By Craig Fleck
Kelli Mix wears many hats: wife, mother, author and poker player. Mix, 38, also works hand in hand with the Poker Players Alliance to help make strides for poker legalization in Georgia. Ante Up’s Craig Fleck recently had an opportunity to talk with Mix about her life, her book, her position with the PPA and, of course, poker.
Where are you from originally? Homer, Mich.
What is your official title with the PPA? I am the Georgia state director.
How long have you been in poker and could you tell me about the path to this job? My dad taught me and my siblings how to play when we were little. On Christmas one time the family played a poker game to determine the order of opening gifts. Every time you won a hand you got to open a present.
One evening while I was traveling for work I was laying in my hotel fed up with my job and turned on the TV and saw the WPT. I thought. “There’s that game we used to play at our house when I was little!” I called my husband and said, “I’m going to quit my job and become a poker player.” About a week later my husband brought home a stack of poker books and said, “Read every one of these and then I will take you to a casino.” Sure enough, I read them and we went to Atlantic City where I promptly won a $1,000 seat into a limit tournament at the Borgata. I played all the way to the end until there were 16 of us in the room. I remember looking around at the players left, Ted Forrest, Men the Master, Chip Jett and thinking, I cannot believe my beginner’s luck. They knocked me out in 16th on the bubble and while I did feel like a big loser for not even getting to open a Christmas present, I was officially hooked on the game.
What have you been doing to get legal live poker in Georgia? I have met with several congressmen and written letters on behalf of our cause. I host a charity event once a year that pulls in new PPA members. I also filmed a short commercial for the PPA about being a mom that plays poker. I really want people to understand that poker has come a long way and it’s not shameful to say I just fixed dinner and put the kids to bed, now I’m going to a poker game.
How did you come up with the idea of writing your book, Official Rules of Poker? I was writing some articles for a newspaper and mentioned poker in one of them. David Rozansky at Flying Penn Press found me through the article and asked if I had any interest in writing the book.
What was the reception of the book and do you have any other plans for writing? The book has been very well-received and I have had several people ask when I’m going to write an updated version of the book. The rules of poker are always changing and new rules are being added, so I really do need to get busy with an update. I went to the last Tournament Directors Association meeting where I really got a lot of good suggestions, so I have some chapters started. I still do some freelance writing for magazines and websites. I was just published in the Christmas release of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Maybe I can talk them into doing a Chicken Soup for the Poker Players Soul. On second thought, a book full of bad beats would probably not sell.
What’s your game of choice? Predominately no-limit Texas Hold’em. I mostly play cash games, but I do play in a tournament every once in a while.
What did you do before your current position? I worked in software development back when I was traveling. Now I actually own a toy store and an antique store in Newnan, Ga. I play poker a few nights a week.
What is the strangest thing you have come across since entering the poker world? At the casino I was playing in a game with the same guy for several hours. We kept getting tangled up in hands together where I would have one hand higher than him every time. He would have a queen-high flush and I would have a king-high flush for example. Well, he was getting frustrated when we got into a final hand where the board came 6-7-8-10-K and we got it all-in. We flipped over our cards and he said, “We both have a straight,” which we did, but I had the J-9 and he just had the nine so my straight was higher. It was the last straw for him. He jumped from his chair and started grabbing the chips. He was sticking them into his pockets and his bag then he ran. Yes, just like a child, he ran from the table with chips flying everywhere. We were all completely shocked and suddenly four guards tackled him to the floor and dragged him back and made him empty all of his chips on the table. It was the first time I realized how well the security monitors tables. It was pretty strange, but very funny.