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Multiple Female Champs Crowned Same Day at WPT SHR Poker Showdown

April 12, 2022
Jennifer Aguilar and Valerie Novak

Seminole Hard Rock history was made last week at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida as, for the first time, two female champions were crowned on the same day in side events.

On Thursday, Maryland's Valerie Novak took down Event #30: $1,100 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em to take home $91,835, while New York's Jennifer Aguilar was declared the official winner in Event #32: $200 Quad Stack Double Green Chip Bounty not long after to win $5,095.

Valerie Novak and Jennifer Aguiler made history last night at WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown becoming the fi… https://t.co/mIAe6vFQe2

— World Poker Tour (@WPT)

Overcoming Chance

Novak made her way through a field of 475 entrants in Event #30, which generated $460,750 in prize money to more than quadruple the $100k guarantee. It was an impressive victory for the "recreational" player, who started playing poker again back in September, as she had to battle against a final table that featured top pros including Chance Kornuth and Kristen Bicknell.

Valerie Novak
Valerie Novak

Bicknell, who PokerNews interviewed earlier in the series, finished in eighth for $12,085, but Kornuth stuck around to get heads-up against the eventual champion, falling when his top pair was no good against the overpair of Aguilar.

“When I saw Chance at the table I thought I had no chance, as silly as that sounds," Novak told WPT after the victory.

Event #30: $1,100 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em Final Results

 PLACENAMEPRIZE (IN USD)
 1Valerie Novak$91,835
 2Chance Kornuth$61,585
 3Duff Charette$41,055
 4Maxx Dansky$28,175
 5Andrew Heckman$21,630
 6Julius Threadgill$18,030
 7Robert Kuhn$15,055
 8Kristen Bicknell$12,085
 9Matthew Zarcadoolas$9,125

The nearly six-figure score is a nice payday for Novak, whose first tournament cash dates back to 2009 and whose previous biggest score was $41,420, according to Hendon Mob.

“I have a family, a job, a grandson, so I just can play when I can," she told WPT. "My husband is super supportive about me traveling, so I pick like three or four places throughout the year I wanna go to, and spend about two weeks there and kinda focus on the game. It’s just been working out. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my game since September.”

Kornuth, who has $9.4 million in live earnings, was an optimist about the heads-up defeat.

"Sometimes losing HU doesn’t hurt too bad," he wrote on Twitter. "Genuinely happy for Val. Nice way to start the trip!"

Sometimes losing HU doesn’t hurt too bad. Genuinely happy for Val. Nice way to start the trip! https://t.co/MlbgHo63OU

— Chance Kornuth (@ChancesCards)

Eight-Handed Deal Wins It for Aguilar

As Novak was celebrating her WPT victory, Jennifer Aguilar was battling through a field of 398 entries in the bounty event that produced a prize pool of $43,780, with an additional $19,900 set aside for bounties.

Jennifer Aguilar
Jennifer Aguilar

At the final table, the remaining eight players reached a deal to split the prize pool. As chip leader, Aguilar took home $5,095, while each of her seven competitors, who included Ronnie Tate, Perla Ojeda and Jancer Gomez, each pocketed an even $3,000.

The victory gave Aguilar her third biggest live cash and she now has $44,801 in live earnings to her name, according to Hendon Mob. Her biggest score was earned back in November in the same venue at the WPT Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open, where she finished third in a bounty event for $8,872.

Event #32: $200 Quad Stack Double Green Chip Bounty No-Limit Hold’em Final Results

 PLACEPLAYERPRIZE (IN USD)
 1Jennifer Aguilar$5,095*
 2Ronnie Tate$3,000*
 3Perla Ojeda$3,000*
 4Dan Kuntzman$3,000*
 5Jancer Gomez$3,000*
 6Andrew Klein$3,000*
 7David Rebholz$3,000*
 8Alejandro Arana Torres$3,000*

*Denotes final table deal

Levy Ships Ladies Event

It had already been a good series for women in poker before the $250 buy-in Ladies Event attracted 97 entrants to make it the largest Ladies Event in SHRP history.

It was Lisa Levy who took home the trophy and top prize of $4,015, as well as a $1,000 seat to another event in the series, following a three-way deal with Annette Cilento and Geneva Pinney, who respectively took home $3,946 and $3,904.

Lisa Levy
Lisa Levy

Others who made deep runs in the Ladies Event include Anne Caparros (4th - $1,480), LearnWPT Instructor Katie Stone (5th - $1,135) and Patricia Bedford (6th - $900).

Event #37: $250 Ladies Event Final Results

 PLACEPLAYERPRIZE (IN USD)
 1Lisa Levy$4,015* + $1,000 Event 46 Seat
 2Annette Cilento$3,946*
 3Geneva Pinney$3,904*
 4Anne Caparros$1,480
 5Katie Stone$1,135
 6Patricia Bedford$900
 7Sharon Liss$760
 8Rinat Haviv$660
 9Andrea Di Netta$600

*Denotes final table deal

Four Women Make Day 3 in Championship Event

In the $3,500 buy-in Championship Event, which is currently underway, four women were among the 99 players who survived to see Day 3 on Monday: Lexy Gavin, Kitty Kuo, Ema Zajmovic and Nancy Birnbaum.

Zajmovic was first out in 98th place for $9,300, followed by Gavin in 91st Place for $9,300. Gavin's tablemate, Kuo, was the next female player eliminated in 86th place for $10,400, while Birnbaum fared the best of the bunch and finished in 27th place to earn $28,500.

A handful of WPT trophies are still up for grabs with multiple events remaining here at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Follow the Championship Event action with the WPT's live updates.

Photos courtesy Joe Giron and WPT

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