The Betting Beauties of Poker

Dirt of the Day

Ok, let’s face it, the patriarchy is gone. Ok, not gone, but it’s slowly and surely fading away, day by day until it will become a mere memory. Women are and will always be the beautiful sex, but that doesn’t necessarily make them weak and helpless. Countless examples abound of professions and industries where women reign. One example is poker.

Up until a few years ago, poker was another “man’s game,” but at some point, a few female pioneers entered the industry and from that point on, the status quo of poker was changed by women forever. Here are some of the most skilled and successful female players taking the world of poker by storm.

Vanessa displaying her usual competence.


Competence Breeds Confidence

Stepping into a “man’s game” and then dominating it too takes skills and a big dose of self-confidence. Well, Vanessa Selbst has both. Hands down, she is the best female poker player. In her 12 years-long professional career, Vanessa has won countless prizes, managing to dominate and make money at a lot of tournaments and events. Selbst got to play at two World Poker Tour final tables, the North American Poker Tour and has three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, which she won in 2008, 2012 and 2014. She has also won main events like the Partouche Poker Tour, winning her career record of $1.8 million. With more than $11.8 million in winnings over the years, this aggressive poker lady and her record will be hard to beat, even if she stepped away from the professional scene in January 2018.

Poker Pioneering

The next female poker pro on the list can be called a real pioneer for women in poker. Her name is Kathy Liebert and she’s the first woman to ever win a $1 million first-place prize when she entered the PartyPoker Millions event in 2002. Liebert’s first cash win was in 1994 and since then, she has won more than $6 million in live tournament winnings. Liebert has been a World Series of Poker regular for almost two decades, with her first WSOP final table being in 1997. Before poker, she was a Wall Street business analyst, so it’s safe to say she knows how to extract the most value from situations and protect her chips when the cards are stacked against her.

Annie Duke at the 2007 WSOP.


Lil’ Sis Can Play

The female poker pro who comes next is Howard Lederer’s little sister, Annie Duke. Right off the bat, a notable achievement is that she is the only woman to ever win the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. That said, it’s clear she’s a highly adaptable player, knowing how and when to mix things up and against whom. That’s why she won the WSOP Tournament of Champions for $2 million in 2004 against a field of poker pros, including her brother, Howard. Duke’s last live tournament was the 2010 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions where she finished in eighth place.

Online or Offline – What’s the difference?

Next on our list is Annette Obrestad, a Norwegian online poker pro who got the world’s attention when she won the World Series of Poker Europe in 2007 with a prize of more than $2 million. Since that epic win, she has made many main events final tables on the European Poker Tour and won at the 2010 Aussie Millions a prize of $175,000 AUD. Continuing her momentum, Obrestad earned multiple top 100 finishes at the World Series of Poker Main Events (2010, 2012 and 2013, respectively) only to return after several years of taking a break with another top 100 finish at the 2017 World Series of Poker $3,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em 6-Handed Event.

Consistency is Key

The next female player has been absent from professional poker play since 2013, but it’s no big deal. Why? Because few lady players have had Vanessa Rousso’s performance consistency and success. Her career’s best performance is the EPT Grand Final Monte-Carlo in 2009 where she won against some of poker’s biggest names and went home with more than $700,000. This American poker pro racked up multiple six-figure scores in 2006, 2009 and 2011 as well as finishing fifth place at the 2010 WSOP Heads-Up No-Limit Hold ‘em Championship, winning $92,580 in prize money. Although she’s no longer active, Vanessa Rousso remains one of the top female poker players.

The Iron Maiden in action


The Student Has Become the Master

Next up is Phil Hellmuth’s mentee and “Iron Maiden,” Liv Boeree. Although she’s one of the youngest players on the list, her poker career doesn’t lack achievements. Her big breakthrough was the victory in the EPT San Remo in 2010, which earned the British pro just under $1.7 million. That performance was followed up with several wins at the World Series of Poker Main Events in Las Vegas and Cannes. She is the only female poker player to have won a WSOP bracelet and an EPT Championship. She also won the European Poker Awards’ Female Player of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2016, which were based on her Global Poker Index points during that time. Boeree is one of the most active players on our list, with her most recent and highest ranking being 10th place at the 2017 PokerStars Festival London High Roller Event.

TAG Woman at the Cash Table

Last but not least on our list is Jennifer Harman, a female poker pro most known for being a cash game player, coming up in the mid-1980’s and slowly having started the climb until she got to play at the same table with poker legends like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu on shows like “High Stakes Poker.” She has also played in tournaments with impressive results. Two World Series of Poker bracelets can attest to that. Although she is no longer active in the live poker circuit, her success has secured her the title of one of the best female poker players.

To Sum Things Up

So, there you have it. Having read this article, you can’t help but be confident about the future of women in poker. This game is fun and complex, and it takes a lot of the player, but it can also give back at least ten-fold, drawing more and more women to the sport. It also requires discipline, analytical skills, patience and of course, women’s secret weapon: multitasking.

A closer look at the battle of the sexes, poker style.



Dirty and Thirty

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