Ema Zajmovic

Born in 1990, Ema Zajmovic found herself whisked away by her parents from Yugoslavia to Canada at the age of six.

Born in 1990, Ema Zajmovic found herself whisked away by her parents from Yugoslavia to Canada at the age of six. They left, fleeing the conflict which led to the creation of Bosnia and Croatia in the aftermath of the Iron Curtain’s final fall. 

In Canada Zajmovic learned French and English putting real effort into her studies. Claiming she was “not a cool kid at all,” she loved school and went on to study public relations at university with the intention of becoming a lawyer. Instead she put her qualification in public relations into a career in political communications, which culminated in her helping to run Justin Trudeau’s winning campaign for Canadian Prime Minister in 2015.

Along the way she also picked up a deck of cards and a couple of CA$ over the baize, learning to play poker and making a splash. In 2012 she had her first cash in a large event taking home 8th in an EPT €2,000 bounty event. Her real breakthrough though came in November 2016 when she took 5th at the WPT event in Montreal.

The event was finally won by Mike Sexton, who describes himself as “probably Ema's biggest fan.”

“She can really play,” Sexton said. “When I won in Montreal, she dominated play from four tables down to the final table. She's aggressive and not afraid to play pots.”

A few months later she became the first female winner of an open WPT main event, beating out 380 players to win first prize in the CA$3,200 Main Event at the WPT Playground, Kahnawake in February 2017. An achievement she is justly proud of.

“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it. The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing,” she said. 

After she followed that up in April 2016 with a 4th place finish in the £2,500 6-max event at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham demonstrating that she is no fluke on the scene. These three final tables, along with her seven other cashes (as at June 2017) put her over $337,611 in live tournament winnings.

She hopes to use her raised profile in the game to help women, particularly with the pressures caused by living lives under the scrutiny of social media. She also hasn’t sworn off politics, so who knows what’s next for her?

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