The Queen of Hearts: Mary Jones Meyer

A Happy Victory for Mary Jones
A Happy Victory for Mary Jones

I can't think of anyone who fits this title more perfectly than Mary Jones Meyer (and not just because queens and hearts are her favorite cards). The Ladies No-Limit Hold'em event has wrapped and regrettably so. It was by far one of the most fun events to watch at this year's WSOP. The energy of the crowd was fantastic, the players were entertaining, and Meyer, who bested a field of over 1,100 competitors to take home the bracelet, was a joyful winner to watch.

With the coaching of her husband, Meyer remained focused throughout the entire game. Never once did she lose her cool or get upset. She was the picture of grace and good humor as she congratulated eliminated players and beamed like a kid in a candy store when she realized she'd won it all. had the pleasure to talk to the effervescent Queen of Hearts and relive the event that definitely had the most heart.

So, how are you feeling right at this moment?

I'm feeling much better. I've had a few minutes to sort of calm down. I don't think it's set in yet, but I'm really excited.

You had to put in long hours for this event, how did you prepare for that mentally?

We played some hands at home. I actually played in some satellite games this week. But when it really came time, it was "stay calm, stay balanced." And the whole focus 100% of the time was on the bracelet.

You did seem very focused - it was very impressive. How do you feel you played today?

You know, I think I did good 95% of the time over the two days. I had a couple of bumps in the road, but they were small ones, and so I learned from those so I didn't do it again. And it really and truly only felt like I had one bad beat, and the rest of the time I got very lucky.

How do you think your opponent, Shawnee Barton, played?

She did a great job. I think she got a little rattled when we had to split that pot for the straight. I think that kind of had an impact on her, and so that gave me an advantage, and I took it.

How do you deal with the pressure at this level of play?

I played in a circuit event last year where they announced every hand, but it was a very small ladies circuit event, so it gave me a taste of what it would be like. And so for today all I did was just focus on playing the cards and try not to look at anybody or think about anything else except one hand at a time.

How long have you been playing poker?

Two years. That's it.

How did you get into playing?

Well, I've always loved playing cards. I'd always wanted to go into a poker room, but I was too afraid. And then a couple of years ago my husband took me in and created a monster, and he's been coaching me ever since.

Mary Jones shows off her prizes

So your husband is your mentor?

Absolutely. He had played years ago and then stayed away from it, and then of course, he took me to a poker room, and I was hooked. So it was either help me or stay home alone. [laughs]

How are you going to celebrate this fantastic win?

I think I need to take a little break, but then I'll have a little celebration drink and then figure it out. I think tomorrow will probably be the bigger party day at this point.

Are you going to be entering any other World Series events?

I'm going to try, but I'm afraid I actually do work for a living and then we're leaving on vacation for a couple of weeks. I know my husband's going to play in a couple more tournaments, but me personally, I was thinking one more, and if not, I'm going to have to wait until next year.

Mary Jones and her winning hand

Now give us the play-by-play of the final hand - what went down, how you were feeling?

Again, it was one of those things where you look down. I obviously had a huge, huge chip lead. We were heads-up. I had Q-6 suited - at that point every hand is going to be a raise. I like hearts, and I like queens, and I felt lucky. It was so funny when the hearts came up and then the six of clubs came on the river, I was actually expecting a heart, and so I just couldn't believe it at first. I thought it should've been a queen, or it should've been a heart, but that six of clubs is the most beautiful card I've ever seen!

What kind of advice would you give to an aspiring female poker player?

One of the smartest things I did was play a lot of small, cheap buy-in tournaments. Play them a lot, learn a lot. You see a lot of flops and you have to learn how to read people. Just get very familiar with the whole process and how a tournament works. I would do that, and I think also playing in the satellites because it teaches you how to play in the final table, and that's a totally different animal. So a couple years ago, one of the local casinos was having a big tournament, and that's all I did for two weeks, and it made a big difference in my game.

WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and Winner Mary Jones

Who do you prefer playing against, men or women?

I actually prefer to play men, because I do think it's a totally different style of playing. I think men are more analytical, whereas women play more by the feel and at the end of the day, you kind of have to go with your gut. My husband has taught me very well about pot odds and watching my betting which has made all the difference this week, but at the end of the day, I think you go with your gut and that's why I think women have an advantage playing against men because they don't know how to read us as well as we can read them.

Thanks very much, Mary. Congratulations on your tournament win.

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