While many simply know her as “The Maxim Poker Girl,” Erin Ness is certainly more than just another pretty face. She has a respectable World Series of Poker finish under her belt, and she’s even went head-to-head with poker great David Williams. Even though she’s still leaning the game of poker, Erin Ness has a very bright future, and her tournament winnings are in excess of $20,000.
Born on October 12th, 1978, Erin Ness has been playing poker since she was a child. Growing up in Ocean Beach on the Jersey Shore, her family would spend hours playing hearts, gin rummy, war and poker. According to Ness, “I come from a card-playing family. When my brother and I used to get punished when we were growing up, usually for fighting, we’d get sent to our rooms. Then we’d open our doors and play poker between our doors.”
After high school, Ness headed to Washington, DC to pursue a degree from Georgetown University. She continued her love of poker at college, and she averaged three home games per week.
Erin Ness at Maxim
When she was done with college, Erin moved to New York and took a job as a photo assistant for Maxim Magazine. Then she received an email which would change her life. “I was at my desk in the photo department when an interoffice email popped up with the subject headline ‘Chance of a lifetime!’,” said Ness. “The message invited all employees to play in the company poker tournament with the winner getting an all-expenses-paid trip - including the $10,000 buy-in - to the 2004 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.”
Given her background in poker, Erin confidently entered the office tournament. To the surprise of many of her co-workers, the sweet brunette played like a woman possessed and captured the WSOP prize.
Erin Ness at the World Series of Poker
She traveled to Las Vegas to represent Maxim, and she ended up finishing in the money. Her 207th place finish was the third-highest by a female (Rose Richie finished 98th and Lucy Rokach finished 159th). A new poker celebrity was born on that day, and her name was Erin Ness.
After her surprise finish, Maxim published an article on Erin entitled “The River Queen.” The article detailed her success at the WSOP, and Ness seemed to be the only one who wasn’t surprised by her performance. “See, I’m a poker fanatic,” she said. “When I’m not playing it with friends or online, I’m watching it on television. For Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend even bought me Doyle Brunson’s Super System, known as “The Bible” to poker aficionados. So while I am decidedly no professional, I am certainly a student of the game.”
Erin later competed in the televised Poker Royale: Young Bloods on the Game Show Network. Competing against pros such as Erica Schoenberg, Mike Mizrachi, Michael Sandberg and David Williams, Ness once again surprised her opponents by making it to the final two. There, she took on David Williams in a head-to-head duel, and Ness held the chip lead for much of the showdown. While she eventually lost to Williams, her second place finish was still considered a huge success. GSN would later invite her back to compete in another tournament entitled Battle of the Ages.
Erin Ness - Current News
Following these performances, she was approached about being a member of Team Pokerstars. This impressive group of players included Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Wil Wheaton and Isabelle Mercier. While Ness is no longer a member of the group, she represented them well during her time there.
Currently, she still holds her job at Maxim and tries to fit in poker whenever she can. She’s been inactive on the tournament circuit for the past several years, but she’s still involved in cash games in the New York poker club scene.
In 2007, Ness was featured on the video game World Championship Poker 2 for the Playstation 2, PC, PSP and Xbox 360. She was included alongside such pros as Clonie Gowen, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, Thomas Bihl, Marcel Luske, Robert Williamson III and Paul Darden.