Interview by Crystal Osgood-Gray

Interview Found on LadiesPokerAssociation.com In 2005 I was sitting at a Ladies Event at the Commerce Casino and seated across from me was an attractive women playing perfect poker. She was so sweet and kind when I spoke to her that I was taken aback when I got into a hand with her. She not only check raised me in a hand, but in a later hand she slow played me perfectly when holding a straight to my two pair. I shot her a look that could kill and she just smiled back genuinely while raking in the pot.

Come to find out this woman was Chellie Campbell. She is not only a poker wiz but an Award-winning speaker and author. She helps people become successful at producing more income, managing their money, eliminating debt, and having more time to enjoy life! How great is that!!! She uses poker in her work as a metaphor for real life money management. Please check out her website www.chellie.com, I highly recommend it.

Recently the LPA sat down with her to find out about her strategies and philosophies regarding Life and Poker.

LPA: How did you learn to play poker?

I first learned to play poker when I was performing in a musical show at Walt Disney World back in the ’70s. A few of the guys in the cast were brown-bagging their lunch instead of going out to a restaurant with everyone else. I asked them why and they said they were playing poker. “What’s that?” I asked. “Brown-bag it tomorrow and we’ll show you,” they replied. So I did. The first day I watched, and the second day I won all their money. But when the show was over, I came back to Los Angeles and couldn’t find a game and was nervous about going to a casino, so I forgot about it. Until 1992, when a woman CPA I met through business told me about her once-a-month ladies poker night and invited me to come. I still play in that game and we all take excursions to Las Vegas together several times a year. When Hollywood Park Casino opened in 1995, I started playing there, and poker quickly became a regular past-time.

LPA: Tell us a little bit about your poker accomplishments in 2006?

Last year was a very busy year in my career as an author and speaker (my second book, Zero to Zillionaire, was released in the spring) so I didn’t play as much as usual. In 2005, I played in many tournaments, had eleven final tables, and finished first in the December Ladies event at Pechanga Casino in Temecula. In 2006, I finished first in the June Ladies event at Hawaiian Gardens. I also won the big end of a “Bad Beat Jackpot” in Omaha at the Bicycle Club in August for $11,800.

LPA: How often do you play?

I play in the $6-12 Omaha game or Hold’em at the Bike a couple of days a week when my schedule allows. Sometimes I don’t get out at all for weeks at a time.

LPA: Where do you play most often?

The Bicycle Club or wherever there is a tournament I want to play in, there or at Commerce, Hollywood Park, or Hawaiian Gardens.

LPA: What game(s) do you play?

Omaha High-Low is my favorite game because there are lots of possibilities to make hands. I like the risks and the action because it’s a drawing game – a “River” game as opposed to Hold’em, which is a “Flop” game. I’m lucky at drawing out, so the people I often play with started calling me “River Lady.”

LPA: Mostly Cash or Tournaments?

A mixture of both.

LPA: What adjustments, if any, have you made in your game that you can attribute to increased cashes?

Every time I play, I learn more about myself, my strengths and my foibles. As I win more money, I get more serious about not making rash plays and waiting for the right spots.

LPA: If you could give just one tip about how to win at No Limit Holdem what would it be?

Take your time, use your woman’s intuition to size up the table, and wait for the right situation to take a player’s chips when you have the best of it. You don’t have to play a lot – just the right hand in the right situation.

LPA: What advice do you have for anyone just starting out?

Don’t worry about winning or losing – focus on getting experience and learning lessons each tournament. Repeat positive statements to yourself to increase your confidence and you’ll find you get “luckier”, too.

LPA: What was it like playing in your first live tournament?

My first tournament was a low-buy in daily tournament at Hollywood Park. It was exciting and I felt quite adventurous. There weren’t a lot of women playing then – now I say that I was poker when poker wasn’t cool.

LPA: Do you play on the Internet?

I dabbled with the free sites for a bit when they first started, but I spend so much of my work life at the computer that I don’t want to be on the computer when I’m not working. I like being with people.

LPA: What differences do you see between poker on TV and the tournaments you play?

People get funny notions about poker when they see it on TV and don’t play themselves. They think it’s fast, that every hand has fabulous set-over-set type confrontations. Of course, in the editing room they cut out all the boring hours of fold-fold-fold. Once I played in a tournament and folded every hand for an hour and a half. But I made the final table because I waited for the right situation. Most of my life I never had any patience – I finally learned it at the poker table.

