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Shannon Elizabeth wins $11K, talks about women and poker

Staff writer

 Now that she has been eliminated from the Seminole Hard Rock Poker main event, I can spill my conversation with Shannon Elizabeth from Thursday.

Elizabeth, whose breakout role was as Nadia in “American Pie,” is quite the poker player, and I didn't want to give opponents a competitive advantage by revealing her philosophy. (And even if it wasn't a good interview, I'd put it up because there's no such thing as too much Shannon Elizabeth.)

Elizabeth, who has modeled for Playboy and Maxim and competed on "Dancing With the Stars," finished 165th in the $10 million guarantee tournament, surviving Day 1A, and making it through the field of 768 in Day 2 Saturday before being ousted on Sunday. She earned $11,635 in the $5,300 buy-in event.

Like I said, she has some poker chops, having finished third in the 64-player NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2007, defeating three World Series of Poker bracelet winners along the way.

Me (after a 30-second mumble, fumble and inability to speak): Tell me why you're playing in this event?

Shannon: It's a major event and I think everybody in the world who likes poker would play here. I've had to take a break from playing because of work, but I had the free time, so here I am.

Me: Describe your poker game.

Shannon: It was better when nobody knew who I was and how I played and they just underestimated me. I had a lot better results then. Now I think the stuff that would work for a guy doesn't work for a girl. The tools aren't the same. They don't give you the same respect.

Me: I've heard men in poker face women in three ways: There's the flirt, the protector and the chauvinist.

Shannon: I’ve had all that, I could see that, I definitely have done the flirting thing to get people to fold if I didn’t want them to call me, and they say, ah, I can’t call that smile because it’s clear I don’t want to go out. Then there's  the guys who hate women at the table and want to do anything possible to knock you out and it’s great because occasionally you could do that and they get angrier and angrier. And they're playing on tilt and that’s it, they're actually good to play against.

Me: Does the money still matter?

I think money always matters to a degree but you can’t be playing to the end result. You have to be playing one hand at a time, one table at a time for the love of the game. You have to know where you are in the standings, where the bubble breaks and so on.

Me: Who do you model yourself after in poker?

I sometimes try to imagine I'm one of the big pros at the table. Sometimes I try to think what would Phil Ivey do in this situation, what would Daniel Negreanu do. I want to play like them instead of playing like me.

Me: What poker books have you read?

I’ve read all the books I know all of them and I love all of them but you have to take a little bit from everyone. It’s the same with acting. Take the best...

Me: What projects are you working on?

I just did a film I sing in and it’s going to come out around the holidays. It's a sweet Christmas family movie. I just did an episode of a sitcom. If I had my preference, I’d love to do a sitcom, it keeps you close to home you get to laugh make everything to jokes and the audience is the best.

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