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Former ER Nurse Transitions To Full-Time Poker Player

Angela Parker Says Former Job Essentially Prevents Stress At Poker Table


Former ER nurse Angela Parker is “ready to make dreams come true” on the felt.

Parker, a 32-year-old from Houston, recently transitioned to poker full-time and currently grinds live low-stakes no-limit hold’em for an income. Poker, as nearly everyone knows by now, is considered a hard way to make an easy living. But for Parker, her background working in ER trauma has helped her handle the bumps in the road better than most.

“When you work in ER you never know what is walking through that door,” Parker said. “You can’t put enough pressure on me, so somebody river-jamming on me is nothing. There is nothing that can happen to me at a poker table compared to what happened to me in the ER.”

That mindset is especially helpful for the higher-variance game Parker plays. “I’m not afraid to shove all in with king-high,” she said of her cash game style.

Add ER nurse to the list of professions that can translate well into poker. High-stress jobs, ones demanding quick decisions where the stakes are high, have often helped people prepare mentally for poker. Workers in the financial industry have often found poker to be a natural fit. Same has gone for some one-time professional video gamers, especially given the micro-tasking component.

Parker has been playing poker less than a decade altogether, with a hiatus mixed in there to focus on work and her daughter, but she re-intensified her passion for the game this past October. Along with the help of a poker coach, Parker is confident about her game going forward. Her rookie year at the WSOP was this summer, and although she didn’t cash in any bracelet events she’s ready to play more tournaments in addition to her regular cash game schedule.

“I want to be the first woman to win the main event,” Parker said of her ultimate goal in tournaments. This summer, the last woman standing was an attorney (another job that translates well into poker) Kelly Minkin, who finished 29th for $211,821. It was the best finish for a woman since Gaëlle Baumann exited 10th in 2012. Many people think it’s just a matter of time before a woman again makes the final table of poker’s most prestigious tournament because of how seriously many are taking the game these days. “More and more women are becoming world-class poker players,” Jennifer Tilly told Card Player this summer in an interview.

Parker has started her journey to try to become world-class. In addition to winning the main event, she wants to one day “crush” the nosebleed cash game stakes.

She’s among the apparently growing list of women giving poker a very serious look. The game has become less intimidating, many say, and that has opened the doors for women interested in it. Parker added that she has a “thick skin” and you “can’t take things personally” at the poker table. “I am pretty hard to offend,” she said. That’s a helpful mindset to have because huge issues with how many women are treated at the table by some of their male competitors still linger.

“Just get in there and have fun with it,” Parker recommends to other female players.



over 6 years ago

That's too bad. We need more nurses then poker players.


over 6 years ago

Indeed. Jamming all in with King high does not sound like good strategy inthe beginning of your poker career.