My Other Life with Kendra Fanara

PM360 recently spoke to Kendra Fanara, Product Director, NA Marketing at Johnson & Johnson, about her poker face.


PM360: I hear you enjoy playing Texas Hold’em poker.

Yes, it’s true. I’m a huge fan of the game. Funny enough, when I first started playing I had a strong disliking for it, but as I got better the game grew on me. I started playing religiously four years ago. Although I haven’t won any tournaments yet, I continue to play hoping to win.

Besides winning, what else do you like about playing poker?

As strange as it may sound, Texas Hold’em actually relaxes me. Sitting at the card table allows me to zone out and focus solely on the game. That’s big for me considering my mind is usually running a mile a minute.

How did you first get into playing?

I grew up playing cards. At most family events, everyone got together—aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc.—and played a card game after the meal. My family had some of the best card games in town! Over time, it morphed into an enjoyment of many different card games, but now I mostly stick to Texas Hold’em. My husband is a very good player and has helped to instill in me the confidence needed to not only play among friends, but in card rooms against very good players.

Do you prefer playing in casinos or just for fun among friends?

I play both for fun and at casinos, but trust me—playing at casinos is much more fun! As soon as I enter the casino, I feel the electricity and excitement and immediately get focused and ready to play. My favorite casinos include Caesars, Isle, and Hard Rock.

How have your skills as a poker player improved over the years?

I’m always learning new things about the game as well as myself. For example, I trust my first instincts as the cards are dealt and tend not to waiver as much. I don’t feel pressured to play hands I don’t have a great feeling about. And I have developed much more patience and learned to pick up on certain character traits of other players that I am convinced has helped me to win, even with some questionable hands.

How is your poker face? Does anyone call your bluff?

I have been told my poker face is pretty good but believe me, it was a learned behavior as there were times early on when I couldn’t contain my excitement when I was dealt great hands. Since then, people have called my bluff plenty of times and have been quite surprised as I laid down my cards. I’m quite small in stature, and not overly intimidating by any means, but folks I played with have learned that winning hands can come in small packages.

Do you have any interests outside of poker you are hoping to pursue at some point?

I conquered golf (which I love), so now I’m moving on to paddle boarding. I am actually starting lessons in four weeks. Stay tuned!


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