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Girl on Girl at the 2008 WSOP: Tiffany Michelle Interview with Michele Lewis

The below is WCP contributor Michele Lewis' first interview in her "Girl on Girl" series at the WSOP. Stay tuned for more interviews with some of the coolest, hottest girls in poker. Check out Michele's blog at michelelewis.com.

Tiffany Michelle at the World Series of Poker

I finally had a chance to chat with Tiffany Michelle (above), known on WCP as the girl with two first names. We hooked up in the quiet WSOP Poker Kitchen this week to discuss the little things in life. Tiffany Michelle is a sweet, friendly Gemini who enjoys singing, acting, music and loves animals… OK, I’ll stop with the Playboy-like description. Seriously though, she does have many talents, including playing the piano since she was six, a self-taught guitarist and a successful songwriter.

After finding success in the Hollywood cash games and live tournaments at the Hustler Casino she suddenly found herself on the Bombshell Poker Team for a week at the 2006 WSOP. A simple one week WSOP gig multiplied into six when she was approached by Nick Geber to interview for Bluff. Today, Tiffany Michelle spends less time playing live poker as she’s traveling the world interviewing pros for PokerNews; however, don’t be fooled as she’s often online playing under the name HotChipz. And even though she looks like just another pretty face, she is in fact, well spoken and takes pride in her work.

Interested in finding out what she thinks of the 2008 World Series of Poker, who is the sexpot of poker, what she looks for in a guy and how you may or may not get a date with her through MySpace? Then hump to the jump...


Michele Lewis: How did you become the host of PokerNews?

Tiffany Michelle: PokerNews had heard that I had a good reputation and good knowledge of the game so they tested me out at the LAPC in 2007 and it worked.

ML: Do you like it?

TM: Yeah, it’s so cool. The first year I was like…there’s Doyle Brunson, there’s Daniel Negreanu, it’s like Christmas! This year is different. People ask ‘Are you excited to go to Vegas for the summer?” and I’m like, you know it’s a job. This year it’s nothing new... but I am excited. I get paid to hang out with my friends and sweat them at their final tables.

ML: Right, because it’s like summer camp.

TM: Oh, totally. I walk in and everyone is saying ‘hi’ and has their little clicks and little crews. I’m like…Danny and Sally were making out behind the poker….you know, it’s funny.

ML: Ha, yeah, I know what you mean. So, not only was last year your first year with PokerNews.com but it was also the first year the WSOP had so many tournaments going on at once. Was it stressful to keep up?

TM: Oh my gosh, I was really hesitant to come back this year because last year it was supposed to be me and an additional host [yep, she’s smiling and winking]. Then a few weeks in, it was just me and I think I literally had three days off in seven weeks with a few days to play tournaments. It was fun but exhausting. This year I was really hesitant but not only has PokerNews increased their staff and their efficiency but the organization of Harrahs is so wonderful. Everything is flowing so well this year.

ML: Yes, it is so different than last year. It is less stressful and running so smoothly with the small fields due to the larger buy-ins. What do you think?

TM: I agree, I applaud Harrahs and the WSOP for taking all the things that went wrong last year and addressing it and improving it this year. You can tell that all of the things that were nightmares last year they have adjusted. I appreciate this year because it’s a little more in favor of the top professionals. The last few years there has been a lot of luck involved to get through the large fields of no names. Which is cool for them but this year I appreciate that there’s so many mixed games and larger buy-ins. So, we’re seeing so many guys we know winning bracelets like Eric Lindgren who just won a bracelet and it’s nice to see guys like him finally get paid off.

ML: So do you read Wicked Chops Poker?

TM: Of course, I read WCP. It’s my, hands down, favorite poker site, not to mention that the WCP staff guys are the HOTTEST in the biz. They’re some of the greatest and most entertaining writers in poker.

ML: Nice answer, Tiff! You played the Ladies Event…

TM: For five seconds…

ML: Five seconds? Me too, well maybe ten… are you going to playing any other events?

Tiffany_michelle_3 TM: Someone asked me about backing…and my first thought was…OK! But I need to check with my schedule because I need to be fair to PokerNews and at the same time when I play I need to be focused on playing. I’m not at a place yet where the World Series of Poker is this big thing where I need to go and do well to make a big name for myself. Obviously being a chick is a check off the list but it’s not about the PR. I think a lot of the guys have to play a lot of events to win the bracelets, get the PR and get the deals. And I don’t have the bankroll yet to sit down and play 50 events. So, we’ll see. I just want to play if I’m going to play and work if I’m going to work.

