If you don’t know Jennifer Tilly as a brilliant poker player, you can definitely recognize her as an actress from numerous movies we all love and cherish. In fact, she was already an actress when she walked into her first casino. Remembering that experience, Jennifer tells that she was quite afraid to go there by her own because casinos are undoubtedly dominated by men. That’s why she joined Phil Laak - another outstanding poker player.
For the first time, Tilly wasn’t playing for money. She loved the game instantly and had quite other goals there. In movies, Tilly played not so highly intellectual women - not that they were dumb, no. They were rather average. But in the poker game, Jennifer finally had a chance to show how smart and logical she is.
Just look at her achievements. In June 2005 she won a WSOP bracelet and $158 thousand in the Ladies’ No-Limit Texas Hold’em. To do that she had to outlast six hundred other players, and she succeeded with this task. In the same year in September, she won the third World Poker our Ladies Invitational Tournament.
Today, Tilly shifted to the poker scene choosing the game over the acting career. She appeared in popular TV shows about poker and was nominated for PokerListings Spirit of Poker Living Legend award in 2014. But interestingly enough, it was a movie that made her get involved in poker. In 1989 she got a role in “Let it Ride”, and as she was acting, she found the game more and more fascinating. Thus, once the production of the movie was over, Jennifer became a usual member in home games with friends and her husband at that time.
Later, when she got a divorce, she started the relationship with Phil Laak, who helped her enter the professional scene. And thanks to brilliant and frequent wins in tournaments. Jennifer became the first celebrity who dominated the poker community and won a World Series event.
Such a successful track made many people think that it’s the pure luck behind Tilly’s winnings. But once she managed to beat the poker professionals Isabelle Mercier and Cecelia Mortensen, all the doubts evaporated. Jennifer is indeed a talented and skilled player that has much more than sole luck.
Until today, Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak remain one of the most well-known and successful couples in the poker community. They regularly attend the World Series of Poker each summer, and other major poker events. Also, they are frequently seen in TV programs and televised games.
In her interviews, Jennifer says that she wants to be remembered as an outstanding poker player rather than an actress. As she is asked what is she thinking about women in the poker scene, she replies that she doesn’t really think that someone says that Tilly, in particular, was the inspiration and motivation to move forward. Jennifer says that there are many female players, but they prefer to stay in ladies tournaments. But she believes that the more women will enter open tournaments, the more female players will think, “If she can do that, I can do that, too”. Therefore, Tilly chases the goal to prove everyone she is a truly good player, not some kind of lucky anomaly.