EPT11 Malta: The inimitable Kitty Kuo
Not many people sit with a McDonalds bag in arm's reach and pull from it only sliced apple. No sign of a cheeseburger. No fries. No six pack of chicken McNuggets. Was it possible that Kitty Kuo had become the first person in history to walk into a McDonalds restaurant to just buy several bags of sliced apple, the stuff usually sold to parents trying to offset the salt levels in a Happy Meal?
"But it's very healthy!" she said. "I want to live a healthy life!"
Yes, it was possible.
But then this is Kitty Kuo, the confident, talented, sparkly poker player who sets her own standard whether at the poker table, in her personal life, or on twitter (which is a crazy combination of both). Nobody lives their life quite like her, because they couldn't if they tried. When was the last time you bought nothing but apple from a fast food chain?
Maybe that contributes a little to Kuo's good form right now, which follows a successful 2014.
Back then she recorded cashes in Italy, Monaco, the United States, Spain, Macau and Canada. It's a hint of her lifestyle, which these days involve living out of a suitcase rather than in her previous home of Las Vegas, or in her native Taiwan.
But despite spending so long on the road, and still enjoying the live poker lifestyle, it's online where Kuo is having the most fun these days. If players in the women's Sunday didn't realise how much fun the first time Kuo won that title, they did the second time. Any doubts were finally put to bed when she won it a third time a little more than a week ago. As Kuo put it on Twitter:
I won three times $55 sunday woman in one year,just too easy for kitty kuo pic.twitter.com/FfCZmDM2HD— kuo hui chen (@kittykuopoker) March 16, 2015
"That was a joke!" she said today. "I'm sorry! It's never easy."
You could put this down to confidence, but Kuo rarely seems to have a problem believing in herself -- few people who wear rings in the shape of cats, have their nails decorated with diamonds, and who wear watches that sparkle in the dark, ever do.
That extends to her phone too. The case has the words "Go your side" on it, a phrase that could one day enter the poker lexicon, it being Kuo's insistence that you leave her alone and stick to your side of the table.
Then there's Twitter, where Kuo is a minor legend for her forthright proclamations and apparent lack of inhibition. It's refreshing for some, terrifying for the guy who gets lucky against her in a tournament. But it's all part of the Kuo personality that makes her one of the most original characters on the tour.
She's not super human (although walking out of McDonalds without something greasy takes upper human strength in most books) and admits to moments where her confidence suffers, the same set-backs that every poker player must endure. But then Kuo is not one to let life and poker shape her. She prefers to keep it the other way around.
"When you lose your confidence you just need to study more, talk more, go through hands with your friends and I tried to find a new coach. I have a poker coach (Ryan Fee). I try to improve my poker skills to see what's going on."
Right now that's working in Malta. No doubt she left staff at the local golden arches in open-mouthed surprise as she paid for her bag of fruit this morning. If she plays to form she'll be getting a similar reaction from a few players by the end of this week.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.