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EPT host finds luck of the Irish
Kara Scott may be the hottest woman in poker right now and we're not just talking about the way she looks.
The PokerStars European Poker Tour TV presenter took three days off from her day job to play the Irish Open over Easter weekend and managed an amazing second-place finish, cashing for over €300,000.
This, less than a year since she showed the poker world she's got game by going deep in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, eventually finishing a respectable 104th.
"It's pretty surreal," Scott told PokerListings over the phone as she made her way by train from Dublin, Ireland back to her Brighton, U.K. home.
"I know a lot of people don't think I can play and there are always going to be people who say I can't. But I have made the final of a female championship, I won a Sports Star Challenge, I went deep in the World Series of Poker Main Event and now I've come second in the Irish Open.
"I think my game is improving."
Scott said she felt great going into one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious poker tournaments with 699 other runners at Dublin's City West Hotel this past weekend.
It was almost as if the stars were aligned.
"It's kind of weird, but all the way through I felt like it was going to happen," she said.
"Right before the final day I got so short, I was down to just six big blinds after losing a massive pot, so it was tense for a while, but I got those chips back and after that it was just an amazing run."
She grabbed the chip lead at the final table and even went into heads-up with the eventual champion, Sweden's Christer Johansson, holding a slight edge.
"It was just one really big hand that swung it," Scott explained. "I played it really badly. I had two pair and he made trips on the river. I probably could have gotten him off the hand a little earlier, then he value bet it and I paid him off."
Before the Irish Open, Scott followed up her 2008 WSOP with another deep run at EPT Budapest, cashing with a 52nd-place finish.
She claims the experience she gathered in the sweltering Las Vegas summer has proved invaluable.
"I certainly felt a lot stronger coming into the Irish Open because of it," Scott said. "I think at the World Series I was blown away by the size of the whole thing. It actually freaked me out a bit.
"The Irish Open is smaller and more comfortable and I think my game has gotten a bit better since then."
On the personal side of things, Scott recently moved in with her boyfriend - high-stakes online stud Brian "sbrugby" Townsend.
However, she claims this really hasn't helped her game as much as some might think.
"We don't really talk about poker," she said.
Although she did run into a few true professionals who gave her some respect over her three days in Dublin, Scott admits her game is helped by the fact so many players don't believe a woman can make aggressive plays on the felt.
"A lot of guys think 'oh, she's just a girl'," she said. "So I three-bet them light all day and they let me get away with it."
Despite the overwhelming nature of her recent success and her passion for the game, this former-Thai-boxer-turned-TV-personality said she has no plans to leave her job on the EPT anytime soon.
But there's no doubt she's itching to play even more poker.
"I'm definitely not a full-time professional player," she said. "I love the live game and I love the competition, but I also love working in television. We've still got San Remo and Monte Carlo left this season so we'll see what happens.
"I would also really love to play [the 2009 WSOP]; we'll take a look at the schedule and see what I can do with my shiny new poker bankroll."