Greek poker roots reach all the way to Erie, Pa.



It’s rare to meet a woman who’s played poker in two countries, especially for a non-professional. Meet Dolly Dentakis, an avid player from Erie, Pa., who’s spent a large part of her life living in Greece, moving there in 1977 and staying for many years with her husband and daughter.

“Poker has gotten more popular in Greece,” she said. “The Greeks are known for their gambling. It’s not as big as it is here, but it’s catching on. While I was growing up, my dad used to talk about playing poker on the ships during World War II, while they were sailing the Atlantic Ocean to fight and liberate Europe.”

She watched poker grow across the globe and her all-time favorite player is Daniel Negreanu. She’s competitive, talkative and easy to like. And her poker exploits aren’t just from Pennsylvania.

“When I was young and single I used to go every year to Las Vegas, but that was many years ago, too many to count,” she said laughing. “Nowadays, I like playing in the World Tavern Poker league. It’s fun and you get to meet all kinds of different players.”

— Mike Owens is the Ante Up Ambassador for Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. You can follow him on Twitter @Holdemag and check out his blog at He can be reached at

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