Australian Heidi May captures WSOP Ladies Championship

Updated July 10, 2017 - 12:47 am

Heidi May and her poker-playing housemates have a psychedelic, long-sleeved shirt that they wear whenever they reach a final table.

The “Disco Shirt” now has its first World Series of Poker bracelet.

May, a 27-year-old professional poker player, won the $10,000/$1,000 buy-in Ladies No-limit Hold ’em Championship on Sunday in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Rio Convention Center.

May outlasted 717 entrants and defeated Deborah Worley-Roberts, a popular tournament regular in Great Britain, during heads-up play to claim the $135,098 first prize.

May is the second female from Australia to win a WSOP bracelet, joining Jackie Glazer.

“We’ve already had four final tables (this summer) with this shirt,” May said. “(This is) the first win in the shirt this year. But we had two wins at Aussie Millions.”

After working in the field of senior and disability care, May turned pro nearly four years ago and is a high-stakes online cash-game specialist.

May hails from Hobart on the island of Tasmania and learned to play poker while attending university.

Australia’s parliament in March approved a bill that would ban its citizen from playing real-money online poker if enacted.

“It’s pretty sad,” May said. “There’s people trying to fight it at the moment, so hopefully there’ll be a good result and it will be legal to play in the future.”

May made her first appearance at the WSOP last year and cashed in the Main Event.

She made the money in four events this summer prior to the Ladies Championship, including a 28th-place finish in the $1,500 No-limit Hold ’em event after being the chip leader with about 60 players left.

“It feels really good to finally close one out, especially after having a few deep runs and not quite converting,” May said. “I think the other tournaments, I got kind of unlucky. I just got coolered a lot. This time, I ran really well.”

May was the chip leader with five players remaining when the final table resumed Sunday, but saw the gregarious Worley-Roberts, a native of California who resides in England, push most of the action.

Worley-Roberts had a commanding lead at the first break with three players left, and her fans on the rail sang “Oh, Debs the Destroyer” to the tune of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” each time she raked in chips.

But May won a huge pot off Worley-Roberts soon after the break to turn the tide and eliminated Jana de la Cerra in third place to take a 2½-to-1 chip advantage.

May then grinded down Worley-Roberts over 42 hands of heads-up play. Worley-Roberts took home $83,459, by far the largest cash of her career.

“It was entertaining,” May said. “I enjoyed playing against Deb. She’s really funny. She kept it interesting, that’s for sure.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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