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That is a plateful of responsibilities, but there is more. Lynn is a wife and mother, daughter and friend, actress and producer, Irish-born and Australian-grown world traveler, holistic health proponent, and all-around positive force. And she is a poker player when time permits.
I had a chance to chat with her at the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas, just before she entered the tournament area to play Day 3 of the Main Event. It was her second year in a row to play and cash. And as she generously agreed to answer a few questions, she was glowing with anticipation, anxiety, lack of sleep, poker chart overload, a huge smile, and oh-so-much gratitude.
Poker players wear many proverbial hats. They are parents and grandparents, laborers and lawyers, retirees and traders, and recreationals and pros. They hail from the gamut of socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances, and they bring a variety of life experiences with them to the tables.
In that way, Lynn Gilmartin was no different than many of her competitors in the WPT World Championship Main Event. She was one of 480 players (out of thousands in the historic tournament) who survived the money bubble and started Day 3 with the guarantee of at least $18,700 in return for her $10,400 entry.
Also like her competitors, she brings her unique story to the felt. It just so happens she lives that story partially in the spotlight and on social media, some on television and film screens, and the rest in private.
Lynn took some time off from her job with the World Poker Tour to play the tournament, as she has worked and continues to work the rest of the monthlong series. She walks the tournament area to welcome players, films segments for multiple online and filmed platforms, and attends meetings about all of it.
We just kicked off Day 1A of the @WPT World Championship $40,000,000 GTD @WynnLasVegas @WynnPoker!Chip Counts & Live Updates: https://t.co/hl1MeMRhtVHere's your guide to the ballroom from @LynnGilmartin 👇 pic.twitter.com/Pfk6w5YiMd— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 12, 2023
We just kicked off Day 1A of the @WPT World Championship $40,000,000 GTD @WynnLasVegas @WynnPoker!
Chip Counts & Live Updates: https://t.co/hl1MeMRhtV
Here's your guide to the ballroom from @LynnGilmartin 👇 pic.twitter.com/Pfk6w5YiMd
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) December 12, 2023
She balances all of it with being the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old son. She and her husband, poker pro Angel Guillen, play alternate flights and solicit the help of family and friends to watch Bodhi when they must play on the same days. It’s sometimes tricky to strike the right balance.
This was a special tournament to play. When the World Poker Tour first partnered with Wynn in 2022, they introduced their collective efforts with the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas, a massive extravaganza of tournaments to celebrate – with players – the 20th anniversary of the World Poker Tour. Lynn wanted to play the Main Event, as it was an opportunity to participate in a historic tournament at a celebratory time for the company. It didn’t hurt that the Main Event guaranteed $15M in the prize pool. And she not only cashed in that event but finished in 91st place out of 2,960 entries.
Lynn didn’t hesitate to play again this year. And she not only made it through her starting flight, she finished Day 2 with chips to bag.
Her tournament journey and preparation for Day 3 can be compared to many players in a number of ways…but there were some key differences from Lynn and the rest of the field.
• WPT and Wynn executives, members of the media, and women in the Royal Flush crew pass her table frequently, wishing her luck, giving fist bumps and hugs, openly cheering for her success.• Lynn is stunningly beautiful. She glows, seemingly effortlessly.• She is widely recognizable from WPT broadcasts and her social media presence.• Her positivity stands out, as she smiles, encourages others, never complains, and always tries to share her joy with others at the tables.
When she arrived to chat and then play Day 3 this year, Lynn admitted she had only three hours of sleep. It wasn’t because of her toddler or responsibilities at home, it was solely her excitement that kept her wired. “It’s surreal!” she said. “I can’t believe it! I’ve been visualizing it all year long. Last year was the greatest ride. I had the time of my life. The amount of support I received was the biggest highlight.”
Lynn is no newbie to poker. She has been playing for years in several capacities, often in charity tournaments or women-only tournaments, but also in highly competitive Main Event action. And especially when the World Poker Tour travels to her home country of Australia, she tends to play as much as her job requirements allow.
And she’s had her share of success. She final tabled the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Sydney Ladies Event in 2009 and won the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Peru Ladies Event in 2011. She found her self in the winner’s circle again in 2015 when she won the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona Women’s Event. But her 2022 WPT World Championship Main Event cash for $36,500 was her largest to that point.
When she left Wynn at the end of her Day 2 this year, knowing that she was in the money, she was concerned about having only 14 big blinds. She would return on Day 3 and need to run it up, make some early decisions.
On to DAY THREE and we are IN THE MONAAAAAAY in the @WPT World Championship!!! 💰 I bagged 215,000, good for 14bb. 🚀 480/3835 players left$5.68m for first!!! 🏆 #WPTWC pic.twitter.com/tzcdJkjxkE— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) December 17, 2023
On to DAY THREE and we are IN THE MONAAAAAAY in the @WPT World Championship!!! 💰 I bagged 215,000, good for 14bb. 🚀 480/3835 players left$5.68m for first!!! 🏆 #WPTWC pic.twitter.com/tzcdJkjxkE
— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) December 17, 2023
Lynn confessed that she wished she had spent more time studying to improve her game throughout the year. “I wish I had put in long hours to better myself,” she said. “Also, I have one of the greatest minds in poker in my house! Angel is a pro and a great coach (for other players).”
