It all started with a tweet. A video, to be more specific. A Twitter user by the name of SammyWhammy shared this tweet where Denise Pratt called Dan Shak all sorts of names, while getting some big laughs from the players at her table. Hours later, the video had gone viral, thanks in part to a Daniel Negreanu share, and Denise Pratt was on everyone’s timeline and mind.
The controversy brewed as the entire poker community laughed at the video, and while Dan Shak was seemingly put into a bad light, the two made up quickly and became friends after the altercation. Aside from the laughs, there was also an immediate call to have Denise Pratt play on PokerGO and last night she came into action for the first time during Femme Fatale II week alongside Farah Galfond, Danielle Andersen, and Kitty Kuo.
Prior to the action getting underway, we spoke to Denise to get to know the rowdy loud mouth a little better! Read below and check out the entire interview on the next edition of the Poker Central Podcast, which will be released later this week.
“Rowdy” and “loudmouth” aren’t words we use to describe Denise Pratt, but rather the adjectives she chooses for herself. Upbeat, positive, a hint of self-depreciation, and a never-ending stream of consciousness is the best way to describe the poker fan and player from Olive Branch, Mississippi.
“I’m so excited, I can’t believe that I get to do this all because someone anonymously filmed and posted it!” a very excited Pratt told us as we asked about the experience of gaining so much fame in such a short span of time.
“Sammy Whammy, the guy who posted it, told me ‘Quit poker and become a comedian!'” Pratt laughed.
While her son didn’t think it was funny at first, he was quickly convinced when Daniel Negreanu shared and retweeted it.
“He thought I was lying so he looked it up and then he said, ‘No shit mom! Another hundred thousand people liked it!’
Pratt talks passionately about poker but she turns it up a notch whenever she mentions her husband of 27 years and her children. When mentioning her ascend into poker fame and becoming a recognizable face and voice, Pratt adds that she loves bringing candy, chocolates and even Texas barbecue for the dealers when she can.
Yet, her talkative nature at a high volume is not appreciated by everyone.
“I’m well known for being rowdy and I have been told to shut up before. There was this one time – and I won’t name the casino – that I was told to be quiet because there was some other big event going on in the room.”
Denise didn’t take lightly to the request and told the supervisor that they should’ve put “the serious tournament” in a different room if the noise level of the “pions” was bothering them, people that were just there to have a good time.
“People get too serious about this shit. Sometimes I even get scared to say something at the table because people are so serious. Some people pull out their headphones when I get going at the table, and I’m fine with that, just don’t forget to bring them.”
With her newfound fame in hand, Pratt now often gets recognized at the poker table and that leads to interesting situations.
“The biggest thing for me is when people walk up to me and I’m trying to figure out whether they hate it or like it what I’m about. Until they say that they love it, I kind of freeze, but when they do say that they love it, it’s amazing. I have had a few negative experiences though.”
“I was amazed when people said that they liked the video so much.”
Aside from a few negative experiences, Pratt has little time for haters and worrying about what other people think. At the end of the day, she’s looking to have fun and improve as a poker player.
“I don’t give a shit what they say, I don’t care whether I win or lose, I care if I have made the right decision and played my best poker. I get mad at myself when I know that I’m beat and I still pay them off. I need to stop giving a crap about getting bluffed sometimes!”
Denise’s aunt told her, “Denise, I’m amazed. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do, you do it well and go hard after it,” and she did just that.
Inspired by Joe McKeehen winning the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, Pratt found herself consuming everything she could find on the game, books, videos, PokerGO content and whatever was on TV.
“I worked my ass off all my life and let me tell you, eight million dollars is very hard to come by, I was so enthralled by Joe McKeehen,” Pratt said in reference to being inspired by the 2015 WSOP Main Event winner.
Pratt had dabbled in some casino games, most notably winning $100,000 playing blackjack in Tunica. While she loved the rush and the thrill of the game, she was also quick to realize that this was not a game that she could sustain winning at.
Jokingly, she said, “I didn’t want to be one of those people losing their house in the casino and having to get a GoFundMe campaign going for me to get back on my feet.”
The first six months Denise didn’t study much and played at her local casino, the Horseshoe in Tunica before she started taking the game more seriously.
“I’ve played a few cash games as well, but I realized that winning in a tournament is much more fun. I don’t understand why more women aren’t playing poker. I’d rather play poker than sit there at a damn slot machine by myself hoping the wheel spins right.”
“I talk to a lot of women that tell me they don’t like playing poker and I tell them, ‘What’s wrong with you? You have a better shot in a $250 tournament to win $10,000 than you’ll ever will at a slot machine.”
Pratt is aware of the learning curve in poker, but she’s excited about it more than afraid. Unwilling to be intimidated by other players, Pratt provides stiff competition for anyone that crosses her path.
“I don’t think it matters who you’re playing against, it just matters how you play and sticking to your game plan and then you’ll end up winning. I used to be afraid to play against the top players but not anymore.”
In closing, Pratt shared another anecdote of her play and how it’s clearly entertaining for those around her. Pratt promises to always ber her talkative self and you get to see it for yourself on the second night of Femme Fatale II on Poker After Dark, or by checking out the first night of action on-demand right now.
“The trash talk will continue! The guys love the trash talk and I need to keep playing as many tournaments as I can. The best honor I can get is from another poker player is having them tell me that I’m improving every time I see them again.”
“I’ve had men get up from the table and say, ‘This has been the best night of my life and I didn’t even get laid!’
Watch the second night of Femme Fatale II on PokerGO at 6:00 pm ET on Tuesday, March 26. Finding this article after that date? Check it out on-demand. New to PokerGO? Subscribe right now and enjoy more than 100 days of live poker action every single year.