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Maria Lampropulos: ‘Can’t Imagine Winning’ First World Series Of Poker Bracelet

by Brian Pempus |  Published: Mar 14, 2018


In January, Maria Lampropulos was the last player standing in the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $10,300 no-limit hold’em main event. She added $1.08 million to her career tournament earnings, putting her in the top 10 on the women’s all-time money list.

It was the second seven-figure score for the 36-year-old in the past nine months. Lampropulos won $1.28 million in April 2017 at the partypoker Millions Nottingham. She outlasted more than 1,200 players in the £5,300 no-limit hold’em event. She beat a 582-player field at the PCA.

The scores brought the Argentinian’s career earnings to $2.8 million, moving her past poker greats Maria Ho, Loni Harwood and Jennifer Harman on the list of the top female earners in poker history. Vanessa Selbst, who recently announced her retirement from pro status, leads with $11.8 million, which is nearly double the nearest competitor.

Lampropoulos said she doesn’t monitor the all-time money list, but she acknowledges the value in continuously adding to your poker resume. “Climbing [the rankings] is always important,” Lampropoulos said. “Poker is a passion for me, so climbing something that you enjoy so much is wonderful.”

Lampropoulos’ win at the PCA was a first in the event’s long and storied history. The tournament had never had a female champion. “It is special for women, and also for me,” Lampropoulos said. “They feel very proud, they let me know, and this makes me so happy.”

Being the first female winner wasn’t her goal, however. She was just trying to get past an elite group of players at the final table. “The experience winning the PCA is hard to believe,” she said. “It is a dream. It was really amazing. The final table was extremely tough with players with a lot of experience and talent.” Joining her at the end were the likes of Shawn Buchanan and Adrian Mateos.

Lampropoulos first discovered poker by watching her brother play with play money over the internet. “He excitedly called me saying, ‘You should come look at this,’” Lampropoulos remembers. Her impressive career earnings have all come since 2014, so her game has evolved greatly in a short period of time.“I think I have improved a lot, but perhaps not (laughs),” Lampropoulos said. “I have too much to learn, I know that. Poker seems to be easy, but it could be so complicated at the same time. There are many variables to be considered.”

She credits her boyfriend, WSOP bracelet winner Ivan Luca, with helping her reach the level of play she’s at today. Lampropoulos said watching Luca play at final tables has been an invaluable learning tool.

“Regardless of [gender], I admire so many of the professional players,” Lampropoulos said. “Glorious careers, a lot of experience, excellent scores. They make big efforts to get what they want. So I am grateful to be involved with this industry. It is a privilege, also a pleasure, playing with them.”

However, her motivation at the felt extends beyond money and perfecting her craft. Though she lives in the United Kingdom, her nationality and ancestry are extremely important to her. “I was born in Argentina and my nationality is Greek, so I feel that I am representing both countries at the same time. I have a lot of Argentinian friends and also family from there. And my grandparents were from Greece. Many Greeks feel very glad and proud of this, and they usually let me know about it. I appreciate the Greek community a lot as well.”

Her recent success at the tables has her eyeing a bracelet at the upcoming WSOP in Las Vegas. Despite the tournament titles she has so far, Lampropoulos still has a hard time picturing herself with a coveted bracelet.

“I am looking forward to playing the WSOP,” she said. “I hope to play as many tournaments as I can. Winning a bracelet would mean too much for me. My boyfriend has won one, and I remember that day as a wonderful one. I can’t imagine winning mine yet, but I will try. Visualizing is so essential.”