With 15 players to go in the $5K Seven-card Stud event, Cyndy Violette is at the front of the pack as the chipleader with 157K. The 5K Stud event is the highest Stud buy-in at the WSOP which means that the winner is considered the Unofficial Stud World Champion.
Since Cyndy Violette is a fine looking woman, her poker game is always overlooked. Sure, she's always mentioned on the list of "best looking female poker player" but she'd rather be recognized for her poker skills that equally (if not surpass) her remarkable beauty. If you've played against Cyndy at the tables over the past two decades, you know first hand that she's not just a pretty face, but one of the toughest poker players around today... male or female. Indeed, Cyndy Violette is a triple threat -- she's smart, good looking, and is an excellent poker player.
Cyndy Violette is a native New Yorker and was born in Queens, NY. She enjoyed playing cards as a child with various relatives at the kitchen table. When she was 12, she moved to Las Vegas, NV with her family. One of her first jobs was dealing blackjack at a casino. She started playing poker when she was 22 years old and pregnant with her daughter. She was looking for something to do in order to kill time. Although she admits she didn't know what she was doing at the time, she quickly discovered that she enjoyed the game immensely.
She dealt poker and blackjack, but it wasn't until she visited Lake Tahoe in 1984 that she took the first big step in becoming a professional poker player. At the time, she was strictly a Seven-card Stud player and she cleaned up in the cash games. She entered a Stud tournament and won the entire thing. First place paid out $74,000, which at the time was the largest purse ever won by a female in the history of poker. Overnight, Cyndy Violette became known in poker circles. She was also the subject of an article in Playboy after her victory and that gave her exposure to a wider audience.
Cyndy soon quit her job as a dealer and decided to play Stud full time. She eventually made her way up in stakes from $15/30 to $30/60 and eventually to $75/150.
When Cyndy Violette met her second husband, she took a brief hiatus from poker, mainly because he didn't want her to play. In those two years, she focused on her family life instead of gambling. On a visit to Caesar's Palace in 1990, she couldn't resist the temptation to sit at a poker table. She entered a tournament and ended up winning it. She made the decision to return to playing on a semi-regular basis and spent time in Southern California and Las Vegas playing cash games and tournaments in various card rooms and casinos.
When Cyndy's relationship with her husband ended 1993, she spent that summer playing at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. She ended up moving there permanently with her daughter. She would return to Las Vegas for a few months every year to play in the World Series of Poker and do the tournament circuit in California.
2005 was a special year for Cyndy Violette. She made three final tables and cashed five times at the World Series of Poker. If it weren't for a bad beat by Erik Seidel, she might have won her second bracelet. She proved that she's an excellent all around player with cashes in Limit, Pot Limit, No Limit Shorthanded, and regular NL Hold'em. She earned her first and only WSOP bracelet in 2004 when she won the Seven-card Stud Hi/Lo event. At this year's WSOP, Cyndy cashed in two NL events.
Cyndy Violette is one of the top seven female money winners of all time. She has made ten (soon to be eleven) final tables over her career at the WSOP. If she never took a hiatus, she might have become the most successful female player of all time. She also used to be strictly a cash game player, but recently began playing more tournaments.
Cyndy at the 2005 WSOP
Cyndy doesn't just focus on poker. She leads a very healthy lifestyle as a vegetarian. She has a personal chef prepare her special foods during the WSOP, which she would often eat at the table during grueling 12-14 hour sessions.
Cyndy also practices yoga and aroma therapy and you can often see some of her lucky charms at the poker table. She keeps several healing stones within close reach.
"You have to have balance in life," she said in an interview. "Poker can be obsessive and then it's not good for you. You have to stay focused at all times; don't get emotionally involved, and don't let it take over your life."
Cyndy is also once of the nicest people you will meet in poker. She always has a warm smile and I've never seen her get angry at another player. She's a true class act and treats everyone with respect, which is rare to see these days.
By the way, the photos in this post were taken by Flipchip. Check out his 2006 WSOP photos.