Ashley’s Column — Perfecting My Poker Face

Circa 2010

The last couple of months have been pretty busy ones for me. I have been getting ready for my season to start while launching my new book, Kicking Up Dirt. As if that weren’t enough, I’ve also had to fulfill some sponsorship agreements. It is never dull around my house!  

I recently gave a motivational speech to the Arkansas School for the Deaf using my P3 Purple Notebook. It was really cool. A representative from Purple came to my house and set up my notebook for me. The school set up a big screen in an auditorium and I spoke to the students from my living room in Florida! It felt a little weird at first to look at my laptop and see a bunch of people staring back at me, but the whole experience turned out to be pretty fun! After my presentation, I received a box of gifts and a big thank you from the students. I really enjoyed those kids.

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At the end of April, my family and I flew up to the Harper Collins offices in New York for the release of Kicking Up Dirt. It was a whirlwind trip! I did two interviews with Fox News, an interview with Guidepost, and another with a Sirius Radio talk show. I talked with Women’s Health Magazine, did a Twitter interview with the Women’s Sports Foundation, and also had a book signing at the Harper Collins offices where I finally got the chance to meet everyone who had worked with me on the book.

Brittany Sharp, a friend of mine from Michigan, came to hang out with me in the few moments when we had some free time. A film crew from Fuel TV followed us around New York City to get some footage for an upcoming show. Believe me, it’s crazy to have a film crew following you around and telling you to act naturally! The crew was a fun group of guys, though, so it wasn’t all bad.

I had been to New York a few times, but this trip marked my friend’s and my brother’s first visit. My brother fell in love with the F.A.O. Schwartz toy store and must’ve bought about $300 worth of Legos.

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While we were bouncing around New York, the Red Bull crew held a poker party—a big, fun bash for Red Bull athletes. Brittany and I were supposed to just hang out for a while and watch my dad play poker with everybody. But to my surprise, everyone talked me into playing poker instead of my dad! I had never played poker before and had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately Brian Vickers, a Red Bull NASCAR driver, helped me out a little bit. When I first started playing, I really just wanted to hurry up and bail out and go back to the hotel room. A couple of times, I went “all in” just to get out of the game, but then I started to win! I decided I was having a good time after all, and was determined to keep playing for as long as I could! As I played, the tables of players kept getting smaller and smaller until, pretty soon, I was down to the last table. It was just me facing off against a couple of other people. In the end, I wound up winning the whole tournament! No one could believe it, including me! I guess it’s true what they say about beginner’s luck!

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