ML: It’s hard balancing both. How do you manage that balance?

TM: I think sometimes it’s detrimental. You’re sitting there watching everyone play and you start getting the bug. Sometimes I play best when I’m unenthused about playing because I just sit down and go into my mode. But yesterday, I got out of the gates too early because I was so excited to play and was uber-aggressive.

ML: OK, women. It seems there are two types of women. You have your Annie Duke, Jen Harman, Kathy Liebert then you have the women that can play but are viewed more as a sex symbol. Do you find that offensive or disrespectful?

TM: I think it depends what vibe you’re giving out, being a woman is an advantage no matter how I’m dressed. I have friends that get all made up and pretend to be the silly stupid girl. I don’t flaunt the attractive side; I’ll sit down with a hoodie or hat and out play somebody because I’m a good player. I think it’s kind of like cheating to use the advantage of… bring the boobs out at the table or bring the blonde hair out at the table. I want to be respected because I’m kicking ass. I don’t want looks or femininity to outshine that I can play with the best of the guys. There are the girls that get a lot of attention because they stand out at the table but I way more respect the Annie’s, Cyndi’s and Kathy’s because they have the results and at the end of the day that’s what matters and will take you far.

ML: Sure and those girls have disappeared. OK, tell me about your singing, etc.

TM: I have all of these things I’m dabbling in whether it’s poker, acting or music. I’m a certified massage therapist. When I have the time I will do gigs in LA, I love playing but I’m not trying to be a pop star. And I find as many different things you can be involved in…you’re that much more likely to be successful. Primarily I’m an actress but with all the strikes going on, that industry has been dead, so poker’s been a great alternate income. But it’s always… we’ll see what I’m going to do next. This year…. There’s a couple of interesting poker deals within the works. You know, I have some people wanting to steal me for various projects and things so I’m taking a couple of meetings about that.

ML: Is that off the record?

TM: [Smiling] No, that can be on the record...I can’t talk about it yet…some big stuff. Which is…its cool, I’m always so flattered I fell into this business. Hollywood Dave and I did a pilot for VH1. It looks like it will get picked up for programming in January.

ML: That’s awesome. So, I have to ask…are you single?

TM: Um, I’m not sure.

ML: OK… so… when you are single…what do you look for in a guy?

TM: I’m not really impressed by a lot of people. I don’t buy into a fairy tale romance; I know relationships are hard work so I have to know when I meet someone…like this person is really neat, they’re really worth the hard work. It’s rare that I meet someone that’s worth the hard work. I have a lot going on and I am confident, successful and driven so I’m not going to be a little shadow or cling-to-side-kick. In addition, it’s hard for people to be with women in this industry…when you’re walking around all day being hit on by the wealthy poker players, all these playboys. Hollywood Dave was my first…real boyfriend…I appreciated that he understood and he would be like…yeah, I get it, whatever. So, it’s very rare you meet somebody that can embrace and accept that. It’s weird; (laughs Tiffany) I’m attracted to guys that don’t care what I do. You know, they’re like ‘yeah, whatever, you’re not a big deal.’ It’s so funny, that’s not usually what most girls look for but when someone says ‘get over yourself Tiffany’, I’m like…oooh, you’re cute!’

Tiffany_michelle_2ML: So, when you get a MySpace email, that’s all… ‘What’s up, you’re hot, let’s hook up’ that doesn’t do it for you? TM: [We giggle] it’s funny; I have my personal page and my poker page.

ML: Right, your HotChips page.

TM: Oh, gosh, I have so many pages. And my dog has a page.

ML: Really?

TM: Yes, she does! I don’t understand how a guy thinks he can just message a girl and somehow he thinks they’re just going to go out or hook up. I’m like…I don’t even know you! Not to be snobby but if I responded to every message… I’d have no life. I actually save a lot of messages because I get some of the craziest stuff. Like, people writing me poems and just recently I got one from a guy who said he’s on tour with Akon. I’m like…I’m in poker, I live in Hollywood, you can’t name drop and expect me to be impressed. Some of them get really creative. I will respond to the sweet one’s …you know, I’ll say “hey, thanks for taking the time to write’ because I’m not going to snub people. But at the same time…no, you’re not going to get a date with me because you wrote me on MySpace.

ML: What was that really weird one you received last weekend? It was a poker one.

