I had the most amazing time in the Big O tournament at Hollywood Park Casino this Saturday. I made the final table with two other women, Chellie Campbell and Lulu Flippin, who ended up in second and first, respectively. As we played down to four players, I chatted with both women, which inspired me to write this article.
As I have played more Omaha in the past year, I noticed fewer women seem to play this game than hold’em, so when we got down to two tables, it was great playing with two other women. We chatted with the dealer Leslie, and were having fun. We only had to lose one more player before the final table, and it just happened to be the hand Chellie was in.
She won the hand at showdown, and her male opponent wasn’t happy. He kept berating her, and I finally had to tell him to stop criticizing her. He was knocked out in the next hand.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chellie after the tournament after Lulu told me how accomplished Chellie is in life and in poker.
Chellie started her career as an actress. While working at Walt Disney World in Florida, she noticed some of the men would bring their lunch and play poker in the barn where they rehearsed. Because she had never played poker before, she watched them once before she sat in the game. Naturally, she won all the money the first time she played; she was bitten by the poker bug.
When she moved back to Los Angeles, she played with friends in home games. They would go to Vegas every January and June to play poker. She honed her game by playing, reading books and watching old VHS tapes of the World Series of Poker.
When Hollywood Park Casino opened in 1994, Chellie played 7-Card Stud for two years before moving on to hold’em. She played that for six months before being introduced to Omaha by her friend Mitch.
When she sold her bookkeeping business in 1994 to teach financial stress reduction workshops, it gave her more freedom to play poker. Today you can find Chellie playing Omaha in L.A cardrooms. She is the redhead with the bright smile.
She has written numerous books including her latest “From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success without the Stress.” Visit www.chellie.com for more information on this inspirational woman.
Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.