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Vanessa Selbst is an anomaly in the poker world. Poker is a male-dominated game. Thirty years ago, the idea of a woman being able to play poker was not only laughed at, but in many games women were mistreated and outright banned from playing. That has obviously changed and women have proven themselves to be just as capable as men at the tables. Selbst has been an established pro for years now, but in 2010 she has had a record year. In addition to being a dominant female player, she is also one of the only openly gay poker players that regularly travel the poker circuit.
Selbst originally hails from Brooklyn, NY. She received her undergraduate degree at Yale University and has moved on to Yale Law School where she hopes to pursue a career in civil rights law. Yes, you heard that right. Selbst is a poker player that has other career aspirations. She was also head of the Queer-Straight Alliance at Yale. Selbst plays poker online to help support herself while she is in school. The fact that she is still determined to go into law baffles many considering her strong poker career. Let’s take a look at some of her accomplishments.
Selbst first started making a name for herself in 2006 when she finished 7th in a $2,000 NL Event at the World Series of Poker. The next year, she made a final table at the WSOP in the Ladies Event and finished 3rd in the $5,000 Heads-Up NL Event. In 2008, she made two final tables at the WSOP, including her first bracelet win in the $1,500 PL Omaha Event. She spent most of 2009 focused on law school and playing at top poker sites for Mac. However, in 2010 she had what has turned out to be a career year.
First, Vanessa won the NAPT Main Event at Mohegan Sun in April for $750,000. Then after cashing in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, Vanessa had the biggest score of her poker career when she won the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in Cannes. This netted her over $1.8 Million in top prize money and boosted her career earnings to $3.76 Million for her career. She is now 3rd on the Women’s All-Time Money list. Only Annie Duke and Kathy Liebert are ahead of Selbst on the Women’s list.
The great part about poker is that while it is a male-dominated sport, sexuality does not play a part to many players. In fact, many people did not know that Selbst was gay until certain website described her as a “woman who likes women.” Even with that revelation, many do not care. Why? The reason is that in poker, the object is to win the other person’s money or knock them out of a tournament. In the end, the object is to be the best poker player. Vanessa Selbst is not only well on her way to being one of the best female poker players of all-time, but also as one of the best players period.