Natasha Barbour Closing in on First Bracelet


After 13 hours of play Day 3 of WSOP Event #20: $1,500 has concluded with 5 players left. The event had 1,844 entries, but at the start of Day 3 only 35 players remained. Poker pro Natasha Barbour from Tampa, Florida, was among the players who returned on Day 3, and with 296,000 in chips Barbour started the day with an average stack. British player Shola Akindele was among the survivors too, and she began the day with 548,000 in chips, enough for 9th place. Other notables who made it to day 3 were Andy Frankenberger, Kevin MacPhee and Chris Lindh.

Down to 10 players both Barbour and Akindele had made the final table. Akindele was 3rd in chips with 1,625,000, and Barbour was hot on her heels in 5th place with 1,475,000. Unfortunately the cards didn’t go Akindele’s way and she was eliminated in 8th place for $43,888. First she lost half her stack with AJ vs. Paul Ephremsen’s AQ and then she got the rest of her chips in with a pair of eights vs. Wenlong Jin’s pair of tens.

After dinner break and with seven players left, Barbour doubled up in a hand vs. Ben Zamani. The action started with Zamani opening to 135,000 from middle position. Barbour in the big blind 3-bet to 285,000 and Zamani responded by moving all in. Barbour called, tabled and was way ahead of Zamani’s . The board ran out to secure Barbour a double up to 1,800,000.

After the eliminations of Jared Griener in 7th place and Garreth Beckman in 6th place, Barbour was getting very short, but she got another double up with vs. Wenlong Jin’s when she rivered the nut flush. Wenlong Jin was also the donator when Barbour doubled up again with AJ and hit a jack on the flop vs. Jin’s Q8.

In one of the final hands of the night Barbour once more got the better of Ben Zamani when she picked up on the button. She opened to 200,000 and Zamani who had called from the big blind. The flop brought the to give Barbour a set of aces and Zamani a pair of treys. Zamani checked and Barbour checked behind. On the turn both players checked again. When the prevailed on the river to give Zamani trip threes Barbour couldn’t have asked for at better card. Zamani bet out 305,000 and Barbour announced that she was all in. After tanking for several minutes Zamani reluctantly called and woke up to the bad news. The pot saw Barbours stack grow to 3,250,000.

Going into the final day of play the chip counts are:
Ben Zamani: 4,535,0000
Natasha Barbour: 3,770,000
Paul Ephremsen: 2,695,000
Kevin MacPhee: 1,720,000
Wenlong Jin: 1,115,000

With the amount of patience, focus, run good and well-timed bluffs Barbour is a strong contender to win her first bracelet when play resume at 1 p.m. local time. All the players are now guaranteed at least $103,857 with $406,640 up top for the winner. PokerWomenNews wish Barbour the best of luck on the final day, and hope to see her capture the coveted bracelet to go with the WSOP Circuit Ring she won back in 2010.

Photo: Natasha Barbour, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

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