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Top-10 women of poker

18 February 2008

Let's be clear, this is not a list of the best women poker players. This list tries to capture the women who live at that strange intersection of poker and pop culture. Some of them are poker players. Some of them are just associated with poker. But collectively, they're the most talked-about women in the game. So sit back, enjoy the list -- and let the debates begin.

Isabelle Mercier
10. Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier
The striking Canadian known for her intense stare began working as a blackjack dealer at the Casino de Montreal while earning a law degree from the University of Montreal. The 32-year-old holds two law degrees and represents Poker Stars.

Tila Tequila
9. Tila Tequila
The Queen of MySpace and star of MTV's "A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila" used her celebrity status and business savvy to make her mark in the online gaming scene with the creation of

Erica Schoenberg
8. Erica Schoenberg
Nicknamed "The Poker Babe," Erica is a no-brainer for our list. The Team Full Tilt member is a former model, personal trainer and professional volleyball player who began her gambling career playing blackjack after receiving professional training from a member of the renowned MIT Blackjack Team. She was also the first person to represent the online poker room, Mansion Poker.

Evelyn Ng
7. Evelyn Ng
A Bodog professional who formerly represented PokerStars, the 32-year-old Canadian got her start as a professional blackjack and poker dealer in Toronto at the age of 17. She gained world poker fame when she scored an impressive second place at the World Poker Tour in 2005, beating out Annie Duke and Kathy Liebert to the tune of $250,000.

Serinda Swan
6. Serinda Swan
Yet another Canadian beauty to make our list, this 22-year-old is the face of Absolute Poker, which had the marketing smarts to feature her in TV commercials, print campaigns and on its Web site. Absolute Poker gives fans a chance to challenge the former fashion model to a game of poker each Sunday night.

Clonie Gowen
5. Clonie Gowen
The blond bombshell from Dallas is a member of Team Full Tilt. She's a two-time winner on Poker After Dark and has nearly $1 million career tournament earnings since 2002.

Deanna Dozier
4. Deanna Dozier
Deanne fills the "Girl Next Door" quota on our list. The little-known actress, who has appeared on the big screen in Girls Gone Psycho and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, turned plenty of heads when she competed in the 2007 World Series of Poker and got plenty of much-deserved face time during the ESPN broadcasts of the event.

Shannon Elizabeth
3. Shannon Elizabeth
Shannon is one of the few true "A-list" celebrities in poker. She will be appearing on "Dancing with the Stars" this year. And most movie fans remember her stint as Nadia in the American Pie series of movies where she went topless while playing the role of a horny French exchange student. But the 35-year-old is a true poker enthusiast and proved her worth by winning the 2005 Nicky Hilton New Year's Eve Poker Tournament at Caesars Palace, outlasting 91 other players. A regular at the World Series of Poker, her other claim to fame in the game was a sixth-place finish in Calvin Klein's 2nd Annual Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament. She also she made the final four in the NBC National Heads up Championship last year.

Brandi Hawbaker
2. Brandi Hawbaker
The accompanying photo of Ms. Hawbaker pretty much says it all. Sometimes referred to as "Brandi Rose" she made her mark as a player when she placed in two World Poker Tour events in 2006. Since then her outlandish behavior away from the tables (and apparently, in strip clubs) has made her a favorite discussion topic among poker forums. (Editor's note: Hawbaker committed suicide in mid-April according to various news outlets)

Pamela Anderson
1. Pamela Anderson
The Internet's most downloaded woman became part of the poker world when she launched as an adjunct to the Doyle Brunson Poker Network back in 2006. The site crashed following the UIGEA but that didn't stop the former Baywatch babe from keeping her name in the poker headlines. Last year she settled a $250,000 poker debt to Rick Salomon with a kiss, which then led to the couple getting married. Two months later, Anderson filed for divorce. Anderson, of course, has previously married and then divorced both Tommy Lee and Kid Rock.

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