2008 World Series poker hasn't been kind to the ladies

Prior to the start of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, online sports-betting site bodoglife.comreleased official odds where gamblers could bet on just about everything related to the event.

You could bet which father-son combination would win more money. Odds were listed on the likelihood of a former champion winning another one. The list goes on.

One of the most interesting bets you could make was on the likelihood a female would make the final table. The odds paid handsomely for any winning "yes" bet, but very poorly for a "no" bet. You had to bet nearly $25 to win $1, which isn't exactly a solid risk-reward proposition. In a historical context, it's easy to explain why the odds fell the way they did.

In the 39-year history of the World Series, only one female player has ever sat in one of the final table seats. Only two women have finished in the Top 10. Barbara Enright is one who holds that distinction.

A former California hairstylist, Enright gained entry into the 1995 World Series via a $220 supersatellite. According to accounts in the book "All In: The (Almost) Entirely True Story of the World Series of Poker," by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback, Enright asked a backer for the money to enter the satellite tournament, but he refused.

"That cost him $57,000," Enright said.

The 1995 championship event, which was eventually won by Dan Harrington, was a record-breaker, with 273 players in the field and the final 27 making money.

Had it not been for a bad beat, Enright may have been able to win the event. Sitting on a short stack in the big blind with five players remaining, Enright moved in with a pair of eights after Brent Carter completed the action from the small blind.

In what may go down as one of the worst calls in World Series history, Carter turned over 6d-3d and stood only a 20 per cent chance of winning the hand. He hit two pair on the flop, leaving Enright stunned and visibly upset in front of the ESPN cameras as she exited the tournament.

Enright earned $114,180 with her fifth-place finish and in 2007 was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Annie Duke finished 10th out of 512 players in 2000, but was bounced from the tournament after an unfortunate battle against Chris Ferguson and his pocket aces. Just as remarkable as Duke's march in the Main Event was the circumstances in which she played: Duke was eight months pregnant at the time.

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It's important to identify that both Enright and Duke achieved their accomplishments in a different poker era. One of the main reasons why so few women have run deep at the Main Event is because there just weren't that many women playing poker prior to 2003. Nowadays, female players are everywhere and many rank among the best players in the world.

The last woman standing at this year's Main Event was Tiffany Michelle. Michelle made a similarly historic run, finishing 17th in the field of 6,844 for an enormous $334,534 payday. It was the first time Michelle had ever entered a $10,000-buy-in event, so you could say she made the most of it.

Michelle was at or near the chip lead late in the tournament and is sure to receive plenty of airtime once ESPN broadcasts the Main Event.

"If nothing else, it's fun to have the audience," Michelle said to ESPN. "I realized that there were four cameras on me and none on anyone else. I guess I'm a story. That's really surreal."