One woman was among poker's most familiar faces, and the other was a relative unknown, but the two players at the final table of the WPT Foundation Ladies' Night Invitational had something in common: Palm Beach County.
Their names: Vanessa Rousso, the 2001 Wellington High who travels the world and is sponsored by PokerStars; and Jessica Dawley, who has lived in Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach the past two years, playing mostly cash games at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Both are 30.
Rousso prevailed at the at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. She earned a $25,500 entry to the WPT World Championship and $6,250 for her charity, National Council for Research on Women. Equally notable is her decision to ditch her sunglasses in favor of an oversized black frame pair of regular glasses, with clear lenses. She has said she misses glasses, but doesn't like sunglasses anymore.
Meanwhile, Dawley earned $5,000 for her charity, the Domestic Violence Project of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She wanted to draw attention to the organization, because it has helped her obtain a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, who is accused of cyber-stalking.
"They helped me greatly, and I want other people to know about Legal Aid, that they have a place to go," said Dawley, who grew up in Louisville and southern Indiana before moving to Las Vegas, then South Florida to play poker.
Lily Kiletto, who finished second earlier this year in the WPT Lucky Hearts Open at the Seminole Hard Rock, finished third in Los Angeles.
Vanessa Rousso – 25% ($6,250) of prize pool to the National Council for Research on Women +$25,500 seat into WPT World Championship
Jessica Dawley – 20% ($5,000) of prize pool to the Domestic Violence Project of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
Lily Kiletto – 20% ($5,000) of prize pool to the Breast Cancer Awareness Association
Liz Lieu – 15% ($3,750) of prize pool to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
Kimberly Lansing – 10% ($2,500) of prize pool to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network
Sunny Chen – 10% ($2,500) of prize pool to We Advance