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Big Hand for a Little Lady

Cyndy Violette belies the stereotypes and Makes Sexism Pay in the macho world of High-stakes poker
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Ernest Hemingway, Jul/Aug 99

(continued from page 3)

During her recent U.S. Poker Championships victories, Violette did not suffer any of the indignities she has sometimes endured at poker tables in the past. No verbal barbs; no overt rudeness; no mean-spirited potshots. She has earned the competition's respect over the years and, particularly in Atlantic City, she is something of a card-playing celebrity. "Winning in front of my friends and family was nice," she says. "But I like winning anywhere."

Besides her daughter, one of Violette's biggest fans is the owner of the casino where she most regularly works: Donald Trump. Violette, Trump says, is one of his favorite Taj Mahal regulars--for obvious reasons. "I think it's tremendous that she's such a fine player," he says. "And the fact that she's a woman makes it even more tremendous."

While Trump is no poker player himself, he professes a deep respect for the skills that a world-class player like Violette possesses. "I think people like Cyndy who are used to making big decisions under pressure would do very well in the business world." The casino magnate, in fact, has solicited her advice on several Taj poker-room-related issues and, according to Violette, has acted on her suggestions.

Still, Violette makes regular visits to Las Vegas. "And even if I'm not based there permanently, you can bet I'll be at the World Series of Poker every spring," she promises. "It's the best action of the year. Besides, I've got to play in the women's world championship event. Because I've done a lot in poker and had a lot of success. But," she says, shrugging, "I've never won a ladies tournament."

Michael Konik is Cigar Aficionado's gambling columnist and the author of The Man with the $100,000 Breasts and Other Gambling Stories (Huntington Press, Las Vegas).

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