CC: Tell us about growing up, your family. Were you raised in LA?
Kristy: I was born in Torrance, California and raised all over southern California. We moved like 30 times growing up-I had a crazy childhood.
CC: What were your interests growing up?
Kristy: I got into trouble with the law many times when I was young. Before I became a juvenile delinquent at the age of 14, I was involved in competitive swimming and judo. My father loved playing poker. He used to spend all of his spare time down at the old card clubs like the Normindie. He retired at 50 to play poker full time but got really sick and passed away before he could really live his dream.
CC: How did you get involved in documentary film making?
Kristy: I'm sure it was significantly different then vs. now in regards to finances, techniques, and outlets for products. I sort of fell into it...it was one of my many odd jobs that I had. My girlfriend was a top film editor and I used to assist her with some of her side projects which included a couple of documentaries. It was interesting but a labor of love as the pay was shit. Technically speaking, it was much more difficult in those days as we would use film instead of digital and no avid machines yet, etc.
CC: You were underage at the Commerce Casino when you started playing poker. How did you get started?
Kristy: An ex and I used to go down to the Commerce and play Pai Gow all night. After losing all of our cash yet again, I noticed they had poker: hold em, stud and lowball so I took a shot and was hooked.
CC: A young, lovely female in the Commerce Poker Room.
Kristy: I really wasn't that lovely, being a troubled punker at the time. Men didn't really notice me, at least the sane ones didn't.
CC: You worked as a host at the Bicycle Casino's Poker Room. What did you learn during that short period.
Kristy: I was a host recently in 2004 way after I had been a successful player. I was trying to lead a more disciplined life at the time--that didn't last (lol!). It was for a brief period and one of two poker jobs I ever had. I'm not good at having regular hours, having played on my own my entire poker career. The other was a prop job at Pechanga casino in Pala, California. I used to prop the midnight $2-4 Hold em' game with two other props and one live one. If no one re-bought, the house would get all the money at the end of the night. Pechanga had just opened and it was two trailers, but now it's a massive casino and hotel.
CC: You must have seen the critical need of proper bankroll management hosting there.
Kristy: Yes, it is always a good idea to have a proper bankroll. Money management is not to thrilling for most players but without it, you have no chance of making it in the long run.
CC: What stakes and where did you play when you were playing full-time?
Kristy: I worked my way up like a true grinder. I played $10-20 to 30-60 stud for a living for years at the Commerce and The Bike. I eventually moved to the higher games and haven't looked back. Now I play poker part time for a living, maybe 40 hours a month max. I have found other avenues which have far less risk and much higher reward then poker. Today, I trade stock options and have real estate investments. I'm semi-retired from poker now which has been a goal since early in my career.
CC: What were your biggest challenges in those first years?
Kristy: Going broke was my biggest challenge early in my career. I tried everything: blackjack, craps, and machines. I couldn't beat them. I also would go broke playing cause I sucked, and it's near impossible to beat the drop at smaller limits; alas, the odd jobs to try and build the bankroll again.
CC: Tell us about your marriage with Bill. How long were you married?
Kristy: We were married for a couple of years, together for 3-4 years. We are still friends and he taught me tons about poker and gambling. He is a world class player and sweet guy; a bit nuts, but I like that in my men :-)
CC: For many of us out in the poker universe, it is a challenge to balance relationships with poker. Do you think being involved with another poker player is easier or more difficult on a relationship, or is it even relevant?
Kristy: I have been married to two poker players and I would not recommend it. It's really tough to have a healthy relationship in general, throw in ego and huge swings and you're in deep shit. I was anyway. Suffice it to say, I no longer date poker players and I'm much happier.
CC: How difficult is it to have a life of balance if you pursue poker?
Kristy: I believe balance is one of the toughest challenges pro players face. Relationships tend to suffer because of the erratic schedule and monetary swings. I have really tried to keep a somewhat normal life outside of poker with my friends and family; there is so much more to life then poker, and it took me along time to learn that.
CC: You're known as a rare breed in today's game, a mixed game specialist. Did that grow from your roots in stud?
Kristy: Yes, for sure. I started playing limit hold em, and it was so hard in LA as there are so many great limit hold em' players. So I took a stab at stud, which I liked better, then moved on to the hi/lo games which are still my faves although 2-7 triple draw and Badugi are growing on me--GAMBLE!!
CC: Tell us about your S.H.O.E. final table in 2001. What a tough final table you had, with John Pham, Paul Darden, Cyndy Violette, Tom McEvoy, and Miami John Cernuto.
Kristy: That was good fun as it was one of the first WSOP events I ever played. I used to go the WSOP to play live for years. Bill suggested I start playing some tourneys as well. I got busted by McEvoy in the stud hi/lo; boy, was I on tilt after that. Pizza and ice cream didn't even help!
CC: You've traveled to Monte Carlo and the UK in the last few months to play. Do you think you'll do more traveling and playing?
Kristy: I plan on traveling to either Vienna or Aruba next month then to Australia in January. I only travel to places I like now (lucky me!). I could never be a full time tournament pro. It is probably one of the toughest and anti-climatic jobs out there. I tried it a bit in 04' and have the utmost respect and admiration for those players who do it.
CC: Would you consider yourself more of a cash game or tournament player?
Kristy: Cash games by far. Right now, I'm a part time cash game player and a once a month or so tourney player. I only play 5K and above tourneys in places I like to travel to.
CC: How do you prepare for a big tournament?
Kristy: I try to sleep, which is tough for me. I also do affirmations and just try to have fun and not be attached to any results. That seems to work well for me. I used to beat the heck out of myself for making mistakes. Now, I just try to learn from them and improve my tournament game.
CC: You've had several WSOP and WPT cashes, but getting deep since the 2001 S.H.O.E. event has been a challenge for you. How do you persevere in these big fields when the results have been less than you want?
Kristy: Just try and stay positive and believe in my ability. I have been making a good living in this game for 14 years so I just stay centered and balance my life with friends, family and work.
CC: You're involved in FullTilt Poker . How much do you play online vs. live?
Kristy: It really varies. I play maybe 5-10 hours a month on FullTilt. I play way less online then I use to. My table on FullTilt poker is $1-2 Pot Limit Omaha hi/lo...yum yum!!
CC: Do you have a network of other players as a resource for your improvement and encouragement?
Kristy: I used to more then now, although I do have quite a few friends who are world class players whom I can call and discuss poker with. I also like to talk to new players because poker is changing and I like to keep my mind open and find new ways to think about the game.
CC: The ranks of women poker players are growing, significantly more than when you started. My impression is that for good to excellent players, gender isn't really relevant at the table. Is that the case, or do players still act and play differently with a woman at the table?
Kristy: Gender is relevant for about 10 seconds then it becomes war, kill or be killed. That is gender free.
CC: Do you have any new projects that you'd like to talk about?
Kristy: No projects but check out One.org to help end world hunger!! My website is : www.kristygazes.com, that's the best way to reach me.
CC: And five or ten years from now, what do you see yourself doing?
Kristy: Spending at least half the year following the sun and wave and having a center for domestically abused women and children.