By Paul Zielbauer

The New York Times

November 20, 2000

Like other tournaments, Foxwoods’ has attracted poker-playing men from around the world, as well as a few women, including Wen Eolis. A former aide to Gov. George E. Pataki of New York and one of the world’s top female poker players, she started gambling in London in 1967.

“I was thinking about how I could support the three children I was raising in addition to my waitress job” at the Playboy Club, she said.
Though she earns a living not from gambling but from consulting for blue-chip law firms in Manhattan, Ms. Eolis, 56, was the first woman to finish in the money at the World Series of Poker, in 1986. She takes great pride in her poker game and said that despite heavy doses of male chauvinism, she could still win enough to live well, if she wanted to.

“Most world-class players who play in major no-limit events are a little reluctant to think of me as a powder puff,” she said, referring to the games in which players can raise one another by unlimited amounts. “I’m a known quantity. But I don’t want to dissuade them too much until after I’ve won their money.”

Professionals, or in Ms. Eolis’s case, serious recreational gamblers, typically play poker, not blackjack, roulette or other games in which gamblers play against the house rather than one another.

“Most games in casinos are designed to minimize the influence of skill,” said Michael Pollack, the publisher of the newsletter Gaming Industry Observer, in Atlantic City. “Poker remains an exception. It is one of the only games to match player against player.”

Graphic: Wendeen Eolis;
Graphic Caption: Wen Eolis, who makes her living as a consultant to law firms in Manhattan is one of the top rated women in the poker world.