Poker Face

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But Gowen doesn't want to be the Anna Kournikova of the poker world--the pretty face who brings in the fellas, and maybe a few young women, and rakes in the sponsorship money but has nothing to prove her worth besides her looks. She's delighted that Keith Fleer is out there chasing down the mainstream money. She's delighted to have just signed a deal with FullTiltPoker.com, a new Web site due to launch during the World Series of Poker in May, where she will join Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Phil Ivey and other greats doling out advice and playing online games against subscribers to the site. She's delighted to have one of the Los Angeles card rooms courting her, hoping to land her as one of their representatives.

But if she doesn't win, be it at a table in a Dallas card room or at a WPT event in France or the World Series of Poker in Vegas, all of that other stuff won't mean anything. To the pros, she'll be a pretty face in the right place at the right time and nothing more. And to herself, Clonie Gowen will be someone who played the right hand the absolutely wrong way.

"Keith's ambitions for me, well, if that stuff happens, great," she says. "But my main goal is I want to play poker. If that other stuff happens, oh, it's wonderful. But bottom line is I am not an actress. It's always good to dream and have goals, but I didn't get into poker to become a famous whatever. I play poker to play poker. Sure, who wouldn't want a contract with Revlon? Who wouldn't want to be a spokesperson for some big company? It would be fabulous if it happened.

"But the bottom line is you better win, or you're going to have your critics that say the only reason why you got there is because you're good-looking, that you can't play a lick of poker. Any time that you are attractive and a woman, you better win. You better win."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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