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WSOP 2011: Moreira de Melo a natural in her new game of choice

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"I can't look up pictures of Fatima Moreira de Melo at home because I'm afraid my wife will walk in."

So said my colleague Brad Willis, speaking on behalf of many men who have at some point tried to look up biographical details about this new player on the poker circuit, only to find themselves looking at a snake, hockey sticks and then at the snake again.

To provide the short version, Moreira de Melo is an international hockey star, winner of Olympic gold (Beijing - 2008), silver (Athens - 2004) and bronze (Sydney - 2000) medals, is a former Sportswoman of the Year, a singer, TV presenter and the new face of an advertising campaign. She's used to getting her picture taken, and now there's that snake again.

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Moreira de Melo on EPT duty

Now Moreira de Melo (who also earned her Masters degree in Law in 2006) has turned her attention to poker. As a Team PokerStars SportStar Moreira de Melo took to the PokerStars European Poker Tour road show with aplomb, playing the game with an infectious enthusiasm that typically has her smiling for the first few levels of the day.

Lately that enthusiasm has turned to results, with deep runs at the EPTs in the Alps, Berlin and Madrid, with four WSOP cashes and several deep runs in side events to boot, taking her earnings up to more than $170,000.

Today she continues on the vein of form she locked into late in season seven of the EPT. As the tournament field contracts Moreira de Melo sits on 40,000. She'll have to play the game of her life to win this one, with countless obstacles along the way, but the competitive spirit is there, just as it was on the hockey pitch.

Here's how things went when she talked to Sarah Grant for PokerStars TV. No snakes, but plenty to send the imagination into free fall.


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JUNGLE ANIMALS MENTIONED IN THE BLOG COVERAGE TODAY
An elephant, a gorilla and a snake.

OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"He's rich. What does he care?"

DOUBLE-UP OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth was down to his last 4,000 chips. He got them all in from the big blind with J♥J♣ against 8♦2♦. Though his opponent flopped a deuce, that was as bad as it got and Ainsworth will be sticking around for a bit.

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION OF THE HOUR
Maria Ho's sponsor patch, once glued to her supple, bare arm, now hanging half-off.

LOST PROP BET OF THE HOUR
The gentleman in the orange section wearing snow white dress, wig, make-up... and apple.

TEAM POKERSTARS PRO BUST OUT OF THE HOUR
Vanessa Selbst, having struggled to get going all day and being forced to lay down her hands, finally pushed with top pair but was up against a set.

FORMER WSOP CHAMPS OF THE HOUR
Johnny Chan stands as the last surviving former WSOP champion today. He's on around 34,000.

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