In a year where female poker players seem to be breaking through in a big way at the 2012 WSOP, Cherish Andrews should not be underestimated.
Despite being 22 years old, Andrews brings a wealth of poker playing experience to the WSOP. She started playing poker in her hometown of St. Thomas, Pennsylvania, when she was just 14.
“My brothers played $25 tournaments with their friends and as soon as I got my first job I told them I was going to play,” she said. “They basically told me, 'Fine we’ll take your money.'”
Instead Andrews won the tournament, which turned out to be the first step in her poker journey.
Andrews devoured all the poker she could find on TV and started playing on a regular basis. She eventually found online poker and after playing very small stakes for a couple years she started upping the ante. She would play most of the big tournaments every Sunday.
When asked what initially attracted her to poker, Andrews was very candid.
“The money,” she laughed. “I mean I think that’s basically the number one thing. You can’t make money like this anywhere else. It’s fun too. I’ve met a lot of really good people in poker.”
After finding success online, Andrews started to frequent the cash games at the Turning Stone casino in Verona, New York, a five hour trip from St. Thomas.
From HPT Hostess to WSOP Grinder
While playing at Turning Stone, Andrews entered a contest via Wicked Chops Poker to become the hostess for the Heartland Poker Tour event that took place there in 2010.
The contest raised her profile in the poker world considerably but even then it was obvious she belonged at the table, not behind it.
“She’s good on camera, but she also happens to be great at poker,” said HPT commentator Fred Bevill at the time, “Someday she will be the one winning the cash, rather than the hostess presenting it.”
It turned out, that time would come sooner rather than later.
Andrews final tabled a $1k Six-Max event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $17,600 that winter.
Finally 21, Andrews was able to enter her first World Series of Poker in the summer of 2011.
Andrews was a revelation at the WSOP, making the money four times, winning over $30k, and going on a deep run in the Main Event, where she eventually finished 521st for $23k.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I was super excited because it was my first WSOP and the Main Event was my first $10k tournament. Cashing in it was really amazing.”
Unable to play online poker over the last year thanks to Black Friday, Andrews has been living in New Jersey for the last six months and honing her skills in the cash games at Borgata.
Andrews once again has a full WSOP schedule planned and has already recorded an $8,878 cash in the $1,500 Six-Max event.
Although a female player hasn't won an open WSOP bracelet since 2008, that could certainly change this year as women have already made seven top-eight finishes. Most notably Amanda Musumeci recorded a second-place finish for $481k last week.
“One of the reasons I think women are doing so well is that guys do underestimate them,” she said. “They try to bluff them in spots they shouldn’t and it doesn’t work as well anymore.”
So far Musumeci, Vanessa Selbst, Annette Obrestad and Caroline Hermesh have all made top-eight finishes.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Andrews added to that list before the summer is over.