My Early Years
I grew up in the sticks of Kent and was lucky enough to have a horse-riding Mum, who taught me to ride from a young age. Outside of school I spent most of my time climbing trees, jumping stuff, racing ladybirds, playing with dogs or competing in horse-shows. For the most part I loved school, and played almost any sport I could. My favourite subjects were the sciences, maths and geography, which at A-level before going on to the University of Manchester to study Physics with Astrophysics. I had always been fascinated to find out how our universe works, so this seemed like a good way to get some answers.
Much to the chagrin of my parents, my teenage identity formed itself around metal (the music, not building material). I quickly an old electric guitar and disappeared for a few years down a cacophony of Metallica riffs, Pantera solos and the like. More on the music page, if you’re brave enough.
I remained a die-hard metalhead throughout Uni, and in between tequila suicides at Jilly’s Rock Club I managed to graduate, somehow. With full intention to begin a Master’s degree after a gap year, I moved to London in 2005. After a summer of more rock’n’roll and a brief foray in modelling, money was getting scarce. Then an advert for a gameshow caught my eye – “Could you use your powers of skill and deception to win £100,000?”. Hell yes I could. So I applied, and after a few auditions, I was selected to as one of the five contestants!
Then came the big reveal: the show’s premise was to take complete beginners and train them how to play poker, with the help of three of the biggest names at the time: Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke and Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott. I INSTANTLY fell in love with the game, especially after winning the first sit’n’go. I was hugely inspired by all three of the coaches and their level of stardom. They seemed to live the ultimate rock-star life, travelling the world playing an incredibly fun game and competitive game. I wanted that too.
After the show I started playing poker more and more frequently at the Gutshot card club in London and soon after the managers asked if I would go to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas to host their online coverage. This drew me further into the industry (and away from my one-and-hopefully-only 9-5 job that I had for a while) and soon poker was my life.
My first major poker success was winning the Ladbrokes European Ladies Championships for $30,000, opening up more opportunities for more presenting, photoshoots and the like.
My career’s real launch came in April 2010 when I won the European Poker Tour (EPT) in San Remo for $1,700,000. I still can’t quite believe it happened! Even better, the wonderful folks behind Pokerstars then invited me to join team Pokerstars Pro and have been their ambassador ever since.