Monday June 6, 2011: The 42nd World Series of Poker currently running in Las Vegas delivered more firsts on Day 5 with poker pro, singer and reality TV contestant Maria Ho becoming the first woman to make a final table at the Series, and Eugene Katchalov securing his first gold WSOP bracelet.
 
Ho fought her way through a star-studded field of 864 adversaries to not only make the final table of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, but end her run in a heads up against a rampant Allen Bari, who turned an overwhelming 85 percent chip advantage into victory despite Ho's very credible efforts, sending her to the exit with a worthwhile runner's up prize of $540 020.
 
Bari, who dominated the final days of the extended event, received his first WSOP bracelet and a whopping winner's prize of $874 116.
 
Katchalov's first WSOP bracelet came in event 5 – the $1,500 Stud competition  after defeating Alessio Isaia and 355 other hopefuls in a field that included many top players.
 
In event 6: the $1,500 buy-in Limit Hold'em contest, 15 players led by Bill Davis returned on the third day, the sole survivors of an original entry field of 675.
 
Late Sunday evening the heads up between Harrison Wilder and Thomas Jamieson, with the former holding a more than 2 to 1 chip advantage, took less than half an hour to conclude with Wilder claiming the bracelet and a main prize worth $205 065.
 
27 players took their seats Sunday on the third day of event 7, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em Championship. They were all that remained of an original field of 249 that had included most of the big names in the international game.
 
Stephen Chidwick led the field ahead of quality players like Robert Mizrachi, Nicolas Levi, Mike Matusow, Chris Moorman, McLean Karr, Amir Lehavot, Jarred Solomon and Jason DeWitt in an event that had to be extended beyond the original scheduled timing.
 
Late Sunday evening the elimination of Sam Stein in third place ($264 651) set the scene for a protracted heads up between Amir Lehavot holding an almost three-to-one chip advantage, and Jarred Soloman.
 
In the early hours of Monday morning when we went to press the two were still going at it hammer and tongs with Lehavot applying most of the pressure.
 
The first of the $1000 buy-in events – number 8, a NLHE competition – completed its second starting day Sunday, having attracted a further 2062 entries.  Added to the Day 1a registrations that gives a total entry field of 4 178; credible, but some way behind last year's 4 345 entrants.
 
Nevertheless, the second starting day field included many well-known names such as Kathy Liebert, Masaaki Kagawa, Humberto Brenes, Phil Gordon, David Williams, Victor Ramdin, Shannon Shorr, Amnon Filippi, Nikolay Evdakov, Gavin Griffin, Gavin Smith, Dwight Pilgrim, Layne Flack, Sorel Mizzi, Allen Kessler and Eddy Sabat.
 
Late Sunday evening Vegas time Day 1b was declared complete with 312 players remaining, headed by Jon Turner, comfortably ahead of nearest rival Jason Koon in chip counts.
 
Added to the same number of Day 1a survivors, a combined field of 624 players now returns for Day 2, with some notable players still very much in contention, including Phil Collins, Annette Obrestad, Gavin Griffin, Layne Flack and Kathy Liebert.
 
Competition is likely to be fierce as the survivor list gets down to the 423 mark, which is where the money bubble kicks in.
 
Event 9:  the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball started with 275 players, again with a good turnout of high profile players, and by the early hours of Monday morning after 2 hectic days of action, there were only 10 left.
 
Jason Mercier held a comfortable lead over nearest adversary Chris Bjorin when InfoPowa went to press at level 17.