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Canadian cash-game pro Gillian like playing poker so much she became a dealer but quickly switched seats and began grinding cash-games. Epp was able to rise up through the ranks to the point where Phil Ivey caller her up and offered her a spot on his new Ivey Poker team. Epp told PokerListings.com that getting a text from Ivey here in Las Vegas was the best text she'd ever received, and how getting to know the greatest poker player in the world has been an eye-opening experience.
Gillian Epp: Okay. I'm from the Canadian Rockies in Crown Brick and I used to deal. That's kinda how I got into poker. I played before, and I loved it so much I became a dealer. And then I played cash for-- professionally-- for like the last five years. Now I'm starting to grind these tournaments.
No, I feel I'm very, very fortunate. When I started playing, I didn't even realize it was a profession. Like when people were like, Oh well he plays professionally, I was like that's a joke, right? You can make money at this professionally? I thought everyone just did it for fun.
My friends completely understood what I was doing, because I love games so much. So all my life when I-- I was figure skater growing up and like when the Zamboni was on the ice, I was in the-- off ice playing cards. That's what was I doing, so my friends weren't surprised at all.
And my parents, my dad's a mathematician. So the math aspects of it, he just loves. He just thinks that's so awesome. And when I went to university, I studied statistics and probability. And my brother said, You basically got a degree in professional gambling. That's what you did.
I didn't realize there was so much community in poker and how much you need that community. When I first started out, I was just like so independent, and now I know that you need people. And you need people to support you. I look at it the same way you do university, like your parents support you to get there, and anytime you're in a new business you need a bank roll to help you out.
When Phil Ivey approached me to be on his team-- Before, I had some other sponsorship deals and I didn't really want to go that sponsorship route, I wanted to kinda be on my own and then I'm like, It's Phil Ivey! You have to answer Phil Ivey's phone call. And then I signed with Phil Ivey, and we have like this great group of poker players that are very supportive of each other.
And then Phil himself, I was playing cash games two days ago, and I get a text, Come over to Phil's house. And that's like the best text ever, right? So then I go over to Phil's house. It's like me and Jen Harman and Phil, and we're just drinking shots and he's just like the coolest guy. And, he's just so awesome. He's really easy to talk to. I was really surprised about that, because in the media he comes to kinda like shuts off. But back when he's like drinking and at home, he'll tell you anything. Before, he was just like an idol, and someone I looked up to. And then, just being around him short periods of time, he just communicates with you just like he's your best friend.