I meet the most interesting people at the poker table.
I was playing in a No-Limit Hold’em tournament at Hollywood Park Casino a couple of weeks ago when I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jennifer Ring Morgen.
A wild player had just gone broke in the seat to the left of me when Jennifer sat down. She wasn’t like most of the players I sit with in this tournament; she was very friendly. We struck up a conversation, and I decided her story was so interesting I had to write about it.
Jennifer was born and raised in Los Angeles. She grew up in Studio City, and at the age of 12 her family moved to Carmel. In her own words, she was “a wild child.” She once took her parents’ car and drove it into the Carmel Valley River.
Sent to an all-girls Catholic boarding school, she took the school van at the age of 15 and drove it across the Golden Gate Bridge. She attended six different high schools in four years.
Morgen attended Bennington College in Vermont where she was a classmate of author Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote the 1985 bestseller “Less Than Zero” while an undergraduate there.
Jennifer felt like a fish out of water as a California girl living in Vermont. She became a ski instructor and left college after a bad ski accident. She had surgery and flew back home to Los Angeles.
Her first foray into gambling was when her best friend took her to play bingo at Park La Brea Community Center in L.A. She fell in love with the game.
Jennifer was always attracted to numbers, so when she took her first trip to Las Vegas the first game she played was roulette. She subsequently learned how to play blackjack and has a method she says enables her to make money at the game 20 years later.
She was first introduced to poker in rehab. She would watch poker every night on TV after she left rehab. She would put tape on the television to hide the hole cards, so she could figure out what people had.
Her passion for poker hasn’t diminished. I hope you will be as lucky as I was to sit next to her at the poker table.