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Jennifer TillyWith the recent establishing of the World Poker Ladies Tour (WPT L), which I spoke about in my Wednesday article, I thought I would begin my new “Hottie of the Week” post with a WPT winner, an advocate of women’s-only poker events, and a member of the Queen of Hearts Women’s Team, Jennifer Tilly.

Jennifer was born September 16th, 1958 (yeah she is pretty damn hot for 49) in Harbor City, CA, but was raised by her mother (where Tilly comes from) and step-father in British Colombia, Canada. She is probably still best known as an actress, a career she began in 1983 with small movie and television roles.  But, in 2005, she won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Ladies Hold’Em event, and shortly after won a WPT Ladies Event at the Bicycle Casino, which vaulted her into a more elite poker status.  Known as “The Unabombshell”, a nickname given to her for her looks as well as her relationship with Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, she continues to make a bomb-sized impact on the poker world as a force to be reckoned with at the table.

As an actress, imdb.com credits Tilly with 91 different movie and TV roles. She is probably best known for her Oscar nominated role alongside John Cusack in “Bullets Over Broadway”, but she has been further nominated for two MTV movie awards in movies such as “Bride of Chucky”, and you also may recognize her as the voice of Bonnie Swanson on “Family Guy”.  Clearly a good actress, she uses her on-screen talents to supplement her poker skill.

According to her WPT profile, Tilly became interested in poker after her role in the 1989 film “Let It Ride”.  In 2003, she was invited to a WPT Invitational at Commerce Casino, where she met poker pro Phil Laak.  Under his guidance, she quickly developed her skills, leading to her 2005 victories. Although she still acts, she said in a pokerlistings.com 2007 interview with Sarah Polson that she now dedicates “88 percent of her time to poker and 12 percent to acting”.  She even had a movie, which was supposed to be filmed in mid-June this last year, pushed back so she could focus on the WSOP, where she continues to perform well, and in more than just the Ladies Event.

On the topic of ladies-only poker, Jennifer, although more than capable of playing with the boys, in response to Polson’s question, in the afore mentioned interview, of “Do you think more ladies only things like this [Queen of Hearts] and the WSOP event would help get more women into poker?”, says “Absolutely”.  Tilly continues by weighing-in on the benefits of women’s tournaments, “When I started dating Phil, I did not actually go to a casino to play for about eight months because I was really scared. I mean, you go in and see all the guys and they’re all rough and tough. They have their tattoos and you know, their John Deere hats on, and it’s really scary for a woman to sit down in that situation. But now all the poker rooms are having ladies tournaments, and it’s less threatening playing with other women. And let me tell you, a lot of these girls really, really play. I think a lot of times, people will start out at a women’s tournament and when they realize there’s nothing to be afraid of they’ll cross over to the regular tournaments”. Jennifer is also a member of a ladies poker team called Queen of Hearts, founded by Lisa Tenner, dedicated to raising money for the American Heart Association and, in addition, this past year, for the Nevada Cancer Institute.  So, in terms of women’s poker, Jennifer seems to be all-in (sorry for that ridiculous cliche, it’s a tribute to the girl who interviewed ISF http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=71799).

It could be easy to get distracted at the poker table by Jennifer’s, um, assets, but don’t be fooled, she could take your money wearing a hoodie as well.  As time passes she continues to dedicate more time to poker and I don’t think anyone at the table minds, at least money would rather be lost to her than Jamie Gold!  For only being really focused on poker for four years, I think she is doing a damn good job; keep on the look out for this up-and-coming stunner in the near future.  I think that we can all agree that Jennifer’s poker prowess combined with her jaw-dropping appearance make her more-than-worthy of the “Poker Hottie of the Week”, week one title.