Jennifer Tilly Explains How Her Acting Career Helps Her Poker Game

As much as we love Jennifer Tilly the actress, it seems that her heart belongs elsewhere as of late. In 2005 Jennifer may have seemed out of her element when she took home the gold bracelet in the World Series of Poker Ladies No-Limit Hold’em event, but she would prove that she was no one-hit-wonder many times over throughout the following decade. She recently took some time off, but now she’s back and seemingly more confident than ever that she’ll win a second gold bracelet this summer.

In an interview with Card Player, Tilly spoke about her fellow poker enthusiast, and boyfriend Phil Laak, her ex-husband and co-creator of The Simpsons Sam Simon (who is recently undergoing chemo therapy for colorectal cancer) and how her acting abilities give her a leg up during poker tournaments.

When asked what it would mean to her to get a second gold bracelet before boyfriend, Phil Laak she replied; “We’re not super competitive that way. It would just be really nice if I could win a bracelet in an open event because I get people who are like, ‘Oh, she won a bracelet, but it was in the ladies event,’ and it’s like, well, I did beat out 600 runners, and a lot of ladies are very good players, but it would just be nice to win another one, and I feel like it’s going to happen—hopefully this summer.”

Jennifer Tilly Phil Laak

Jennifer Tilly Sam Simon

When asked about Sam Simon’s struggle with chemo; “He has tremendous spirit. The doctor gave him three to six months to live—he said, ‘Maybe longer with treatment, maybe two years.’ It’s been over a year and a half now. [Sam is] spending his time giving away money to animals—he’s traveling around the world,” explained the actress. “Honestly, I hope he lives another 30 years. His health is diminished and he’s in a lot of pain, but he never, ever complains—what an amazing man I married.”

When asked if her acting experience helps her at the poker table she explained; “I think the thing that acting and poker have in common is, in order to act optimally, you have to really be in a zone. If you’re in a zone, everything falls away. It’s just all about optimal performance, and that’s the same thing in poker. Everybody plays better when they’re in the zone. Being an actor in college, you have exercises to get you into that zone, so I can fall into a zone a lot more easily, perhaps, than a regular person. I think acting is believing, and when [I’m] acting convincingly, I’m really believing it in the moment. I can also, when I’m bluffing, make myself believe that I really have pocket aces, so I’m not exhibiting nervous ticks, or sweating—but I can be a lot more serene about it than the average person.”

The actress also talks about losing $6,000 in chips after seeing the Vegas show Absinthe and what she prefers, cash games or tournaments. One topic they didn’t get a chance to touch on is her involvement with the Curse Of Chucky sequel, is she going to reprise her role as Tiffany once again, or if it’s even official that there will be one. You can read the interview in it’s entirety HERE.

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