Warming up to the WSOP: When Elisabeth Hille Owned Greg Merson

Elisabeth_HilleTwo years ago, not only one but two female players were as close as you can get to the final table at WSOP Main Event. I am of course talking about French player Gaëlle Baumann and Norway’s Elisabeth Hille, who made the count down to the final table a very exciting experience that year. It seemed like everybody in the poker world was rooting for Baumann and Hille. Not since Barbara Enright made the final table in 1995 had any woman been able to follow in her footsteps.

Unfortunately both Hille and Baumann fell on the final table bubble in 11th and 10th place, and we can only speculate how far they would have been able to go, if they had made it to the final nine.

Especially Elisabeth Hille made a great impression. The Norwegian waitress, who was playing her first WSOP, had tried to qualify for the event online, but had failed. When her boyfriend Harald cashed in 22nd place in Event #59 for a score of $20,499 they split the profit, and Hille suddenly had enough cash to buy into the Main Event.

What was really impressive was Hille’s table presence. The 26-year-old amateur seemed completely relaxed and calm at the table and she did not give away any tells. She picked her spots well and played her hands aggressively, applying pressure on her opponents on every street. Especially the later world champion Greg Merson had a hard time. The two players clashed on several occasions and Hille simply owned Merson every time. It would have been so much fun to see the two players continue their battle at the final table! This was not to be, but we can enjoy the video below, where ESPN has compiled some of the hands that Merson og Hille played against each other:

Merson must have been quite relieved when Hille ran her A-Q into Andras Koroknai’s pair of sevens and failed to improve. Hille took home massive $590,442 for her 11th place finish.

After her deep run, Hille was signed as a Betfair Ambassador, and she returned to play the WSOP Main Event the next year, but didn’t cash. This year she played the Norwegian Championship of Heads-Up that was held in Dublin. Hille made it all the way to the final two, but could not overcome poker pro Yngwe Steen. Hille collected €18,980 for her second place finish.

Hille has announced that she will be back to play the Main Event this year. As she told Pokerlistings: “It is my favorite tourney of the year. The numbers of players, the structure. As long as I play poker, I will play the big one.”

Photo: Betfair

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