I STARTED PLAYING POKER when I was about fifteen years old. I dated a boy in high school, and we would go to his house and play Texas hold ‘em and seven-card stud with his parents. We played every weekend, and his parents expected us to make good on our bets. I improved by playing at friends’ houses, and five years later I was making a profit at poker, supplementing my work as a travel agent in Dallas. It wasn’t until I went through a divorce that I started going to casinos in Shreveport to play on the weekends.
Now I’m playing on the World Poker Tour, plus I’m a spokesperson for an online poker site. I have an agent, a publicist—you name it, I’ve got it. I’m on TV a lot, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable on television; it’s hard to get used to the cameras. I worry about how I’m going to be perceived. When the World Poker Tour Ladies Night aired, I taped it and watched it fifteen times. Even though I ended up winning that night, I kept saying, “Oh, look! Oh, look!” I picked myself apart. It was the first time I had played all women, and it was the toughest game of my life, because they were the best in the world. Normally, if you are lucky enough to get to the final table, the players have different experience levels. But at Ladies Night there were no soft spots.
When I was younger, I thought I would play better if someone tested my patience. But ego and poker don’t go well together. I believe that. If your mind-set is “I’m so much better,” you rush situations. Or if you don’t like somebody, you just keep thinking, “I want to beat that one person,” and you rush it. Now when I sit at the