Shelby Wells booked her hotel for four days, not expecting to make a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event.
She didn’t pack much in the way of clothes, either.
“I’ve actually just been rewearing stuff,” Wells said.
Wells was one of two women remaining in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship when Day 6 started Tuesday at Bally’s.
She was eliminated in 97th place for $73,100, leaving Efthymia Litsou of Larchmont, New York, as the last woman standing in the Main Event.
“It literally was emotional when I walked in for the first time just because I love poker so much,” Wells said after being knocked out of the tournament. “I feel like a lot of poker players take it for granted that they get to come here every year and experience this. So I’m really grateful and excited.”
The Main Event continues Wednesday with Day 7, as action will continue until the final table of nine players is set. Matija Dobric of Croatia was the unofficial chip leader at the dinner break with less than 70 players remaining.
Defending champion Koray Aldemir was eliminated in 75th place.
Wells is a low-stakes grinder who said she regularly plays $1/$2 no-limit cash games and daily tournaments at the local casino near her home in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Before her cash in the Main Event, Wells’ only result on HendonMob.com was a 72nd-place finish for $684 in a 2019 tournament at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.
But the 28-year-old won her seat to the Main Event courtesy of poker pro Nadya Magnus, who held a Twitter giveaway for women with less than $150,000 career earnings.
Magnus posted four rounds of riddles on her Twitter account, and Wells was the first to answer the final question correctly to win the $10,000 seat along with a $100 gift card and free coaching.
Wells experienced a swingy ride through the Main Event, winning several big pots while also bluffing off large portions of her chip stack along the way.
She was in 12th place at the start of Day 3 and was eighth entering Day 5 on Monday.
“The way I play is bad. I like to get in pots,” Wells said. “I’m definitely an action player. Sometimes I can build up a crazy amount of chips, and I’ll just dominate the whole thing. And sometimes I punt it off, and that’s the way it goes. It’s not boring when I play. I have fun.”
Wells entered Day 6 as one of the shorter stacks in the room and grinded through the first level before she was eliminated.
With her family and friends watching from the rail in personalized T-shirts to support Wells, she went all-in for her final 13 big blinds with jack-seven.
Her opponent called from the big blind with ace-king and flopped a straight to take a huge lead. Wells hit a seven on the turn for two-pair and the sweat, but couldn’t complete the full house on the river.
“I got like 1,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram,” Wells said. “So many people that I barely know from real life and strangers have been supporting me and hoping for run good. It’s been really crazy.”
Litsou, an amateur player originally from Greece, qualified for the Main Event by winning a satellite at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
She entered Day 6 in second place and was seated at the secondary feature table for much of the afternoon.
Litsou was able to use her big stack to push around her tablemates early on, including one hand when she forced Elliot Stern of Montvale, New Jersey, to fold while both held ace-king.
But she lost more than half of her stack in a big hand against Canadian Victor Li before the dinner break.
“It’s been unreal. I didn’t expect it, so I’m quite pleased,” Litsou said. “To be honest, I wish there were more women in the game, so I hope that happens in the future.”
What: $10,000 buy-in Main Event No-limit Hold’em World Championship
When: Through Saturday
Where: Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas
Streaming: PokerGO (subscription required)
Defending champion: Koray Aldemir