What do you do if you’re an SDSU grad student, find yourself at a Playboy party, and wind up on the cover of the mag? If you’re Alison Waite, May 2006 Playmate of the Month, you ride that train as far as you can. In her case, it’s led to jobs as a World Poker Tour hostess, a Deal or No Deal babe and her current gig, as one of three Playboy Bunnies repping the Macanudo Millionaire Contest. When we met up at NYC’s Club Macanudo, we asked her about all cigars, poker and what it takes to win over really hot women. Naturally.

MADE MAN: What’s your first impression of a guy who knows how to handle a cigar?
ALISON WAITE: I think it’s very attractive. I like a manly man, and it’s sexy when a guy knows how to cut it and light it up. It shows he’s confident and knows what he’s doing.

MM: What should we look for in a good cigar?
AW: Besides it saying Macanudo on it? The paper should be flawless and uniform in color, it should be rolled tightly, and when you squeeze it, make sure it feels firm throughout (laughs).

MM: So what’s the story with this contest?
AW: You go to macanudomillionaire.com and tell us the ultimate Macanudo moment you’ve had smoking cigars with your friends. The winner gets a trip to Vegas with three friends, stays at the Palms Casino, hangs out with me and two other playmates at the Playboy Club, and has a chance to win a million dollars on one hand of poker. Oh, and if you win the million, you have to buy me a pair of shoes!

MM: Any poker advice from your time hosting the WPT?
AW: My best tips I’m saving for the winner. But I’d say, don’t feel like you have to play every hand. People think they gotta be a part of all the action, and sometimes it’s better to sit it out. Also, be confident. But that’s for everything in life—playing poker, getting girls…

MM: Speaking of, what’s the best way to get your attention?
AW: Just come up and introduce yourself. Be polite, be nice, be yourself.

MM: Be yourself, really?
AW: Yeah, we can see through the bullsh**. Wait for the signal, though. If I can tell that you’re looking over, and I’m not interested, I’m not gonna lock eyes. But if I want you to come over, I’ll look over a couple times. That’s the green light. Just don’t be cheesy, don’t be douchey.

MM: Do you think a guy’s odds are better at a bar or club or at, say, a grocery store or farmers’ market?
AW: It depends on the girl and the timing…and the guy. If there’s an interest there, that instant connection. In a bar you are probably expecting it more, and, also, cocktails play a big role.

MM: What are deal-breaking behaviors?
AW: Nothing makes me madder than when guys go, “Why aren’t you smiling?” Because I’m walking. If we wanna smile, we’ll smile. Also, updating your Facebook status and Twitter every two minutes. Or if you’re always dropping names and talking about yourself. There’s a way to be on top of your sh** without having to tell me. You should ooze confidence.

MM: Is there something to be said for playing it cool, as opposed to showering a girl with compliments?
AW: Here’s what it is. I want a guy who has a backbone. I wanna know that I cannot walk all over you. Then there’s no challenge, it’s no fun. I’m not saying be a dick. But put me in my place a little. Like, if you ask how my day was, and I’m frustrated over something stupid, I want my guy to be like: “Really? You’re complaining about this? Shut up.” If I’m being ridiculous, tell me I’m being ridiculous. Don’t just tell me what I want to hear.

MM: So if you meet a guy and you’re not totally sure if he’s into you, and you feel like you have to earn it…
AW: Absolutely. Make me work for it a little bit. Nothing is more of a turnoff than when a guy doesn’t even know me, and he’s telling me how wonderful I am? I’m flawed. It’s nice if you think I’m pretty or what have you, but guys who are instantly into you, it’s too much. Just keep it real.