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WSOP Ladies Championship

The Ladies Championship began in 1977 with a $100 buyin, the lowest in WSOP history until 2020. This attracted an impressive field of 93 players, which was a record for any WSOP event up until then.1

The buyin was increased to $200 in 1978, to $400 in 1979, to $500 in 1982, and one last time to $1,000 in 1992.

The tournament was initially Seven-Card Stud, but it transitioned to No-Limit Hold 'Em in the first half of the 2000s, becoming half Stud and half Limit Hold 'Em from 2000 to 2003, just Limit Hold 'Em in 2004, and No-Limit Hold 'Em in 2005. With the poker boom in full flight, attendance then soared into quadruple digits for a few years.

The event has technically always been open to all players, but after too many negative incidents involving male players, in 2015 the WSOP officially increased the buyin to $10,000, with a $9,000 discount for women.

WSOP Ladies Championship

YearWinnerPrizePlayers
1977Jackie McDaniel$5,58093
1978Terry King$10,08084
1979Barbara Freer$12,72053
1980Debby Callihan$14,88062
1981Ruth Godfrey$17,60088
1982June Field$16,00064
1983Carolyn Gardner$16,00064
1984Karen Wolfson$15,50062
1985Rose Pifer$18,50074
1986Barbara Enright$16,40082
1987Linda Ryke-Drucker$16,80084
1988Loretta Huber$17,00085
1989Alma McClelland$18,60093
1990Marie Gabert$22,000110
1991Donna Ward$28,200141
1992Shari Flanzer$38,00095
1993Phyllis Kessler$32,80082
1994Barbara Enright$38,40096
1995Starla Brodie$35,20088
1996Susie Isaacs$42,000105
1997Susie Isaacs$38,00095
1998Amanda Thompson$40,000100
1999Christina Pie$34,00085
2000Nani Dollison$53,200133
2001Nani Dollison$41,130106
2002Catherine Brown$39,880107
2003Barb Rugolo$40,700112
2004Huong Doan$58,530201
2005Jennifer Tilly$158,335601
2006Mary Jones Meyer$236,0941,128
2007Sally Anne Boyer$262,0771,286
2008Svetlana Gromenkova$224,7021,190
2009Lisa Hamilton$195,3901,060
2010Vanessa Hellebuyck$192,1321,054
2011Marsha Wolak$192,3441,055
2012Yen Dang$170,587936
2013Kristen Bicknell$173,922954
2014Haixia Zhang$153,470793
2015Jacquelyn Scott$153,876795
2016Courtney Kennedy$149,108819
2017Heidi May$135,098718
2018Jessica Dawley$130,230696
2019Jiyoung Kim$167,308968
2021Lara Eisenberg$115,694644
2022Jessica Teusl$166,9751,074

Notes:

Men in the WSOP Ladies Championship

When the Ladies Championship began in 1977, very few women played in WSOP events, with Bonnie Baez being the first in 1974. And yet the first Women's No-Limit Hold 'Em was a huge success. The 93 entries were the most for any WSOP event ever. And every one of the players was a woman.

Fast forward a few decades and a trickle of men had begun to play in the event either because they thought the field was soft or because they lost a prop bet.

This wasn't too much of a problem until 2011, when Jonathan Epstein crashed the final table to finish 9th for $13,701.2

The WSOP couldn't legally ban men, or else they would have done that from the beginning. Instead they creatively solved the problem in 2013 by increasing the official buyin to $10,000 while giving a $9,000 discount to women.

There will still be the occasional male, but few of the female players mind someone willing to pay a $9,000 overlay to play with them.