LPA: What do you think the future of Ladies Poker is?

Oh, I think it’s very bright! There are plenty of women making their mark and beginning to get known in poker circles. Competition is healthy, and this is a great way to hone your intuition and ability to strategize. In the end, it’s all about PR.

LPA: When you play mixed tournaments, not ladies events, what differences are there in play?

Well, the testosterone level is definitely higher! There’s more overtly aggressive behavior when men play. I find women on the whole to be quieter – they’re thinking things through, and they don’t have any problems “being beaten by a guy.” They way some guys carry on, you’d think their manhood was at stake. I was in a tournament recently where this young guy went all in with 6-7 when he made two pair on the flop. I had an open-ended straight draw with 8-9 and had him covered, so I called. When I made the straight when a ten came on the River (“River Lady”, remember?), he just couldn’t stop complaining about how could I have called with that hand. He sneered, “I know how many tournaments you’ve won!” I just smiled and said, “Oh, I don’t think you do.” Sheesh, he was playing 6-7 off-suit so it wasn’t like I cracked his aces. I’m not saying women don’t complain when they get busted, they do – but it’s not an affront to their femininity, so they get past it much more quickly.

LPA: What advantages do you believe women have in the game?

I think women have the intuition and relationship skills to read people really well, and that’s a big advantage in the game of poker.

LPA: What disadvantages do you believe women have in the game?

A lot of women tend to call too often, and not raise enough. We’re sometimes too afraid of being bluffed, and so look for reasons to call rather than to fold. “Assertive” is a wimpy word invented to replace “aggressive” for women who didn’t want to be seen as too “masculine” as they struggled to get ahead in the business world. But in poker, you must be aggressive or you won’t win tournaments. It’s just one tool in the toolbox, but you’ve got to be able to take it out and use it when you need it.

LPA: Is there any poker player pro/women/amateur that you admire?

I very much respect and admire Jennifer Harman. She’s classy, she’s always thinking and you can see her sizing people up. At the same time, she laughs a lot and looks like she’s having fun. I love that!

LPA: Where do you see yourself in the world of poker in 5 years?

That’s a great goal-setting question. I expect to be playing in some bigger buy-in tournaments and winning my share of them. I’d like to be on TV at some final table and then win the tournament and bundles of cash! But I have no intentions of playing poker full-time or becoming a pro – I don’t think it would be fun to have the rent dependent on whether or not I won money playing cards. Besides, I love my work!

LPA: Who has been the biggest influence in your game? Why?

I can’t single out just one person. I’d say all the authors of all the books and articles in Card Player magazine. I love to read and learn about poker from people’s real-life experiences. But I particularly enjoy Daniel Negraneau – he’s got such an infectious personality on TV and he’s always laughing. To me, that’s the most important thing in life – have a good time.

LPA: Is there anything you would like to tell women poker players out there?

If Life is a Poker Game, These are the Rules:

1. You will receive poker cards.

2. You will be presented with lessons.

3. There are no bad beats, only lessons.

4. Lessons are repeated and learned.

5. Learning does not end.

6. “Hold’em” is no better than “Fold’em.”

7. Others are only mirrors of you.

8. What you make of the game is up to you.

9. All the answers lie inside of Doyle Brunson’s Super System.

10. You will forget all of this at the tournament.

(Takeoff from The Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott)

Chellie Campbell is a former musical comedy actress, past owner of a business management firm and has been a professional speaker for over fifteen years. Creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops, her first book The Wealthy Spirit (Sourcebooks, 2002) was chosen as a book-of-the-week on the Dr. Laura Schlessinger radio show and a GlobalNet book-of-the-month selection. Her second book, Zero to Zillionaire: 8 Foolproof Steps to Financial Peace of Mind, was released by Sourcebooks in April, 2006 and she was invited to contribute a story to Jack Canfield’s new book You’ve Got to Read This Book! She is prominently quoted as a financial expert in The Los Angeles Times, Pink, Good Housekeeping, Lifetime, Essence, Woman’s World and more than 15 popular books. She can be reached at Chellie@chellie.com.