Mikella Pedretti Tops Record-Setting LIPS Nevada State Ladies Poker Championship

The largest LIPS Tour Nevada State Ladies Poker Championship in history is in the books, with California’s Mikella Pedretti taking top honors and the championship’s winner’s payday. Pedretti, 39, of La Mesa, California, topped a 317-entry field to earn $11,999, the largest payday of her career.

Mikella Pedretti

California’s Mikella Pedretti won the 2021 Nevada State Ladies Poker Championship. (Image: Facebook/LIPSTour)

Pedretti claimed the top honors after the tournament’s final three players agreed to a chop. Second place went to Henderson, Nevada’s Samantha Holmes for $10,414. Las Vegas’ Kristen Deardorff claimed third-place money of $8,874.

Overall, 45 players divided a record-setting prize pool of $74,495. Other prominent pros who made the money included Lauren Bunch (fifth, $4,470), Ruth Hall (seventh, $2,980), and Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson (25th, $559).

Massive turnout exceeded expectations

The event’s organizer, the Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS), expected a large turnout in its return from a COVID-19-fueled hiatus, which included the forced cancellation of the 2020 edition of the event. The two-day main event, held at Las Vegas’ South Point Casino, overflowed the casino’s tournament playing area and required alternate seating to be put in place as Saturday’s Day 1 began.

The main event was the focal point of a four-day, seven-event series including ladies-only tourneys, a couple of events open to everyone, and a Friday devoted largely to the social side of ladies’ poker. Part of the LIPS Tour’s focus has always been to create a welcoming environment for female poker players, who are often intimidated by the male-dominated poker scene at other live events.

Added to that was the universal urge for the players just to be out there, playing live poker once again. That was on Pedretti’s mind when she spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal following her win. “I’ve been itching and scratching, waiting to get out again,” she said. “My vaccination came through, so I had this circled on my calendar. I’m just beyond the moon. I can’t even believe it.”

Final-table comeback for Pedretti

Pedretti started Sunday’s eight-player final table in fourth place, well behind Samantha Holmes, who was the Day 2 chip leader. A key double-up early in the day pushed Pedretti high in the counts, and when the field was finally winnowed to three, Pedretti, Holmes, and Kristen Deardorff opted to chop the remaining prize money. Holmes’ runner-up finish also marked a career-best payday, while Deardorff, a veteran player originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, added a solid score to her lengthy poker resume.

A thrilled Pedretti promises she’ll be playing more poker in the future, telling the Review-Journal, “It’s so nice to play with women, to come out to this event and see all the support of women in poker,” she said. “It’s just been great, and to come out of it on top was just fantastic.”

Written by
Haley Hintze
Contributing writer Haley Hintze is a 20-year veteran of the poker world, a Women in Poker Hall of Fame finalist, and two-time Global Poker Awards finalist.

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