Try to Keep Up With This Jones at the Poker Table

You don’t get much more American in name than “Jones.” Now, add the ever-popular, stretching-back-to-Biblical-times name of “Mary” and you might paint a picture of an All-American gal named Mary Jones going nowhere near a poker table, much less Las Vegas.

You just lost that hand. This Mary Jones, living in Henderson, Nevada, is a gal who felt the draw of the cards early enough to settle into a chair at the table with her husband and friends for local poker matches. She liked the challenge and atmosphere well enough, and honed her skills in the friendly surroundings of her town and familiar faces, that she decided to try her hand in the bright lights and intense pressure of Las Vegas tables in the 37th annual World Series of Poker Ladies Event in 2006.

Apparently her homegrown skills were sharpened enough to stay alive in a pool of women ranging in age from 24-50 (including 2 who were holding something “extra under the table” – both were pregnant, expectant mothers). This Jones kept her afloat long enough, as others kept busting out, to find herself up against Shawnee Barton of Chicago. Barton, an artist, was painting with large red and black brush-strokes in the final to take the lead.

But then Mary followed through with a quasi-bluff and called all in (“Mary, Mary, quite contrary…”), spiking an ace on the river. Meet WSOP Ladies Event champion, Mary Jones. She was just about speechless after she realized it was over, and she took the $236,094 prize. “It’s the happiest moment in my life,” she said, finally recovering from the shock.

Not bad for someone who kept it all in the family to begin with. With a WSOP title on her mantle, she may still have a “plain Jane” name but now it’s one that should raise some eyebrows in future tourneys. Stay tuned.

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