Qiyu "Nemo" Zhou won her first-ever live poker tournament on Saturday at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. Nemo was victorious in the Enclave Celebrity Poker Invitational. She topped a field of 70 entries to win the event's $20,000 first-place prize.
Nemo is a woman's chess grandmaster who transitioned into poker in recent years. She played World Series of Poker events at the 2022 WSOP, cashing twice, and also cashed in the WPT Ladies World Championship that same year. Until the Enclave Celebrity Poker Invitational, Nemo had never won a live poker tournament according to TheHendonMob.com, but that's all changed now. After taking a short break from the game, Nemo said she is back and appeared rejuvenated after this victory.
"I've always wanted to play so much more poker," Nemo said after her win. "I took a break this year because there are three holes in my door because I punched it after really bad poker sessions. I'm really glad to be back in poker and I'm super grateful for this opportunity."
Among those competing in the Enclave Celebrity Poker Invitational were Josh Richards, Bryce Hall, Alexandra Botez, Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano, Mike Matusow, Gordie Gronkowski, Josie Canseco, and JC Caylen.
|Qiyu "Nemo" Zhou
|Steven "Hoodie Allen" Markowitz
After getting moved to the feature table, Nemo found herself all in with king-nine against the pocket aces of fitness influencer Nathan Webb. Nemo had moved all in from the cutoff seat for seven big blinds and Webb made the call from the small blind. Nemo flopped trip kings and held on from there to score the all-important double up. This hand really got Nemo going.
At the final table, the Nemo show was on full display. She knocked out reality TV star Chase DeMoor in eighth place, tattoo artist and INKMASTER Season 3 winner Joey Hamilton in sixth place, Webb in fifth place, and gambling industry veteran analysts and investor Chris Grove in third place.
In the end, Nemo found herself heads up with Bill Pulte. When heads-up play began, Nemo had 10,125,000 in chips against Pulte's 2,875,000. The blinds were high and the match didn't take too long to wrap up. On the final hand, it was Nemo's pocket deuces holding against Pulte's king-seven to get the $20,000 win.
"Honestly, I think I got really lucky on some hands," Nemo said after. "As we were getting shorter and shorter, I just had to shove all in. I kind of started developing this reputation at my table where I was just shoving all in because that's just what you have to do when you have 10 big blinds. There's nothing more you can do."
The Enclave Celebrity Poker Invitational was livestreamed on PokerGO and the PokerGO YouTube channel. If you'd like to relive the excitement of this star-studded event and Nemo's first-ever live tournament victory, you can do so on the PokerGO YouTube channel.