DELHI, California (STPNS) -- The women who played in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Ladies' Tournament have returned and the Main Event players are ready to head to Las Vegas.

The Turlock Poker Room sent 13 women to play in the Ladies' Event in early July. Among them were two Delhi residents: Tiny Blair and Amy Hicks. Blair's daughter, Erica, of Winton also traveled to play in the Ladies' Event.

Although none of the 13 local ladies placed ?in the money? at the Las Vegas event, they all had a great experience and learned a great deal from it. They look forward to returning next year. Tiny, Amy and Erica have all played at the Turlock Poker Room since it opened a little over two years ago.



Modesto's Lee Padilla appeared in the WSOP Event #2 at the end of June. Although he was not sponsored by Turlock Poker Room, he is a regular player at the local card room. The event had a $1,500 buy-in. Padilla placed fourth and brought home $176,579 in winnings. He was knocked out by Mark Ly. Padilla was holding the Ace and three of diamonds. Ly had an Ace/10 off-suit and paired the 10 on the turn. The pair of tens was good to eliminate Padilla who at one point was in second place.

Now, 12 local players are preparing to head to the WSOP Main Event. Among them is Jesse Aguirre of Los Banos. Aguirre and his fiancee Lindsey Lebron each won a sponsored seat in tournament play at Turlock Poker Room. The two have decided to get married while in Las Vegas for the big Texas Hold'em tournament. Aguirre will play the first day.

?I'm excited,? said Aguirre whose favorite players include Daniel Negreanu and Gus Hansen. ?I like aggressive players.?

Aguirre said he has been playing poker for about two years. After winning a championship in December, he set his sights on winning a seat to the WSOP main event. About six months ago, he started working with Lebron and teaching her how to play.

?It was something we wanted to do together,? he said.

CK Hansen is happy to return this year. He placed in the money last year and this year will return to the main event. His grandson, Nicholas Hansen of Turlock, will also play. That makes it especially exciting for CK to return.

The Turlock Poker Room features daily tournaments including a Ladies' Tournament on Thursday evenings. Essentially, anyone has a chance at winning and heading to the next WSOP Main Event.

?It's very important to spend hours in tournaments,? said Aguirre. ?It gives you the experience that you can't get playing on the computer.?

The 2006 WSOP Main Event begins Friday, July 28.

It's not too early for area residents to begin thinking about the 2007 WSOP.

For more information on the Turlock Poker Room, tournaments and live play, call (209) 668-1010.