Jennifer Tilly is the kind of person who at first glance could annoy you if you weren’t so in awe of her. Before we even get to the poker, let’s talk about the other stuff: firstly she is an accomplished, academy award nominated actress and a quick glance at her filmography will tell you she’s no part-timer. Check it out, and this is just a sample: Hill St Blues, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Bullets Over Broadway – for which the Oscar nomination, Liar Liar and for me the crowning accomplishment……….voice over on Family Guy.
So back to the beginning then and she was born Jennifer Chan in Los Angeles in 1958 (Tilly is her mother’s maiden name), taken after her parent’s divorce. When she was a teenager she became interested in theatre and attended a program at a local college. In her mid-20s she started to win small roles and Hill St Blues was one of the first in which she was an occasional regular. However this site is about poker and we can move on some years and the year 2005 when she made her indelible mark on the world of poker and quite possibly propelled the game of women’s poker into the spotlight.
In that year the World Series of Poker held a ladies only No Limit Texas Hold’em competition featuring more then 600 female players. Tilly won the main event and a purse of almost $160,000. A few months later, in September, she followed this up by winning the Ladies Invitational Tournament of the World Poker Tour in Los Angeles. During this period she had said that poker was going to take priority over acting but by 2008 she was back to acting and poker was,she says, just a “hobby”.
She is still an occasional invitee to Pro-Am games (she’s the ‘Am’ now) but clearly a welcome addition to any competition. Her partner is fellow poker player Phil (The Unabomber) Laak and for this reasons she sometimes goes by the name Unabombshell.