We recently had the chance to talk to Jennifer Leigh, known in the professional poker world as Jennicide. In addition to ruling the poker tables both online and in Las Vegas, Leigh is also an avid gamer - currently playing World of Warcraft - and has been featured earlier this year in spreads in both Playboy and FHM.
Allakhazam : Tell us about yourself, and your background.
Jennifer : I'm from Delaware, Wilmington actually. Little tiny state! I'm back in Delaware with my family and friends. I have a west coast soul, free spirited and everything, but when you travel around playing poker, but not a sponsored player... it gets a little rough. You're buying yourself into tournaments, and having to travel and everything, it's nice to take a break now and then. I was introduced to poker at UD. I was pretty diligent about wanting to go into a legal career, but poker... afterwards, I just didn't see myself going through a whole path and whole career of being an attorney. I just got tired of it. I didn't want to go to school and then work for years paying off loans. So poker was the path for me. I got lucky, and started winning right away online. When I'm having a good time in Delaware, I want to stay here, and I get choked up about leaving. But to be honest, there are more opportunities out west for me. Next time I go out there, I need to play a lot smarter. You can run into a lot of scummy people in the poker industry. I want to go back, but with a much clearer and smarter head about things.
Allakhazam : You're a world-famous poker player, a model, and a gaming icon. Is this what you saw for your future?
Jennifer : It's always been a "trend" for me. Everything carries me in different directions. When I was young I wanted to be an attorney, then a fashion designer. I never said growing up, "I want to be a gambler!" I don't know if that will still be my primary thing. I do love the game of poker, but it doesn't always love me. Right now I'm trying to launch a clothing line, Jayel Brand.
Allakhazam : How did you get started playing poker?
Jennifer : I was introduced to poker from a former computer hacking group I belonged to. I was just a little girl. When I started IRC, I was only 11. I'm not playing at World Series of Poker right now, but I have campaign managers there.
Allakhazam: Which is more of a thrill for you: raiding or a poker tournament?
Jennifer: I've done both at the same time! The results of the raid weren't so good. I had to say, "I'm almost at the final table, I have to go!" I wound up coming in third.
Allakhazam : How old were you when you started gaming?
Jennifer : Three? Two? Hardcore, too! I'd come back from ballerina classes in a tutu and sit back with my dad playing Dragon Warrior and 8-bit games. I was into the girly girl things, but on the side really into video games, computer technology, cars... but in person, you'd never expect me to be a nerd, but I'm one of the worst. Always having life on an alter ego scale is tough. If you meet me, I'm not Jennicide, I'm Jennifer. If I'm competing in poker, I'm Jennicide, but that's not always me.
Allakhazam : You describe yourself as a nerd. Is this something you're proud of, or have just learned to live with?
Jennifer : I'm such a nerd! Who could not be proud to be a nerd? If you're not proud to be a nerd, you have no sense of humor. Don't ever call yourself a dork, a dork is a whale penis! If you like geeky stuff, why not? We're all nerds.
Allakhazam : What draws you to MMORPGs?
Jennifer : I love the fantasy-like simulation. To tell you the truth, in college, and in some of the papers I wrote in high school, I would want to do medieval fashion or renaissance fashion. They'd say, "This is a literature class", "Well that fits right in with renaissance, right?" I went to the University of Delaware; most classes were philosophy, a lot of medical, and a lot of history, a LOT of history and political science. I did more reading than actually going to class. I appreciate so many things that happened in the medieval and renaissance time periods. The Tudors were amazing. I'm like, I love them, they're crazy!
Allakhazam : What is your favorite part about World of Warcraft, and what is something you'd like to see changed?
Jennifer : The first game I played was The Realm. That's old school. Then I evolved into EverQuest. I take breaks, but I always save my characters. WoW came into the picture because I needed to take a break from poker. I just created a Blood Elf warlock. I love the Night Elves and I love the dance, but they didn't have my hair color! So I had to go with Blood Elf, because the air was blonde. They could add a salon to the game, but I'd never actually play...I'd just sit there and change my hair! The ten-man raiding will be awesome when that gets worked out. I remember when we used to try to PUG Gruul's Lair. Oh, man. Slaughter fest. The one thing I would change is, you know, they have Mr. T, and male spokespeople. They need a female playing WoW! Women are great gamers. Everyone has the misconception that women don't play WoW because there are so many male crossdressers. Oh my God, ridiculous! If you wanna cross dress just do it live, we know what you're trying to say! I'd change the misconception that hot and cool chicks don't play video game. It's not just WoW, it's every game.
Allakhzam : So are you saying that Blizzard should give you a call for their next spokesperson?
Jennifer : Sure! Oh, and speaking of WoW, I just thought this was funny: Rob Pardo [VP of game design at Blizzard] played a wood elf cleric on EQ. A wood elf.
Allakhazam : What other games are you currently playing?
Jennifer : A whole lot of sitting around. I just got the Wii Fit. I'm scared to hop on it, and I'm in playboy!
Allakhazam : Tell me about posing for Playboy.
Jennifer: You take your clothes off and you're naked and in front of the camera. Playboy was actually VERY comfortable. I'm not really a shy girl, so it wasn't hard for me. But I did an FHM shot, and it wasn't a closed set. I was in a casino in lingerie. I mean, I'm 5'7". I'm a little girl. I just hate the misconception that women have to be so thin they're almost sick just to be in magazines. I'm trying to break that image.
Allakhazam : Do you see yourself as a role-model for women?
Jennifer : I think that women kick ass. I think single women out there, single moms too, they are the strongest ones of all. I'm a big fan of the women, but I love men, too! I don't always bring my a-game to raids, because I usually don't have dkp set up. I feel guilty when there's a cloth drop, and someone needs it. Guys need to be more accepting of women in the game. They haze women and girls. I'd love to have a radio show where you call someone who claims to be an expert gamer, and see what they know, like Rob Pardo. You know, see how much they really know about their game.
Allakhazam : What's your future?
Jennifer : Balancing modeling, poker and clothes. When you're so consumed with poker, that's all you're gonna think is poker. Sometimes you can stay focused, but a lot of your game with poker, obsessing is not how to excel.
Allakhazam : So, I know some of our readers want to know; are you dating anyone right now?
Jennifer : No, not at this time.
Allakhazam : Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Jennifer! We look forward to watching your career(s) unfold!
Amanda "Amandasaurus" Norris