4 Sep

Canada’s Blackjack Beauty Monica Reeves

The multifarious and admirable talents of Canadian blackjack pro Monica Reeves.

Monica Reeves goes from model, to poker player, to blackjack pro, to full-time mom.

If you research professional blackjack players, you won’t find too many from Canada. In fact, the vast majority of them are from America – at least, the recognized ones are. Here in Canada, we’re better known for our poker prowess. That’s because poker players attain celebrity status once they rise high enough in the ranks, whereas a blackjack pro’s career is over the moment they gain fame.

Monica Reeves is an exception to this rule. Instead of counting cards to manipulate the house edge like most clandestine professionals, then writing books to brag about her skills and exploit her fame, Monica made her name in the blackjack tournament realm. Tournaments are a completely different format, wherein casinos managed to devise a 21 game that pits players against each other (just like poker), and guarantees a percentage-based cut of profits (just like rake).

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a closer look at who Monica Reeves is, and how she went from Oakville, Ontario’s academic girl-wonder, to one of the nation’s most beloved gambling aficionados.

Monica Reeves – Cards, Teeth and Modeling

Born in 1972, Monica grew up in a family where family game night was a cherished form of entertainment. As a young girl, she was taught everything from Go Fish to Five Card Draw. She also happened to be incredibly intelligent, receiving excellent marks throughout her school age years.

Her original dream was to go into dentistry. She earned a license as a dental hygienist, but shortly into that career, another industry came knocking. You see, along with a well-above average intellect, Reeves was also blessed with beauty. A tall blonde with full lips and a room-brightening smile, she was welcomed into the modeling industry with open arms, and Monica couldn’t resist the opportunity.

For the Love of Poker

As the years went by, Ms. Reeves never forgot her love of cards. Surprisingly, despite a highly successful modeling career, her confidence fell short of the poker felt. As much as she loved the game, and as sharp as her skills were, she simply couldn’t bring herself to enter the live circuit. To better prepare herself for the transition she so desired, Monica hired Canadian poker expert Jim Worth as a private tutor.

Monica spent the first nine months of 2005 with Worth, building a strategic foundation and honing her skills. That September, she entered her first live event, the APT Aruba Poker Classic. She would go on to finish 114th in that event for a score of $5,500; not bad for her first attempt against a field of 644. Although the payout only constituted $300 more than the buy-in, cashing in her first event gave her the confidence she needed to keep going.

The following spring, she finished 8th in the St. Maarten Spring Poker Showdown for $2,570. Two months later, she landed a 5th place score of $16,760 in a $1k NLHE event at the 2006 Bellagio Cup in Las Vegas. 2007 was another great year for the budding Canadian poker pro, where a trip of in-the-money finishes included a 2nd place $11,850 prize in the WPS Bahamas Poker Showdown.

With a career total of $40,160, Monica packed up her poker chips and left the tables for good after that event. Another opportunity was unraveling that she found much more interesting, and she decided to pursue it full-force.

Reeves Headlines the Ultimate Blackjack Tour

In September 2006, in the midst of all her live (and online, see below) poker success, Monica found herself intrigued by a new fork in the road. The Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT), a special elimination blackjack tournament series, was kicking off its very first season on CBS, and Monica was determined to be a part of it.

Blackjack was one of the games she loved most growing up, and one she had an inherently strategic affinity for. That much was evident from the moment she joined the UBT. In the show’s fourth tournament, Reeves conquered the competition, earning herself a spot in the first UBT Tournament of Champions, where she would go on to finish 7th. In the meantime, she finished runner up – just ahead of Hollywood celeb and poker mistress Jennifer Tilly – in the UBT Ladies Night event.

In Season 2, Monica returned to the 21 tables where she finished 3rd in Tournament 6. The Ultimate Blackjack Tour was canceled weeks later, bringing an end to our Canadian blackjack pro’s televised career.

Monica the “Mucker” on the Virtual Felt

Backing up a bit, part of Reeves initial poker training in 2005 was to practice her game at internet poker rooms. She joined UltimateBet (UB) under the alias “Mucker” in early 2006 and started grinding the low-stakes ring games right away. While her prevalence on the virtual felt went unrecorded in the cash circuit, her tournament prowess has been tracked since that first online poker tournament win in October of 2006, when she finished 9th in a UB $40k GTD for $900.

Former UB Team Pro Monica Reeves

It didn’t take long for the smart and sexy felt-grinder to gain the attention of UB management, who immediately offered her a sponsorship deal to promote the brand. Monica the Mucker continued to cash consistently in online poker tournaments, mostly as Mucker on UB. She also found some success at the tables of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, both under the similar moniker “Muckersilly”.

Reeves was racking up dollar signs right up until January of 2008, when she unofficially retired from the live and virtual tables. By that time, she had two young children, and all of her card-based career choices required a great deal of traveling. Monica was ready to settle down and focus on family, and that’s exactly what she did.

It wasn’t until 2013 that Muckersilly reappeared on PokerStars, joining in the occasional $5 tournament. She cashed in these events a few times in 2013, again in 2014, and continued to show up on the online poker radar several more times in 2015 and 2016. Then in February and March of 2019, Reeves showed up again, collecting small, 2-figure cashes in $4 events.

To date, Monica has landed in the money in 49 online poker tournaments, racking up $14,654 in winnings. Based on her performance over the last six years, it’s evident she isn’t pursuing a professional poker career whatsoever; choosing to play for small stakes as an entertaining pastime. Whether Monica Reeves blackjack career is still underway is impossible to say, since such activities are not tracked like poker games.

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