The 2011 November Nine is set and once again there will be no women on the final table. However, one young lady did come close. Erika Moutinho battled all the way to 29th place, winning the coveted Last Woman Standing moniker.
It’s a sad fact that the number of women who enter the World Series Main Event is still miniscule compared to the male Erikacontingent. Although that does have the pleasant side effect of making the Last Woman Standing title all the more valuable.
It can do wonders for a woman’s career. Just ask former holders Mario Ho and Tiffany Michelle, the last females to exit the 2007 and 2008 Main Events respectively. The duo went on to appear in reality TV show, The Amazing Race. Not to mention that Maria was only one elimination away from winning her first bracelet in a $5k NLHE event at this year’s WSOP.
Erika was already guaranteed plenty of ESPN coverage, but the 25-year-old semi-pro also has a love story to tell. Her boyfriend of 6 years is professional player David Sands, who also made a deep run in the 2011 WSOP Main Event. In fact, when his table split for the last time, he was moved to the feature table alongside Ms. Moutinho.
Sadly, that was where the fairy tale ended. Sands finished just one place behind his other half in 30th. His elimination came at the hands of John Hewitt, who dominated his J-10 with A-J. It was a similar story for Erika, who followed her partner to the rail a few hands later after being similarly dominated by Andrew Hinrichsen.
She picked up $242,636 for her efforts. Not bad for her first ever attempt at a $10,000 event. Ever since David introduced her to poker, Erika has been playing prodigiously. The pair now reside in Panorama Towers, home to many of the world’s best online players. Erika told ESPN’s Gary Wise how useful it was having some of the best minds in the game as next door neighbours. “I was eager to learn, so having all these players over … it was a wealth of knowledge I could use to my advantage.”
She’s also turned her organizational skills into a business venture. Moutinho and Sands run DGS Management and Consulting, a firm which specializes in managing the lives of successful online pros.
Speaking after their romantic run came to an end, Sands was overwhelmed. “The word that comes to mind is ‘legendary.’ It’s really awesome because it’s both an individual and a collective accomplishment coming together in such an extraordinary way. It was on TV, she was the last woman standing … it was just incredible.”
You can follow Erika on Twitter @EMoutinho.