Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Carmen and the Bolt of Lightning

There is sadness among many old time poker bloggers today as word has spread that Carmen Cincotta aka CarmenSinCity aka PokerGirlInVegas passed away. At the height of the poker blogging craze, Carmen's blog was a regular stop for news about Las Vegas, the poker world and fashion. She will be missed by the many people she touched.

Back in 2006 and 2007, I was an avid reader of Carmen's blog. She posted many pictures of herself and had quite a following as Carmen was very attractive. I knew that she sometimes played poker at MGM in Las Vegas, so on a trip there in February 2007, I went to play at MGM with the hope of meeting Carmen in person. Much to my surprise, she was there. And wow -- was she a knockout! As luck would have it, I was seated at her table -- right next to her. I decided to have a little fun with her and acted like I was brand new to poker and asked her if she could give me some tips on playing. She wrote a great recap of our meeting from her perspective, but unfortunately she gave up her blog and the blog address has been taken by someone else. She described how she was licking her lips, anticipating stealing the roll of this poor stooge who wandered into the MGM poker room.

Carmen had seen pictures of me and thought I looked familiar, but she didn't recognize me. When I felt like I had put her on long enough, I decided to reveal who I was. The conversation went something like this ...

Me:  Well, even though I am new to the game, sometimes I hit with a large force.
C:     crickets
Me:  Sometimes that force is powerful, like a bolt of lightning.
C:    crickets
Me:  I SAID "LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING."
C:    crickets, but a puzzled look
Me:  LIKE LIGHTNING36!

Yes -- she finally got it! She smiled and gave me a hug. We talked for a little bit, and soon afterward she left with her buddy, Miami Don.

Most of the poker bloggers were aware of her substance abuse issues and legal troubles over a number of years. She was very open about her life in her blog. From what she told me, she had a great job working in or around Baltimore/Washington DC. Work was fueled from the top down with alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, one day the job and party got busted and she was out of a great job. It seemed like her life never really got back on track after that.

I remember seeing her one year at the annual World Poker Blogger Tournament (WPBT) traditionally held in Las Vegas at the beginning of December. I could not believe my eyes. This drop-dead gorgeous woman I had previously known looked old and shriveled up. The drugs had been taking their toll. It was depressing to see.

Carmen faded from sight as her legal woes mounted and blogging seemed to be yesterday's news. However, as far as I know, she seemed to be doing better the past year or so. I tried reaching out to her a time or two, but got little response. I always hoped that she really got her life back on track.

The annual WPBT is right around the corner -- the first weekend in December in Las Vegas. I am sure that those in attendance will speak and think fondly of a woman who left this earth much too soon.

R.I.P Carmen.


P.S.  If anyone of the poker blogger community wishes to share a story or a memory of Carmen in the comments, please feel free to do so.

16 Comments:

Blogger Cokeboy99 said...

Well said. I never met Carden but we did interact on twitter. I will miss her humor. RIP Carmen.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Alysia Chang said...

Beautiful tribute! Never met her but she seemed pretty classy and had her whole life in front of her. Very sad to hear of her passing. R.I.P. Carmen

4:12 PM  
Blogger Pokerdogg said...

That is sad news. I read her blog a few years ago, may have even commented once or twice. Always thought she was very bright, but caught in a vicious cycle she can't get out of. I thought she finally managed to get straight and stopped blogging to start a new life. Do you have any details what happened? Is this conformed?

4:43 PM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

This is very sad news. I met her at some of the earlier WPBT get-togethers, though I never really got to know her well.

R.I.P. Carmen.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Tony Bigcharles said...

its definitely confirmed she ended her blog due to not wanting her new employers to see it, she told me this herself in private text and facebook messages. she never once went back to drugs.

this is very sad as its the 2nd women ive known online who died recently, the first being cindy capelle also on my facebook friends list.

the one women who wouldve actually hung out and played poker if i went back to vegas, (other women friends u know in vegas wont) and not only that she confessed privately to me via cell phone text she was most definitely "not a democrat" so i felt like she and i got along.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Nice tribute.

I loved the story of how you tricked her when you found yourself sitting next to her. I'm impressed you were able to pull that off. I know I never could have.

I never met her, but we did interact a bit when she briefly revived her blog and then on Twitter. Very good wit.

She liked to play MGM, huh? Well, our paths must have crossed at some point there, then. Of course in those days I was a 2/4 player and the limit games were on the other side of the room but still, I'm sure we would have been pretty much in the same place at the same time at some point.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Sad to hear.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to hear...Really thought she was making good progress in the right direction. She had several recent very witty tweets.
Her blog was among the most interesting when she was an active poster, and she will be missed more than she knew.

1:34 AM  
OpenID 8f66f108-a035-11e3-9d50-000bcdcb2996 said...

Very sad news. I never knew her outside of the Poker table but playing with her was always fun, back in the day she was great eye candy and more recently she was simply hilarious.

MIV

11:45 PM  
Blogger Chris Bellissimo said...

I've known Carmen for over 15 years. She was a good person and a GREAT friend. She would do anything for the people she loved.
This especially tears me apart because she was on her way to getting clean. She was over it and coming back to Florida with me for treatment. I arrived here in Vegas and she died the very next day. She was just doing enough not to be sick but her little body hit it limits. I'm literally devastated.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Chris Bellissimo said...

Thank you for posting this tribute. Your info is pretty much spot on too. People in addiction can learn from this.....It takes more then wanting to be clean, you have to put in the work and act. She was so close. Her last text message to me is heartbreaking: Chris I'm so sick I don't feel well at all I've been in bed all day. I just did a small amount to get well but it made me worse. I'm so over all this. I can't wait to see you and get out of here to treatment.

4:04 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Chris, thanks for sharing. It is just so sad that drugs had such a grip over her. Even spending time in prison apparently wasn't enough for her to get past her addiction. She was fortunate to have friends like you. It is just a shame that she wasn't able to help herself more.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Roni said...

Wow this just truly breaks my heart, I've known Carmen for almost 4 years in fact we met in the Salvation Army rehab. I really thought she would get it, I saw the amazing support from her parents who I know have to be devastated beyond words. It just seems so unreal. I believe in my heart that she wanted to get clean so damn bad but just couldn't do it. I'm so beyond sad.

3:44 AM  
OpenID tjswoboda said...

So sorry to hear this... I came across Carmen's blog a few years ago, and read everything she posted until she took it down. I added her on Twitter, and she reciprocated, though we never communicated beyond that. I've been dropping by her Facebook page, since it's open/public, to see what's going on and just now saw the news. My condolences go out to to the many people who knew Carmen; may she rest well.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Sari said...

Carmen was a dear friend of mine for the past 8 years although communication came and went after I moved from Vegas. She was a bright, funny and honest woman. She never tried to be something she wasn't and she is dearly missed. I have spoken to her parents several times and they loved and supported her until her final hours. I pray her heart and soul have found a piece she was not able to find here on earth.

12:30 AM  
Blogger FleaStiff said...

I've just now heard of her death. I often tried to act as her moral compass and gave her advice. She always wondered who I was and kept asking me if I lived in Vegas and how I knew so much about her.
She made one mistake as a teenager, and she spent a long time dying from that mistake. Never took drugs until after she lost the job she cherished. She often kept up with her former coworkers, even telling one of them "Tell me everything you can, I'll cry for two weeks once you leave, but I won't cry now".
She lived in a world where "just one mistake" is not allowed and it cost her the rest of her life. I too made just one mistake in a world that allows none. I knew her daily anguish very well even though we never met.

9:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home