omelchuk comprise the remaining final table competitors. They have $1.2 million, $680,000, and $533,000 in chips respectively.
All of them will be vying for their first major-tournament victory. The trio has played unbelievable poker for three days, but they will have to fight through the decades of tournament experience the two women have to battle back from the short stacks.
The final table will begin Thursday at 2 p.m.
Mimi Tran and Kathy Liebert star at WPF Final Table is republished from CasinoVendors.com.