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Real Women of Poker: Cyndy Violette

3 October 2011, By:
Cyndy Violette could be considered the first real "poker babe."
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Cyndy Violette could be considered the first real "poker babe."

But the difference between Cyndy and the babes of the modern poker world is that when she started in the game, she couldn't count on her looks to make money in poker.

Violette has earned her poker money the old fashioned way: by beating you at the tables for it.

"Early" Success

Cyndy was born in Queens, NY but her family moved to Vegas when she was 12 years old.

While the allure of the Vegas casinos attract a lot of poker pros at a young age, Violette says in her website bio she was already an adult and pregnant with her first child before she even stepped foot into a casino.

In 1984, Violette decided to turn pro after taking down a poker tournament in Lake Tahoe.

That decision would not only pay off but also put her in the record books.

The very next year she took down a Seven-Card Stud tournament at the Golden Nugget netting her $75,000 - the largest prize for a woman in poker to that point.

Word of her success spread outside of the poker world and Cyndy was contacted by various television shows and even Playboy Magazine.

According to her Hendon Mob stats, Cyndy followed up that success with another massive win at the Grand Prix of Poker in 1986 when she took down a stud tournament for $74,400.

Walking Away and Coming Back

Violette then made a move that many today likely would not have. She walked away from the game of poker.

She fell in love with her second husband and walked away from the game to be a full-time wife and mother.

That lasted two years until Cyndy entered a tournament in 1990 at Caesars Palace and walked away with the $62,000 prize.

This win re-ignited her fire for the game and she never looked back.

Violette moved to Atlantic City in 1993 where she regularly punished the high-stakes stud games in the region.

For the next 10 years, Violette continued to dominate in both tournaments and cash games.

First WSOP Bracelet

Violette was also making a name for herself at the World Series of Poker with numerous final tables, but she still had yet to capture an elusive gold bracelet.

That changed in 2004 when she took down the $2,000 Stud 8-or-Better bracelet and $135,900.

She nearly took a second bracelet the following year when she finished runner-up to Erik Seidel in the $2,000 No-Limit Holdem Event.

The $295,970 she won in that event is still her largest live tournament score to date.

For her career, Violette has over $1.33 million in tournament earnings listed but that number is likely much higher as many events in the '80s and '90s were not properly tracked.

For example, her Caesars Palace win in 1990 is not listed among her official stats.

Health Advocate, Hall of Famer and High-Stakes Regular

Cyndy is famous for her dedication to staying healthy through macrobiotics.

The WSOP on ESPN even featured her specially prepared meals for the WSOP for herself and her friends.

She also uses positive affirmation to improve as a poker player and credited positive affirmation as a key ingredient to winning her first major poker title in 1985.

For a lifetime of accomplishment in the game of poker, Cyndy was inducted into the Women's Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.

She joined the ranks of Barbara Enright, Linda Johnson, Susie Isaacs and many others.

Violette is still a regular in high-stakes cash games in Vegas, Los Angeles and sometimes in Atlantic City.

She also play in many major events, especially the World Series of Poker.

When not playing at the tables she is busy working on her clothing line and her motivational and spiritual studies

For close to 30 years, Cyndy Violette has been a force in the poker world.

Far more than just a pretty face, she's a fierce competitor at the table who has helped pave the way for many of the women that have followed her in the game.

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