WSOP: Vivian Saliba is the 2017 Main Event Needle in a Haystack

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Vivian Saliba is the only female player in the entire 2017 WSOP Main Event field under the age of 26 (Photo courtesy SuperPoker.com.br)

Of the 7,221 players in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event there were just 272 women who played and only one of them was under the age of 26.

Age Range Total Male Female
21-25 347 346 1
26-30 1,520 1,472 48
31-35 1,478 1,411 67
36-40 895 857 38
41-45 731 705 26
46-50 753 725 28
51-55 613 582 31
>56 884 851 33

Vivian Saliba is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Sao Paulo, Brazil and as Day 2B continued on Tuesday, she was still in with a chance at moving on to Day 3, despite starting the day with less than half of the Day 1 starting stack.

“I started with 23,000, I have been on huge swings so far. And this table, I’ve had an 80K swing already,” said Saliba, who has been playing poker for seven years, the last two professionally. ”The structure is awesome, so we have a lot of space to gain chips again. I have like 60 big blinds, which is great.”

This is her second year spending the summer in Las Vegas and she’s been able to cash for almost $55,000, including an 11th place finish in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha for $ 47,923.

“It was an amazing result, but I felt sad,” said Saliba. “It’s hard to get so close. For all professionals, it’s not about the money, if you’re good, you’re going to make money, it’s about the result and the accomplishment.”

Even though she’s still thinking about that close call, Saliba’s had a great summer so far.

“It’s been awesome. I think all professionals love to be here during the summer in Las Vegas. It’s a dream, it’s where things happen and where you can chase your dreams and meet all your idols and your friends,” said Saliba “I’ve been doing well, I can’t complain. I had this cash in the $10K PLO, I’ve had other cashes, cash games were good as well.”

All but one of her previous results came back in Brazil. A total of 15 cashes for a total of $51,971.00.

Back home in Brazil, Saliba has a front row to the continuing growth of poker in her home country. She thinks the number of women playing poker in Brazil is roughly the same other major countries, somewhere between 5-10%.

“Poker in Brazil is in a big boom, it’s a huge trend and it’s getting bigger and bigger every day,” said Saliba. “The tournaments, they are really good. We have some series and local tournaments, but the cash games are really bad because of the rake.”

There are no casinos in Brazil. Poker is instead played in poker clubs that treat poker more like a table game when it comes to rake.

“It’s 5% with no cap, no matter how expensive the game is. If it’s a one million dollar pot, they’re going to take $50,000. So cash games are really bad,” said Saliba. “The good thing is we have online poker, we still have PokerStars, partypoker, all these websites, so we can play online.”

Saliba represents Trust Fichas Online, a website that allows Brazilian players to transfer funds back and forth between poker sites.

“You can trade chips from player to player and we have companies that make this for you. It’s like an exchange house; they profit a little bit when they buy from you and when they sell for you,” said Saliba.

Halfway through Level 9, Saliba has 90,000 chips.