Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst

At the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), Vanessa Selbst became the highest-earning female poker player in history following victory in the $25,000 High Roller. Not only was first place good for $1,424,420, but her success propelled her to the top of the all-time female money list, with tournament earnings in excess of $7,000,000. In less than a decade, the New York native had gone from developing her love of poker at university to crushing the biggest tournaments in the world. And the PCA High Roller isn’t the only major title to appear on her record-breaking résumé.


Vanessa graduated from Yale with a degree in Political Science, before going on to collect a second degree from the prestigious Yale Law School. A lifelong fan of games, including anything from cards to Pacman, she made her first World Series of Poker* final table in 2006, finishing 7th in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event for $101,285. The following year, she finished 3rd in the World Series $5,000 Championship Heads-Up event for $128,968, before finally getting the breakthrough she deserved when she won her first bracelet in 2008. Vanessa beat a tough field of 759 in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event to take the title and $227,993, and came agonisingly close to repeating her feat just days later when she finished 3rd in the $10,000 Championship Heads-Up event for an additional $108,288.

Vanessa Selbst Pictures

Following a string of impressive cashes at events across the US, Vanessa scored a huge $750,000 payday for taking down the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Mohegan Sun Main Event in 2010, confirming her status as one of the most talented players in the game. After a 4th place finish at the EPT London High Roller event for $226,910, the hot-streak continued with victory at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event for an incredible cash of $1,823,430 - the biggest cash of her career so far. Vanessa then made history when she returned to the NAPT Mohegan Sun event in 2011 and won again, becoming the first-ever player to win the same PokerStars live event two years in a row. It was a victory worth $450,000, and rounded off an incredible 12 months of success.

Summer 2012 saw Vanessa crush at the World Series once again, with a string of cashes and her second bracelet win, this time in a $2,500 10 Game event, good for $244,259. And at the 2013 PCA she grabbed the $25,000 High Roller title, notching up the second seven-figure score of her career. Just months later Vanessa almost won another High Roller title, busting in 4th in the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final €25,000 tournament for $380,656. A return to the PCA in 2014 saw Vanessa earn another huge cash of $760,640, this time for finishing third in the $100,000 Super High Roller. She also then came third in the $25,000 High Roller, the same event she won 12 months before, cashing this time for $607,580. Back in Vegas for the 2014 World Series, Vanessa claimed her third bracelet for victory in the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max event for another huge cash of $871,148.

When she isn’t playing poker, Vanessa likes to get involved with political issues such as the fight for social justice. She also likes playing basketball and tennis, and games like pool and darts. Vanessa resides in Toronto, Canada, and you can find her playing online under the screen name ‘V. Selbst’.

Career Highlights

Event DatePositionPrize
2014 WSOP $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Mixed Max May 2014 1st $871,148
PCA $25,000 High Roller January 2014 3rd $607,580
WPT Borgata Open September 2013 2nd $492,569
PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final €25,000 High Roller May 2013 4th $380,656
PCA $25,000 High Roller January 2013 1st $1,424,420
2012 WSOP $2,500 10 Game July 2012 1st $244,259
L.A. Poker Classic $5,100 No Limit Hold’em February 2012 1st $140,295
WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic December 2011 3rd $338,351
NAPT Mohegan Sun $5,000 Main Event April 2011 1st $450,000
Partouche Poker Tour Main Event November 2010 1st $1,823,430
EPT London £20,000 High Roller October 2010 4th $226,910
NAPT Mohegan Sun $5,000 Main Event April 2010 1st $750,000
World Poker Finals $1,850 No Limit Hold’em November 2008 1st $115,000
2008 WSOP $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha June 2008 1st $227,933
2008 WSOP $10,000 Championship Heads-Up June 2008 3rd $108,288
2007 WSOP $5,000 Championship Heads-Up June 2007 3rd $128,968
2006 WSOP $2,000 No Limit Hold’em July 2006 7th $101,285

*World Series of Poker and WSOP are trademarks of Caesars License Company, LLC ("Caesars"). Caesars does not sponsor or endorse, and is not associated or affiliated with PokerStars or its products, services, promotions or tournaments.

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