While Jennifer Tilly may always be best known for her extensive acting career, including an Academy Award nominated performance in Woody Allen's 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway, Jennifer Tilly is also a dedicated and ambitious professional poker player
. Nicknamed the "Unabombshell" for her relationship with fellow poker pro Phil Laak, the WSOP bracelet winner has been privileged to a first-hand education in advanced poker strategy
by some of the best poker players in the world.
Born Jennifer Chan in 1958, after her parents divorce five years later, Jennifer and her siblings moved with her mother to Canada. Also a talented writer - as those who follow her monthly column at Bluff Magazine have discovered - Jennifer helped pay her way through Missouri's Stephens College theater program with money she earned winning writing competitions.
Taking her mother's maiden name for her acting career, Jennifer Tilly's first spark of interest in poker came with a 1989 role in the movie Let it Ride, a comedy about gambling. After filming, Tilly began participating in home poker games
, then moved on to casino poker tournaments
. It was at a WPT invitational tournament at the Commerce Casino that Jennifer Tilly met Phil Laak, who she eventually began dating and learning some of the finer points of poker from.
Soon Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak
were traveling the poker tournament circuit together. In 2005, Jennifer Tilly claimed her first World Series of Poker bracelet in the Ladies No Limit Hold'em event, outlasting a field of 600 players, to become the first celebrity to earn the coveted award. Thrilled about her prestigious victory, Tilly announced to the poker media that winning the gold bracelet was, "better than an Oscar".
Two months after claiming the WSOP bracelet, Jennifer went on to confirm that her win was more than just a fluke. Winning the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational, held at the Bicycle Casino, Jennifer Tilly's hard work to strengthen her poker skills was paying off on the tournament scene.
In addition to following the live poker tournament trail, Jennifer Tilly is also an avid cash game player and online poker
multi-tabler. As of Jennifer Tilly's July 9, 2010 win at the Bellagio Cup VI / WPT Season 9 $5,000+$180 No Limit Hold'em event, her live tournament winnings totaled $565,863 from 17 cashes, with 3 first place wins.