TM: Yes! Some guy was like…’hey let’s kick it, do you want me? Cause, I got mad cash online. I’ll ship you over some cutie.’ I was like…what planet are you from? But the cute one’s (emails) are from guys out of the country. They’re from Italy or France and can’t speak English well and they have really choppy English so it’s cute.

ML: Ok, so who’s the hottest poker player?

TM: Well, wait…guy or girl? Because… don’t you want some girl on girl stuff?

ML: Ha, yeah. Well, I know your guy.

TM: You know who I’m going to say for a guy?

ML: Yeah.

TM: Who?

ML: The same one as everybody else…

TM: Who does everyone say?

ML: Patrik Antonius!

TM: Oh No! He’s totally not my favorite! I’m so not into Patrik. I get that genetically he’s like the perfect man but if I walked past him on the street I wouldn’t be like… hey baby.

ML: That’s right. We had this discussion.

TM: Honestly… the hottest… David Williams…Phil Ivey. I don’t know what it is but I like me some chocolate! When I was younger I thought Daniel Negreanu was cute but then that all changes when you get to hang out and know these guys and you’re like ‘you’re such a nerd!’

ML: Totally. But see…David and Phil are quiet.

TM: Yeah, they have the sexy, mysterious…they’re very suave and smooth.

ML: Yeah, note to guy… “When you’re quiet, we don’t know where we stand. So, that’s what makes you mysterious.” TM: Then it’s a challenge. Then we have to bust out our big guns to reel them in. But hottest chick… hmmm, that’s weird too because I’m friends with all the hot chicks in poker. So, you know who I’m going to say actually and you’re going to think I’m being biased right now. But, based on… in-person, based on… when-your-not-made-up… because most of the girls, when they’re not made-up…eh, and based on some photo shoots I’ve seen…I would have to bust out some…Michele Lewis.

ML: Oh, whatever! You are being biased!

TM: I’m so serious right now. I saw some of your cowboy pix online and I was like ‘Dam! That is so hot!’

ML: You’re making me blush.

Tiffany_michelle_wsopTM: I’m not even joking right now, Michele! You with your brown hair and your sexy little glasses and your black…you have this like…blondes don’t really do it…ha, here I am…blondes don’t do it for me. Dark haired brunettes have this seductive, sexy like…dark thing…and I remember the first time I ever saw one of your photo shoots on MySpace and I was like…I want to do a photo shoot like that, it’s so hot.

ML: Wow, uh, I’m really blushing. I’ll give you the photographer’s name.

TM: And you (now) with just your jeans and zip-up sweater are still super hot.

ML: Well, maybe that explains why I was mistaken for a hooker in a sweatshirt and jeans.

TM: You did, seriously?

ML: Yeah, last year at the hooker bar, while I was hanging with my husband and Bill Chen. Yeah, so…I’m blushing still, I’m really flattered thanks because there are a lot of pretty women.

TM: But then again there’s not. I think women in poker seem prettier because it’s a male dominated field. So automatically you can have an average looking chic with a nice rack and it’s oh wow, she’s so pretty. But when you’re comparing her to Bill Chen or Howard Lederer of course she looks fine. I’d be interested to see how the hot women in poker do out in the real world. I don’t think they would be as drool worthy.

ML: I don’t know, there’s a handful though. I don’t know…I’m just like…Wow, I’m the hottest chick in poker. I better not tell Lacey because she just won that award!

TM: Really, when you asked me…I wasn’t sure what I was going to say and then I went through all the chicks I know or who are quote- quote hot and I thought… no… no… no. I was thinking…if I were a guy or... if I were a girl who was into girls…who would have to go walking by for me to be like…wow? So, I think it would be you. I might have to get your number at the end of this interview, Michele.

ML: Ahh, WCP will be so proud of me for the girl on girl stuff. Plus we have the same name and you’re younger than me so I can just hear them now with the whole Cougar thing…

TM: Oh, man. I see the feature films right now. If we ever go flat broke in poker, we know we have an alternate source of income.

ML: [laughing] Especially with MySpace, we could just spam out… Poker chicks looking to do a porn. Anybody interested in filming?

TM: Right, and you won’t get paid, in fact, we’ll charge you but you’ll get some great experience.

ML: Great exposure, pun intended.

TM: [laughing] You’re funny.

ML: OK, that was awesome, thank you so much.

TM: You’re welcome, thank you!

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