ESPN The Magazine Features Semi-Nude Poker Pros
Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Scotty Nguyen Featured
“Yikes,” said Jennifer Harman when she was reminded that ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue hits newsstands today.
Harman, who has made a very successful living concealing her emotions at the poker table, revealed quite a bit of herself when she and three other poker pros participated in a special edition of the popular sports magazine. (See the photo at the bottom of this article.)
“We’ve always been committed to showing fans a different side of the sports and athletes they love,” said Gary Belsky, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine. “This issue, from the amazing photos to the innovative journalism, is just our latest effort to do that. We’re very happy with the results.”
Nearly 80 athletes participated in various photo shoots that took competitors from virtually every corner of the sports world — from all the mainstream sports to bull riding to NASCAR to sumo wrestling to surfing to, yes, even poker.
The competitors were asked to remove either most or all of their clothing to pose for some arguably risqué photos. However, the Disney-owned magazine was careful to make sure there wasn’t too much revealed in any picture, thanks to some skillful camera angles and clever props.
Selecting representatives for the poker community was an easy task for ESPN.
“We were looking for big names and you can’t really get bigger names than those,” Belsky told Card Player.
Harman admits she was a little nervous when first approached with the concept.
“I got a phone call from one of my friends at ESPN,” said Harman. “He said that it was going to be a good shot and that it would be done with a lot of class.”
So, Harman accepted. As did Kid Poker, the Poker Brat, and the Prince of Poker.
Negreanu admitted that he declined twice before finally agreeing to do the photo shoot. But once he found out who was — and who wasn’t — participating in the shoot, he got on board.
“It’s not like they were going to have Patrik Antonius or Gus (Hansen) there,” said Negreaun. “I said, ‘I can fit in with this group.’”
The significance of having a co-ed photo shoot for the magazine was not lost on ESPN’s editors.
“This was the only co-ed photo shoot we did for the magazine, so that’s huge,” said Sarah Turcotte, the general editor for ESPN who worked on that particular photo shoot. “To go topless in front of your competitors, that’s tough…But the other players immensely respected Jennifer going into it, having already competed with her in high-stakes poker games.”
The entire photo shoot took about two hours, according to Turcotte.
“The atmosphere was pretty laid back, pretty easy going, a lot of laughing going on,” said Harman. “I felt comfortable. I’ve known these guys forever.”
The high-stakes cash games player says that poker’s inclusion in a magazine issue like this shows just how far the game has come over the years.
While Harman was clearly a little anxious about the photos, she says that she didn’t think much about being the only woman to participate in a co-ed shot for the magazine.
“I didn’t really give it much though because poker is a co-ed sport. It’s not gender-oriented,” said Harman. “Women and men can play poker with the same abilities. I’m not trying to be the best woman poker player in the world; I’m trying to beat the men and the women.”
As for Negreanu, he said the actual experience wasn’t bad at all.
“I worked out (beforehand). I had a nice tan going,” said Negreanu. “I sucked my belly in, and I was good to go.”
The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine hits newsstands today.
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