Sunday, July 15, 2007

Former Bucs Cheerleader Holding Her Own at The World Series of Poker 

Posted by James at 8:57 AM ET

By Bob Harkins
Kelly Jo McGlothlin has had a good run lately dominating her home game in Pasadena, Calif., but now she’s looking to raise the stakes.

McGlothlin, a 41-year-old dispatcher for the Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department, is one of two women remaining in the main event at the World Series of Poker. She is trying to become just the second woman to reach the final table, matching Barbara Enright’s feat in 1995.

McGlothlin survived Friday’s action and is one of only 114 people remaining, having outlasted 6,244 players.

She plays in a regular home game with nine men, four of whom (Jason Money, Ted O’Neill, Eric Henkels and Guy Labbe) were in attendance Friday, cheering her on from the rail in hopes of putting her opponents off their games. (In fact, they’re considering wearing t-shirts that say “You got beat by a girl.”)

In their monthly home game, the 10 players pooled their money and kept track of how everyone did, with the overall winner earning the right to represent the group in the main event.

Money said McGlothin won the first two tournaments and never looked back, winning the contest wire-to-wire.

“She just works on her game,” Money said. “She’s probably the most dedicated player in our group. She’s a great player. She knows every move and she’s smart. She really doesn’t make mistakes.”

Kelli, Bucs Cheerleader

McGlothlin, a former cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1989-91), grew up around sports. Her father, Jim, was a major league pitcher for nine years, pitching in the 1967 All-Star game for the California Angels and playing in two World Series for the Cincinnati Reds (1970, ‘72).

Jim McGlothin was also into gambling, teaching Kelly Jo poker in the fifth grade. He died of cancer at age 32, but passed on his passion for gambling.

“We’re big into sports, and I got into gambling from my Mom and my Dad,” she said. “They’re both big gamblers. Blackjack, poker. My dad used to take us to the race track when we lived in Kentucky. He’d let me and my sister pick out the prettiest horse and he’d put two bucks on it.”

McGlothlin, who is single, says she plays in $200 or $300 buy-in tournaments every week or two, with her biggest cash prize being $3,200. Until now that is.

She says if she were to win the main event, she had modest plans for her part of the $8.25 million first-place prize (her nine home game opponents will split 45 percent between them, and she’ll get the other 55 percent). She would pay off her mortgage and perhaps buy new houses for herself and her older sister, a single mother of two.

“I’d pay off everything she needed,” McGlothlin says, and invest the rest. “I’m 41 and that’s not young, but it’s a long ways away to just quit your job and do nothing. I want to make sure that I’ve got money there for retirement and everything. I wouldn’t go out and spend it all or anything.”

The other woman still alive in the tournament is Maria Ho, a 24-year-old professional poker player from Arcadia, Calif. Ho said she started playing poker in college at UC-San Diego, going to local casinos once she turned 18.

Kelli, Bucs Cheerleader

“We see each other all the time on the breaks in the bathroom,” McGlothlin said. “We’re rooting each other on. We both want to see each other do well.”

Despite living in close proximity to each other — Arcadia and Pasadena are neighboring communities just east of Los Angeles — they have never played against each other. But both would like to end up sitting side-by-side at the final table on Tuesday.

“I’ve never played with her,” Ho said. “But we have a solidarity thing going right now. There’s only been one woman to make the final table. Two would be great, and to have one win the bracelet would be tremendous.”

Ho, who is also single, said she recovered from tournament fatigue early on Friday, building her stack up to $885,000, just ahead of McGlothlin.

“For the past three days I think I’ve been playing great,” Ho said. “I really feel like I deserve to be here.”

And she’s optimistic that the numbers will eventually catch up, and a woman will again make the final table.

“Generally women make up three percent of the field,” she said. “It’s a numbers game. If more women played we definitely would be making it a lot further. The numbers are against us, but our play and a little bit of luck are going to get us through. I believe that.”

Update: from bodogbeat.com.

Players are dropping like flies here on Day 5 of the World Series of Poker and unfortunately Kelly Jo McGlothlin was one of the many eliminated so far today.

McGlothlin got shortstacked down to around $400K after running into a set while she had two pair. A while after that she felt she needed to make a move.

The whole table folded to her while she was on the Small Blind. Holding 9h/2h she tried to push the Big Blind out with a $60K bet. He called.

McGlothlin told Bodog Beat, "The Blinds were $10K/$20K, I was shortstacked and card dead. I had to make a move."

The flop cam Qs/Qh/7h. With a flush draw and the hope that the Big Blind might think she had a Queen, McGlothlin pushed all-in.

With no help on the Turn or River the Tens held and McGlothlin finished in 95th place, cashing for $67,535.

"I didn't expect the Bid Blind would be sitting on a pocket pair?" A disappointed but level-headed McGlothlin said as she waited for her check.

She was the second last woman remaining in the World Series of Poker.

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