About Lacey Jones

Lacey Jones
Name Lacey Jones
Current Residence Las Vegas Nev.
Born Apr. 9, 1979
Birth Place San Antonio Texas

Model, actress, hostess, pro poker player - is there anything the multi-talented Lacey Jones can't do? Not according to the hordes of poker enthusiasts who follow her every move. To them, she is the poker goddess.

With her all-American good looks, wicked sense of humor and keen intellect, Lacey has taken the poker world by storm. Unfortunately for her fans, though, very little has been revealed about her history or path to poker stardom. The basics are well-publicized - she's a proud Texan with a heart of gold and hair to match - but what is her story? Where did she come from? Just how did this elusive and utterly feminine young women end up in an industry dominated by stereotypical male personalities?

A fifth-generation Texan, Lacey was born in San Antonio in the late 1970s. Her parents divorced when she was just seven years old, and when her father moved to Las Vegas Lacey remained with her younger sister and mother in the Lone Star State. Her mother was battling breast cancer at the time, and worked hard to instill a love of life and a fearless, go-getter attitude in her two young daughters.

The roots of Lacey's current career path can be traced to her childhood. Unusually tall and pretty, she was encouraged by friends and family to try her hand at modeling, and eventually accepted her first job at age 10. It was also around this time that Lacey played her first hand of poker. The Joneses spent summer vacations at a family beach house in North Carolina, where they often played card games well into the night.

Lacey continued modeling and playing poker throughout her youth, racking up accomplishments in both arenas. When she was 16, she was offered a job modeling in Hong Kong and Japan but turned it down at the behest of her father. He felt education was more important than pursuing a modeling career at that stage in Lacey's life. Disappointed with the decision at the time, Lacey now admits it was the right move and is happy she continued her schooling.

With her modeling career on hold, Lacey decided to pursue a degree in political science and French at the University of Arizona in Tucson after high school. She took a job bartending to supplement her income and began crashing home games at the local fraternity houses to bolster her bankroll. At this point her skills were already well-developed. Her childhood love of the game had morphed into a bonafide passion during her teens when she dated a poker-loving jock with a fondness for home games.

Bar work and poker habit aside, Lacey spent most of university holed up in the library or reading at home. After graduation, she decided to move to Los Angeles to resume her modeling career despite fears that she was too old for the industry. Not surprisingly, her concerns proved unfounded as she quickly began to land jobs with an impressive array of clients.

Over the years Lacey has graced the runways and catalogs of many top fashion and luxury brands, including Carolina Herrera, Nike Golf and St. John, and has also been featured in advertising campaigns for corporate giants Sony, Panasonic and Daimler Chrysler. In addition, Lacey has appeared in commercials and TV shows, most notably in a MGD Coors Light commercial and on The O.C. and Entourage.

Her successes as a model notwithstanding, Lacey continued to belly up at home games around Los Angeles, often schooling wealthy directors eager to learn the ways of the felt. Her agents were aware of her profitable hobby and in 2005 secured her a job at an ESPN poker tournament along with several other models. The girls were there to add some glamour and beauty to the proceedings by participating in the re-buy event and chatting on ESPN radio.

But while most were knocked out in the early stages of the tournament, Lacey persevered. Hired for her beauty, she ended up impressing with her brains when she placed 32nd in the 360-player field, without re-buying once. Her skills attracted representatives from Absolute Poker, who offered Lacey a sponsorship opportunity and coaching sessions with poker pro Mark Seif. The goal was for Lacey to improve to pro status and compete in the 2005 WSOP, both of which she did.

Known for his hyper-aggressive style, Mark taught Lacey his tricks, and encouraged her to mix up her game and find her own playing style. Other pros, like Johnny Chan and Nam Le, gave her invaluable tips and lessons too, which complemented the knowledge she was acquiring through strategy books and by watching her pro friends play.

All the while, Lacey was grinding it out at the tables, working on becoming a No-Limit Hold'em and Seven-Card Stud specialist. At first she was uncomfortable with the attention and often unsavory treatment her looks attracted at the felt, but she eventually learned to use her beauty to her advantage. And, as her career picked up, she began to cash in major events too, including three tournaments in 2006 alone.

