From math teacher to poker pro: the fascinating journey of Cathy "Cat" Hulbert
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From math teacher to poker pro: the fascinating journey of Cathy "Cat" Hulbert

Categories: blackjack, gambling history, live poker 7 Apr 2023 105 0

In 1996, Card Player magazine published an article naming the top 7-card stud players in the world. The only woman on the list was Cathy “Cat” Hulbert. The article said, “It must be emphasized that there is zero tokenism in the selection of Cat. She is that good.” And since then, her game has only gotten better. Prior to her poker career, Cathy traveled the world as one of the first female professional card counters. She was a member of the famous Czech team and was part of Ken Uston’s group in Atlantic City, where she was arrested more than 50 times for trespassing. Cathy became so notorious that she was barred from casinos in Asia before she even sat down at a table. Once, determined to beat casino surveillance, she donned a wig and full beard and
took acting lessons to perfect her disguise as a man.

Between blackjack and poker, Cathy was also a professional slot player, running a team of octogenarians who sat and pulled handles for her when progressive jackpots reached profitable levels. “Slot machines were the grimiest, dirtiest, hardest work I’ve ever done,” says Cathy. “It’s the lowest form of gambling you can do.” Still, it was good for a few hundred thousand dollars. 

Finally, after burning out on blackjack and slots, Cathy moved on to poker.


Cathy "Cat" Hulbert is a name that is well-known in the world of poker. She is a professional poker player who has achieved remarkable success in the game. However, what many people may not know is that before she became a poker pro, Cathy Hulbert was a math teacher. Her journey from math teacher to poker pro is an inspiring tale of determination, passion, and hard work. In this article, we will explore the fascinating journey of Cathy "Cat" Hulbert.

Cathy Hulbert was born in 1954 in Southern California. Her father was a math teacher, and her mother was a nurse. Cathy's father instilled a love of mathematics in her from a young age. She excelled in the subject and went on to study mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. After college, Cathy became a high school math teacher.

However, teaching math was not Cathy's passion. She found herself longing for something more exciting, something that would challenge her mind in new ways. That something turned out to be poker.

The early days

Cathy's interest in poker began in her early 20s. She played the game with friends and family, and quickly realized that she had a natural talent for it. Cathy began to study the game intensely, reading books and practicing her skills whenever she could.

Despite her growing love for the game, Cathy continued to teach math for several years. However, she eventually decided to take a leap of faith and pursue her dream of becoming a professional poker player.

The first tournament

In 1984, Cathy entered her first poker tournament. She didn't win, but she did well enough to realize that she had a real shot at making it as a poker pro. Cathy continued to play in tournaments, and in 1993, she won her first World Series of Poker bracelet in a seven-card stud event.

Success on the tournament circuit

Cathy's success in the 1993 World Series of Poker was just the beginning. She went on to win two more bracelets, one in 2006 and another in 2009. Cathy has also had numerous other cashes in major tournaments, including multiple World Poker Tour final table appearances.

Breaking barriers

Cathy Hulbert has been a trailblazer for women in poker. She was one of the first female professional poker players, and she has been a vocal advocate for gender equality in the game. Cathy has also been a mentor to many young women who aspire to play poker professionally.

Life lessons from poker

For Cathy Hulbert, poker is not just a game. It is a way of life, and it has taught her many valuable lessons that she applies both on and off the felt. Cathy believes that poker has helped her to develop discipline, focus, and patience. These skills have helped her in all aspects of her life, from her poker career to her personal relationships.

Cathy "Cat" Hulbert's journey from math teacher to poker pro is an inspiring tale of following one's dreams and never giving up. Her success on the tournament circuit and her advocacy for gender equality in poker have made her a role model for players of all genders. Cathy's life is proof that with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck, anyone can achieve their dreams.

See more: Legendary gamblers: Amarillo Slim, Legendary gamblers: Nikos "Nick the Greek" Dandolas


Q: How did Cathy Hulbert become interested in poker?

A: Cathy Hulbert's interest in poker began when she was introduced to the game by a friend during her early 20s. She quickly developed a love for the game and began playing regularly, eventually turning it into a career.

Q: What are some of Cathy Hulbert's biggest poker accomplishments?

A: Cathy Hulbert has had numerous successes throughout her poker career, including winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in 1990 and being the first woman to win an event at the Bicycle Club's Legends of Poker tournament.

Q: Has Cathy Hulbert faced any challenges as a woman in the male-dominated world of poker?

A: Yes, Cathy Hulbert has faced challenges as a woman in the poker world. She has spoken publicly about experiencing discrimination and being underestimated by male players. However, she has also used these experiences to motivate herself and push even harder to succeed.

Q: What advice does Cathy Hulbert have for aspiring poker players?

A: Cathy Hulbert advises aspiring poker players to be persistent, work hard, and always continue to learn and improve. She also stresses the importance of managing your bankroll and not letting emotions control your decisions at the table.

Q: What is Cathy Hulbert doing now?

A: While Cathy Hulbert is no longer playing poker professionally, she remains involved in the poker community as a writer and commentator. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pursuing other interests outside of poker.

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