Robin Kay is one of the most humble people you will ever meet in a card room. Before I met her, my husband Robert Turner would tell me about a woman who started playing at Hollywood Park Casino.
He told me, “There is this woman Robin who has come out to L.A. recently. She has an uncanny ability to make her opponents want to play longer and enjoy the game more. That’s a rare quality for a poker player.”
Robert continued, “What impressed me most was not her skill level, which is high, but her attitude toward her opponents. She is different; she has the ‘It Factor.’”
This piqued my interest, and I had the pleasure of interviewing her and discovering that there is much more to Robin than meets the eye.
The first surprise is that Robin comes from bridge royalty. Her father, Norman Kay, was known as the “Babe Ruth of Bridge.” He was a 27-time national champion while her stepfather, Bobby Wolff, is an 11-time world champion whose column “The Aces on Bridge” has been appearing daily for over 25 years and is syndicated in more than 130 newspapers worldwide. Both men were inducted into the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) Hall of Fame.
Though she has been playing cards since she was 4 years old (Robin says while other families were going to Disneyland, hers was going to bridge tournaments), she didn’t find out her father was a legendary bridge player until she walked up to a table for the bridge club at college orientation.
The person manning the table told her that there was a very famous bridge player with the same last name as hers and brought her a book on bridge that was written by her father. She had no idea!
Though bridge was in her blood (Robin’s mother Judy is a well-known bridge player, who was a teacher and administrator with a national title to her name), Robin forged her own path and majored in mathematics and economics and soon found herself working on Wall Street as an options trader on the American Stock Exchange.
At the age of 30, as she was beginning to get burned out, a girlfriend, whose mother Gail Greenberg founded Honors Bridge Club, suggested Robin teach bridge there.
Soon, the world of bridge and poker would collide in Robin’s life, which would change her life forever.
Read how in Part 2 next week.
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.