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The Muck: Pro Hockey Player Enters $1,000 WSOP Ladies Event for $10,000

The Muck: Pro Hockey Player Enters $1,000 WSOP Ladies Event for $10,000 0001

There's Always One

Maybe the abundance of testosterone was just too much, and there was a need to take a break from high sticking and a desire to swap a cross check for a check back. Whatever the reason, Simon Després-Bellavance, a Canadian professional hockey player who is currently a free agent looking for a new home, entered the World Series of Poker Ladies Championship on Friday, paying full price for about 6 1/2 levels of play. He busted shortly after the dinner break.

Després, formerly of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks, was the only male to enter the tournament. Refresher: To discourage men from entering the Ladies Championship, the WSOP adjusted the rules of the event in 2013, giving women a discount to play the tournament for only $1,000, while men had to pay the full $10,000. Després put up the full amount anyway.

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about a man playing a ladies event is that they lost a bet. But that doesn't appear to be the case. We caught up with Natasha Mercier, who was seated at Després' table.

Mercier elaborated: "We asked him if he lost a bet and he said no. We were wondering why he was playing and kept trying to get a reason out of him, but he didn't really say much. Finally, someone asked if he was playing for charity, and he said 'maybe.' He was really quiet and acted like this was some kind of punishment. They broke our table soon after I got there, or I'm sure I would have figured it out."

Whatever his reason for playing with the ladies tournament today, it was awfully kind of him to sweeten the pot.

A Different Kind of Bet Inside Ivey's Room

Mark Winchell and Andra Zachow of St. Petersburg, Florida, are betting on a long life together, as they went all-in inside Ivey's Room with a small wedding ceremony, the first of its kind for Aria's Poker Room.

Ivey's room is exclusive to a select few and some of the biggest games in town, so requesting to get married in Ivey's Room during the World Series of Poker was a long shot.

The couple has been playing poker at Aria for about four years, and they feel like they know the people in the poker room. So they reached out to Sean McCormack, Director of Poker Operations to see what could be arranged.

McCormack initially thought, "there's no possible way," but he went to his boss, Bobby Baldwin, and received the go ahead. After that, it was just a matter of coordinating with the wedding chapel and getting the newlyweds to Las Vegas.

Guests included 888poker Ambassador and ESPN sideline reporter, Kara Scott, Lead World Poker Tour reporter BJ Nemeth, and PokerNews' Manager of Social Media, Pamela Maldonado.

Maldonado asked Winchell and Zachow about their honeymoon plans.

"I guess we did the honeymoon first because we’ve been here a week already. We knew when our family got here that our poker plans would be kiboshed. You know, they’d be like, 'no more tournaments,' so we had to get that all in before they got here. Now we have to hang out with them and stuff, so ..."


How do you top a lone hockey player amongst a field of ladies and a wedding? With puppies, of course. Because, well ... puppies.

To be fair, poker players and dogs have been a thing for awhile. But this summer, it seems all of our favorite furry family members are making their way to the hallways of the Rio, and they're doing it in record numbers.

We offer proof, for your viewing pleasure.

  • That time a millionaire hockey player entered the WSOP Ladies Event...

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