Woman of Poker Interview with Pro Player Gillian Epp

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PokerPinups caught up with professional playing woman of poker Gillian Epp, read her top WSOP tips and find out what she’s been up to as part of the IveyPoker team…She’s not just a pretty face!



Can you tell us how you first got into playing poker and how you decided to become a professional poker player? Woman of poker.

I started playing poker while traveling in Asia. I’ve always loved card games and poker became a nightly ritual between myself and the other backpackers. Turning Pro wasn’t so much a decision but more a gradual progression. At some point I was traveling so much and playing so much poker, that it didn’t make sense to continue working. Woman of poker.

You’re a part of the IveyPoker Team, would you like to tell us a bit more about that and what you’re up to at the moment?

IveyPoker is a new Social Media site that will change poker. If you’ve ever played Free-money poker, you understand that when players have nothing to gain or lose, they are not going to play optimally. So Phil Ivey, wanted to develop a community where everyone can learn to play optimal poker without risking money in the process. Ivey has put together a team of incredibly accomplished poker players, with the goal of teaching the world to play better poker. I’m very excited about the launch, and the affect this game will have on the Poker World.

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far as a poker player and what ambitions do you still want to fulfil?

I hope my biggest achievement is yet to come. I don’t play many tournaments because I don’t like the long hours, big swings and heart break that comes with tournament poker. But even cash players dream of winning the WSOP Main Event! Woman of poker.

A monumental occasion for me, was when I realized I had something to offer the poker world. The point when I was knowledgeable enough about the game and the math involved that I was hypothesizing and discovering concepts that didn’t have any literature on them. I was no longer just stealing other people’s thoughts and genius, but now I was coming up with my own theories and teaching them to my peers to help them improve their game.

Can you run us through one of your favourite hands at the WSOP so far in your career? 

WSOP is my most profitable time of year, the reasons are: A. I’m predominately a cash player, so I don’t lose big sums of money on buy-ins. B. Average Joes and Hollywood celebrities come out and test their luck.

Some of my favorite hands have been against celebrities, because they make me laugh and remember that poker is a game and games are fun.

What are your views on the final for the main event being seperated to later in the year? 

The move to delay the final table was brilliant. It solves a large problem production faced when trying to make televised poker appeal to the masses. The problem they faced was; for the general public, poker is incredibly boring to watch live. However, if the programme is not live the suspense and excitement of who is going to win, is non existent.

The way the coverage is now, the audience develops a relationships and connections to the players, learning about how they got to where they are. By the time the Final Table plays out, we’ve met, visited and learned about these lucky nine players.

Do you stay for the full month and half usually and how do you pick and choose the events you enter. 

I’m usually there for at least a month, but I do fly back and forth. Every poker friend I have is in Vegas for the summer and I love to see them, but this can lead to me not getting much sleep or relaxing time. So I like to escape Vegas to refocus and rejuvenate a few times, before big events.

What are your top 3 WSOP tips for a newbie? 

WSOP is an incredible time of year. Every player needs to experience the energy and the crowds of WSOP at least once in their life.

Tip #1 Before arriving at the Rio, it’s important to set intention. It’s easy to get distracted by Vegas, which is fine, but don’t lose your bankroll because you made poor decisions. There’s always satellites running during WSOP, which can be very profitable and allow almost any bankroll experience what the WSOP is.

Tip #2 Stay Healthy. Nothing can ruin the series like being sick the entire trip and given that poker chips are even filthier than cash and you’re surrounded by thousands of people, breathing recycled air, illness can run ramped. I wash my hands constantly, avoid shaking peoples hands, never eat at the poker table, get fresh air on every break, spend a lot of time working out and in the steam room and drink tons of water. It’s the desert after all! Women of poker.

Tip #3 Have fun. Busting out of the main event, is the worst day of the year for every poker player and almost all of us have to experience it. It’s important to understand this is the nature of tournament poker and remember, how fortunate we are to be able to play a game we love with thousands of other players from all over the world. After getting knocked out, let yourself grieve for a short time, then move on and try to enjoy Vegas.

Do you think attitudes towards women poker players are changing and what advice would you give to women starting out in poker?

Now, more than ever is a women’s time in poker. We have plenty of opportunity resources and female players to look up to. The first time sitting at a poker table can be daunting especially for a woman of poker at a table full of men, but the truth is there’s nothing in the male DNA that makes them better at poker just because they are male. Do your research, work hard on your game, so when you sit down you’re confident to judge players by their skill level and not their gender.

What poker players do you look up to and what’s the best advice you’ve been given?

I really admire Doyle Brunson. He’s a very fascinating individual, a risk taker, and the fact that he’s still successful at poker, proves how incredibly good he is at poker and adapting. Plus, I love to hear old stories, about Binions, Old Vegas and the underground world, poker use to be.

Jesse Silvia, 2012 WSOP Main-Event runner up, once told me life is one long poker session. I think of this when I’m having a down day and try not to let a losing session affect me emotionally. Woman of poker.

How would you describe your style and approach to poker?

I work hard at poker. I find people too often underestimate the work required to be a successful player. I approach poker the way a professional athlete approaches their sport, I train and work on my game daily.  My style is very player and table dependent, which can be difficult for my opponents to adapt to, but allows me to play many different styles and optimize my play to my surroundings.

Woman of poker.

Thanks so much for talking to PokerPinups Gillian and all the best of luck for WSOP!


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