So, on the morning of Day 3, Lynn enlisted Angel’s help. They sat together with charts and studied 10BB and 15BB ranges. That was another key difference between Lynn and her competitors. Most players don’t have access to experienced poker minds like Angel at home.
Even so, Lynn couldn’t find the right spot to run up her stack of 14BB. She exited the tournament in 454th place. And other than the payout card in her hand, it would be difficult to tell that she just busted, as her gratitude for the experience shone so brightly.
The #WPTWC dream ends this year in 454th place but wow am I proud of cashing 2/2 in the @WPT World Championship! 🤩 This is a tournament of pure elegance. What a ride. Thank you for all the support!!! And thanks to my glamorous rail for lighting up my walk outta the ballroom!… pic.twitter.com/UUxvCnxCv7— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) December 17, 2023
The #WPTWC dream ends this year in 454th place but wow am I proud of cashing 2/2 in the @WPT World Championship! 🤩 This is a tournament of pure elegance. What a ride. Thank you for all the support!!! And thanks to my glamorous rail for lighting up my walk outta the ballroom!… pic.twitter.com/UUxvCnxCv7
It is clear that the World Poker Tour supported Lynn’s Main Event run. But her employer – work family, as she calls them – are supportive in many other ways, notably her decision to have only one home…in Australia. Becoming a mother, she wanted to be near her family Down Under, a mere 7,500 miles from the WPT offices in Southern California. President and CEO Adam Pliska did not hesitate to make it work.
“I could not imagine working for a more supportive company now that I’m a mum,” she explained. “Adam has been my biggest cheerleader in so many ways. And since becoming a mum, especially, I’ve been able to shave back a lot of the travel. He’s given me this space to adjust into motherhood, which has been such a gift.”
That flexibility allows her, Angel, and Bodhi to maintain a home base in Australia but travel to North America twice per year for work. Almost always, the trio travels together, and Angel’s mother sometimes travels with them or meets them at a particular location in the United States. Every trip to the US either starts or ends with a visit to the rest of Angel’s family in Mexico as well.
In turn, Bodhi – a name that means “enlightened one” – is growing up as a bilingual person, a multicultural citizen of the world, and even one who knows a little about poker. “We did buy Bodhi a giant deck of cards,” Lynn admitted. “He’s two and a half, so we thought that was a good age for it.”
Get this man a host! pic.twitter.com/hh3STFH0w9— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) December 7, 2023
Get this man a host! pic.twitter.com/hh3STFH0w9
— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) December 7, 2023
Lynn’s journey through poker started with reporting from poker tournaments around the world for PokerNews. She covered tournaments across Latin America, Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region. And it was during that time that she befriended fellow on-camera reporters Kristy Arnett (now Kristy Moreno) and Sarah Grant (now Sarah Herring).
The three women became closer as they traveled, navigated womanhood, found and married their loves, and then had children.
“It was a total coincidence that we all fell pregnant at the same time, within six weeks of each other,” Lynn explained. “Kristy was living in California, Sarah was in Texas, and I was in Australia, so we started using an app to send video messages. It is now a big stream of our history through motherhood, with everything from special moments to 3am-hiding-in-the-bathroom-crying moments. Sarah already had one child, so she was our expert. We still use the app to stay in close touch.”
Further, that friendship still carries through their unique careers in poker and travels around the world. About every six months, Kristy and poker pro husband Andrew travel to Australia with their son Miles, or Lynn, Angel, and Bodhi travel to America. “It’s been priceless. Miles and Bodhi now have such a special friendship that we want to help nurture. They’re only two and a half, but we want them to grow up with that closeness despite the physical distance at times.
Lynn has been a proponent of women-only poker tournaments throughout her career. As previously mentioned, she has a history of doing well when she plays them. But her time in poker has shown her how much they mean to many women in the game.
Her embrace of women in poker has played a role in more women coming to the tables. And they tell Lynn about it. “All the time, I hear about how excited women are about poker, how much they love it, and how much they enjoy ladies’ events. I think they have a really special place in the industry to create that entry point for someone who might otherwise be intimidated by the overwhelming number of men in the room.”
She is just one of many at the World Poker Tour who have seen women’s desire to play live poker. That was a part of the inclusion of the WPT Ladies World Championship in the WPT World Championship festival that the Wynn introduced last year. The WPT and Wynn decided on a $200K guarantee on the $1K buy-in tournament last year, and the 578 entries pushed that prize pool up to $560,660. This year, the change of the schedule changed the size of the field, but the prize pool still came to $443,290.
Many women who compete in poker tournaments or play cash games have children. Their circumstances present hurdles to being able to play as much as they would like. Lynn has heard from these women and has some advice.
“A tip for all mums is to remember: Just because we can do it all doesn’t mean we should. With that said, it’s important to find a balance. If playing poker is something that brings you joy and something you want in your life, definitely do it! It’s good for our mental health, to exercise our brains and give us that extra something to motivate and challenge us. As physical exercise is important for the body, poker is something that feeds the mind, similar to chess. And to incorporate that into your family – or at least make time for it – is valuable, a gift of learning lessons in games of strategy and skill that you apply to business and life.”
Next stop! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Sc0eEV7xQE— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) November 30, 2023
Next stop! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Sc0eEV7xQE
— Lynn Gilmartin (@LynnGilmartin) November 30, 2023
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