Dee Dee Cole: Destined to play poker

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I met Dee Dee Cole through a mutual friend at the World Series three and a half years ago. Today she is a very dear friend who created pokerjetsetter.com, an online site where you can find tournaments anywhere in the country. We share a lot of the same goals for women in poker. Anyone who comes in contact with her always has amazing things to say about her. She is no slouch at the poker table, as live games are her forte. Dee Dee always sets her sights on “the bigger picture” and more often than not is very successful.

How long have you been playing poker?
Since I was 9 years old. I would play against my family for money. I didn’t want to give up my allowance that easy, so I learned fast that playing well meant I was going to double my allowance for the week. We also played cribbage, backgammon, pinochle, pool and other games for money.

What is your earliest memory of playing poker?
My family used to meet at a lake in Aberdeen, S.D., every year and spend two weeks out there. We used to play “poverty poker” at night. It’s like penny poker, but you never went broke, as long as someone wanted to give you some of their pennies! I had a cute, bucktooth smile, so my uncles were always good for a few pennies.

What is your favorite game?
That’s a tough one. I like to play all sorts of card games. Now that I have been playing no-limit hold’em for so long, I guess that would be my favorite right now. Although I learned playing seven-card stud and love that game. I actually miss playing it.

What is your favorite hand?
For no-limit hold’em it would be pocket aces first, and then it would have to be jack-10 suited. Really it’s the hand that brings me the pot!

Do you play online?
I play a little online, but mostly I prefer playing at the brick-and-mortar rooms. I like the people interaction and I am more comfortable playing against people live than on the Internet.

Tell me a little about your personal life and how it interacts with poker.
I was born into a gaming family. My grandmother ran a pool hall and book joint in South Dakota back in the ’40s. All of my relatives on that side of the family are incredible card and pool players. Several of them play Masters Point Bridge.

It’s no surprise to anyone in my family that I am involved in the gaming business. Like I said, I was playing for my allowance at a very early age. It was always the highlight of the day when I would play cards with my family. I would rather do that than anything else in the world. Still, to this day, I would be happy to just play cards all day and all night.
As I got older, I started working in information technology. As time went on, I decided I should blend my smarts with my passion, poker. I hated how long it took me to find a place to play poker on the weekends or when I was traveling around the country. So I came up with Poker JetSetter.

How do you feel about the female players who are up and coming?
It’s great to see so many women out there playing now. There are so many women who are good solid players who are no longer intimidated by men. I really appreciate the women who play and still hold on to the grace and confidence of a woman without having to put on the ego act like a lot of men. I think women face different challenges to the game than men.

If you had some advice to the female players considering poker as a career, what would it be?
This is a tough one. I have seen a lot in this business and have lived it, too. It’s a hard existence and I suggest anyone attempting it make sure they have other venues in their life as well. I have always said I’m not a professional and would prefer to keep it that way.
So I live under my motto, “If I win at the end of the year it’s my second income and if I have a losing year it’s my hobby.” One piece of advice I would give would be to have a bank account that is just for poker. Load it with your bankroll and be diligent about putting your wins in the account and be meticulous about tracking your wins and losses. Players who don’t do this usually run into trouble down the line.

Did you have a poker mentor?
Besides my family, I did have a great poker mentor. When I lived in Las Vegas in the late ’80s I met a man playing poker who seemed to always win. At the time I played at the Silver Slipper. They used to have a great dealer’s-choice game and I had a lot of fun playing that and the $3-$6 stud game.

One day I noticed John wasn’t playing. I asked him why he was sitting on the sideline. He replied that he was broke. Though I didn’t know him very well, I gave him my last $60 and asked him if that would get him back in the game. He took it and said thanks.

Two months later I saw him and he gave me my money back. He said he had turned the $60 into $1,700 that day and was doing well. That was the start of a wonderful friendship and he became my mentor. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent behind him watching him play hand after hand after hand. Then I would play and he would sit behind me.
We would then go to dinner and he would go over my play and what I needed to do to make my game better. He was wonderful and I miss him. He unfortunately drowned in his car in a flood back in the ’90s. It gave me two years of one-on-one attention to my game and for that I will be forever grateful.

Do you still feel you are learning all the time or do you feel you have mastered the game?
I can’t ever imagine saying I mastered the game. Every time I sit down with a new group of people, the game changes. Plus there are so many games to play; it would be hard to master all of them. That’s what makes poker so much fun and such a challenge.

It’s so much fun when you are winning and so hard to be patient when you’re not hitting your hands. Just mastering being patient and keeping your emotions out of the game takes a lifetime of practice. I guess the way I look at it is poker is not just a skill; it’s many skills that need to be all in place at the right time to win. Just like life, every day is a new day and comes with new challenges. Hard to master that!

What can we expect from you in the near future?
Well, I will be trying my hardest to make as many final tables as I can in 2011. I have a few big ones on my mind; we will just have to see where the chips fall.