Cancer Researcher Darlene Lee 'Secret Poker Player' No Longer

Published on 12 July 2014 by Pokerlistings 444

Darlene Lee is from Burnaby, Canada and has been playing poker for the last 15 years, mostly in secret. Now that she's deep in the 2014 World Series of Poker the secret might be out. Lee learned to play poker years before the poker boom and grew to love the game, honing her skills in local Canadian casinos. Darlene loves poker, but she mostly keeps it herself since her family and co-workers think of it as gambling. That might have to change once people start seeing her on television playing in poker's biggest event. Just one month ago Darlene took a year leave from her work as a cancer researcher to travel the world and play poker. She's already guaranteed ove $50,000 in prizes in this event so it's safe to say she's off to a great start. Check out the full interview with Darlene Lee and keep watching for the latest news and videos from the 2014 WSOP in Las Vegas.

My name is Darlene Lee. I'm from Burnaby, BC, Canada, and I've been playing poker for about 15 years. And I started because a bunch of friends. . . on Halloween we had a get together. We normally play board games, but this time the guys were trying to convince all the girls to learn how to play poker. So then, once they taught us, then we started playing like $5 little tournaments. So then after that I just really got into poker. I work at the BC Cancer Agency, but I don't really like to talk about poker at work. I just think people think of it as gambling. So I just keep it on the down low and I just talk about it amongst my closer friends at work. But it might not be a secret for long. It's definitely a big dream of mine to have made it this far. I just can't believe I'm this far right now. One of my goals is to be the last woman standing. I did start the day with a lot of chips and, unfortunately, I gave away a bunch. So I'm down to 10 big ones. I'm hoping to make a big come back. My goal was to make six figures so, hopefully, I'll hang in there and make a comeback.

I think my success in poker may come partly because I'm female. I think a lot of times people or the men try to bluff me and I tend to call a lot. I'm actually taking a year off leave just to travel and play poker. But, because of that, I will not be able to play in the next year's event. If I do make a really deep run, I think it would help. If I did make a lot of money, then I probably would be more open with my coworkers. I think people just in general frown upon it, and they think it's gambling. But, to me, I don't think it's gambling. I think it's a skill game. Just, in general, I just tend to not talk about it. My parents don't even really know. My mum found out that I was at the casino one day because her friend was there and then she just called me up right away. "What are you doing gambling at the casino?" I just try not to talk about it with her anymore, but my dad knows now. I think they would change their mind. I know they'll be definitely proud of me and impressed if I win a lot of money.