Rousso, the Team PokerStars pro and GoDaddy girl, had already had a pretty good 2009. First she finished in seventh place for $79,117 at the World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship in January. Then in March she finished in second place at the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, taking home another $250,000. Sunday night Rousso topped both of those performances with a win in the EPT €25,000 High Roller Event in Monte Carlo, scoring €720,000 ($964,207) for the biggest single payday of her career.
Rousso joined 78 other top flight poker players in pursuit of the final High Roller title of the EPT’s fifth season. With the likes of Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Gus Hansen, and PCA High Roller champ Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier in the field, saying this was a tough tournament would be like saying Monte Carlo has a decent standard of living. All told, the poker elite in Monte Carlo built a prize pool worth €1,975,000.
Rousso entered the final table with over a quarter of the chips in play, with the biggest threat posed by Tony G in second place. But after four bustouts in the space of 75 minutes, none of them by her hand, she found herself trailing Florian Langmann, Randy Dorfman, and G.
Rousso jumped back into the driver’s seat less than an hour later. First, her 8-7 outflopped Langmann’s A-K to eliminate the German in fourth place. Then she took down a big pot with Q-2 against Dorfman to seize the chip lead once again. The pace had been quick up to that point, but it would slow down as the three remaining players tried to outmaneuver each other for the largest share of the prize pool.
Tony G would hit the rail five hours later in third place, setting up an all-American battle between Dorfman and Rousso. Dorfman began with a 2-1 chip lead and extended it further at one point, but Rousso held tough for two hours of heads-up play. She eventually grabbed the lead and closed out the tournament when her 7-6 turned the nut straight to top Dorfman’s rivered two pair.
“As long as I got my money in good I thought I had a chance,” Rousso told the PokerStars blog after her victory. “I have given 110% over the last three days. [When] I finished second in the NBC Heads Up Championships I was happy, but at the end of the day second places are no good. You want to win.”