Ema Zajmovic Looking To Become First Female Open Champion with 10 Left in WPT Playground

Feb 13, 2017

Ema Zajmovic


Ema Zajmovic, chip leader with 10 left in the Season XV partypoker.net WPT Playground Main Event, can become the first female champion of a WPT Main Tour open event if she’s able to seal the deal at a venue she knows all too well.

It is not quite the same as a repeat, but partypoker.net qualifier Zajmovic can certainly brag given that she has back-to-back WPT top-10 finishes at Playground Poker Club this season. Last time, Zajmovic finished fifth at WPT Montreal after dominating the late stages of the tournament only to run poorly once the television crew started filming.

“Honestly, I have been running really good today,”Zajmovic says with a smile. “It is a mix too because I have spots where I have the momentum. I hope it will continues tomorrow because at the last final table it was so bad because I ran so bad. I think the key is to have the momentum all the time and play the best you can with what you have. We’ll see what happens and if I can keep getting lucky.”

Zajmovic did have her lucky moments, most notably when she got it all in preflop holding ace-queen against start-of-day chip leader Hendrick Latz’s ace-king and turned a queen to stay alive. Latz went on to exit shortly thereafter in 20th place.

The French-Canadian Zajmovic went on to finish the day on top of the pack with 10 remaining with 2,985,000 in chips. Her next closest competitor, Jean-Pascal Savard, bagged up 2,095,000. Zajmovic is in great shape, but she acknowledges she has a ways to go before this event has a winner. She also thinks, while her position may be great, the competition is a problem.

“I think this table is tougher than the last one,” she says.

One person she did manage to dispose of before players combined at the unofficial final table of 10 and bagged and tagged was Pascal Lefrancois. She picked up a pocket pair against his ace in a blind-versus-blind confrontation and eliminated him in 11th place.

“I’m lucky he is gone because he is a really good player and he was on my left all day,” Zajmovic says of Lefrancois.

Given how things are going for Zajmovic, it is likely her opponents will probably be cursing her position on them come tomorrow.

Anything could still happen though, as there are 10 players remaining and a ways to go before the tournament is over.

For the early goings of the day, it seemed as though Henry Tran could run away with the season XV partypoker.net WPT Playground Main Event. At one point, he had over 20 percent of the chips in play, thanks to a series of big pots and memorable table talk. As play continued on though, the other stacks started to eat into Tran’s lead. He is still alive, but near the bottom of the pack with 525,000 in chips.

Here is a look at the chip counts and seat assignments for Tuesday’s Day 4 action:

Seat 1: Tam Ho – 1,700,000 (57 bb)
Seat 2: Eric Afriat – 1,135,000 (38 bb)
Seat 3: Mekhail Mekhail – 300,000 (10 bb)
Seat 4: Ryan Yu – 520,000 (17 bb)
Seat 5: Jean-Pascal Savard – 2,095,000 (70 bb)
Seat 6: Carter Swidler – 615,000 (21 bb)
Seat 7: Ema Zajmovic – 2,985,000 (100 bb)
Seat 8: Henry Tran – 525,000 (18 bb)
Seat 9: Danny Li – 495,000 (17 bb)
Seat 10: Jean-Francois Bouchard – 1,005,000 (34 bb)

There were 28 players who came back for Day 3, which means just one player had to bust before they redrew for seats at the final three tables. First to go was Harley Stoffmaker in 28th place, followed by Jake Schwartz in 27th.

Season XIII Player of the Year Anthony Zinno exited not long after that in 24th place when his jack-nine could not beat the king-jack of Ryan Yu. With his exit, Eric Afriat was left as the only WPT Champions Club member in the running for another title. He is still in the running and bagged up 1,135,000 in chips.

There were three partypoker.net qualifiers who came back for Day 3 and now just Zajmovic remains; Kalpesh Raichura (18th), Victor Adams (15th), and Alexandru Baron (12th) were among today’s casualties. All told, there were seven partypoker.net qualifiers who managed to parlay their satellite entry into a cash in this event.

The final 10 players get a bit of an early night tonight, then will be back in action again at 12 p.m. ET.

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