Other changes were afoot as well. In December of that year she traded her ocean-view Manhattan Beach, Calif., apartment for a condo in Las Vegas. Her motives were simple: she wanted to take her career to the next level, improve her cash-game skills and be closer to the poker action.

Naturally more inclined to tournament play, Lacey began the transition from a tournament to cash-game player upon settling in Sin City. At first she was slinging chips at the Bellagio all the time, but a bad experience at the felt with fellow pro Davood Mehrmand and a knack for cashing in on tourists led her to switch her game up. She can now be found raking pots in the poker rooms at Caesars Palace and the Venetian.

In March 2007, Absolute Poker dropped its team of pros, which included Lacey, Mike "The Grinder" Mizrachi and Sean Mccabe, as a result of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Lacey is currently not sponsored by any other poker room, but she has created a lucrative niche for herself in the poker industry as a poker TV hostess.

In the summer of 2007, she was hired as the official hostess and bracelet presenter of the WSOP, a job that required her to interview event winners as they rolled off the final tables at the Rio. Several months later she played hostess to the U.S. Poker Bowl for Fox Sports at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, and then appeared at the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City on behalf of http://www.theborgatatv.com.

Additionally, numerous poker publications and Web sites have featured the rising star, including Woman Poker Player, Poker Player Magazine and Wicked Chops Poker. Lacey has also notched multiple appearances on Raw Vegas TV's Add It Up and hosted their 2007 Prop This! series.

When she can pry herself away from work, Lacey enjoys playing mahjong, speaking French, working out, exploring museums, working on jigsaw puzzles and getting pedicures, among other things. She also makes it a priority to spend time with her friends, family and fiancé, Mixed Martial Arts fighter Heath Herring, whom she met at a celebrity poker tournament in March 2007.

After their initial meeting, the native Texans continued to bump into each other at events around Vegas until local radio station X107.5 set them up on a "blind" date several months later. It was a match made to last as both Lacey and Heath were immediately smitten. Born just a year apart, they found they had enjoyed a similar upbringing in Texas and shared the same goals for the future.

They were eager to make their union official, and after just six months of dating Heath popped the question. It was December 2007 and Lacey was accompanying Heath on a business trip to the Philippines, where he was acting as representative for a new team fight organization, Ring of Fire. Heath had brought a ring with him and proposed to Lacey in Manila, the capital of the archipelagic nation.

The couple has no immediate plans to tie the knot and aren't planning a Vegas wedding. Instead, they'd like to marry in Texas in 2008 and ultimately settle in the state once they figure out how to balance their Vegas-based careers with life in the South. In the meantime, they plan to purchase a house in the Las Vegas area and work on their careers from the relative comforts of Sin City.

A free-spirited woman with a strong sense of family, Lacey has a penchant for enjoying life to the fullest. And though she was recently nicknamed "The Poker Barbie," the moniker could not have been bestowed on a less-likely candidate - from an intellectual standpoint, anyway.

After all, this is a lady who proudly acknowledges her nerd factor and admits to reading about quantum physics in her spare time - something she'd like to do more of in the future. Other un-Barbie-esque goals include going to law school and putting her French to good use as a U.S. ambassador to a Francophone country. She also aspires to becoming a better poker player, to continuing to model outfits worth more than several WSOP Main Event buy-ins, and to traveling the world. All objectives we can expect to see her accomplish.

Why? Because Lacey Jones is a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. So poker players beware: when she starts batting her eyelashes and grinning in your direction, fold your cards and smile back. Underestimating her skills will only result in a depletion of your bankroll.

Trivia


  • Studied in Paris for a time during university
  • Appeared in Absolute Poker commercials and instructional DVDs
  • Loves to travel and watch live hockey
  • Is a bad liar except at the poker table
  • Really admires Doyle Brunson and Jennifer Harman
  • Prepares for tournaments by relaxing, exercising and eating well for several days before the event
  • Is really athletic; runs, plays volleyball and other sports regularly
  • Prefers online play for the convenience and live play for the social interaction and adrenaline rush
  • Occasionally hosts PokerListings.com Live Tournament video updates and interviews