Vanessa Rousso, just an Ordinary Girl
by Rebekah Mercer
She wiggles her ears, chews gum, and claims that her crew is "a bunch of super-smart geeky guys," but from what we see of Vanessa Rousso, it's a bit of a stretch to say that the Team PokerStars Pro is ordinary in any way. Sure, she oversleeps on occasion, chews gum, and ran for Student Council in high school, all rather ordinary. Just like us.
But what about that $3.7 million she won in a little over four years--going head-to-head with the world's toughest poker pros around the globe? And let's not forget those poker boot camps she teaches to neophyte poker players, utilizing her degree from Duke and her background in game theory. Then of course, there's her very public persona as a Go Daddy girl and a spokesperson for PokerStars, a position that keeps her front and center in the public eye. All rather ordinary, wouldn't you agree?
Okay, maybe not "ordinary," the operative word seems to be extraordinary. But when you watch our special 17-minute documentary video at the end of this story, you'll see that given all that, she is still grounded and focused and not a bit like what you might expect from someone who has achieved megastar status in the poker world at a very young age (27) and in a very short time (four years).
Star or not, Vanessa is one of the most approachable pros on the circuit and has a legion of fans who occupy the rail at every tournament, waiting to catch a word from her or maybe a smile. And at every opportunity, she makes sure they are rewarded with exactly what they came for. She chats with them at breaks, and poses for pictures with a smile and a hug.
But all this is not something she lucked into, as her mom, Cindy Rousso, who sometimes travels with her, will tell you. She is quick to point out that Vanessa has always made the most of the opportunities presented to her. In the video below, she talks about Vanessa's goal-oriented personality and says that her daughter is "an extraordinary young woman." So there you have it, even mom agrees, extraordinary is the word we're looking for!
So what is it really like to be Vanessa Rousso? Is it all fun and games with a few million dollars thrown in and overflowing glasses of champagne? She gives us a quick rundown in one quick clip from the video, so here are a few highlights from just one five-week whirlwind:
Five weeks in the life of Vanessa Rousso
• Leaves Las Vegas (where she lives) and flies to Connecticut to teach a Big Slick Boot Camp in New Hampshire
• Teaches a boot camp there, then plays in the Main Event at Mohegan Sun where she makes it to tenth place out of a field of 800. She cashes for $45,000
• The next day she is on a plane to Paris to film a commercial for PokerStars that takes three days
• Then she travels to San Remo where she teaches another boot camp
• She plays in the EPT San Remo Main Event and does more media events
• Plays the Ladies Event in San Remo
• Arrives in Monte Carlo where the video An Ordinary Girl is being shot
• Teaches a boot camp there and plays the Main Event
• Wraps up with three parties and events in one night
• And finally, back to Las Vegas the next day where she plans to finally have some down time
So check out the video below and see for yourself what it's like to be a star in the poker world as one of the lead spokespersons for PokerStars. Now that you've heard all about it, maybe it does sound like all that jet setting and playing for millions of dollars would get a bit tiring. It's a very busy world and one that Vanessa revels in, but it has its ups and downs as you will see. It's a life that has given her an incredible amount of monetary reward and public recognition, and has led to meeting the man she married, fellow Team PokerStars Pro, Chad Brown.
If you have the opportunity to see Vanessa at an event near you, be sure to say "hello" and have your picture taken. Or better yet, attend one of her boot camps, and you will learn some of the nuances she has to offer about the game that has brought her so much. In the process, maybe you will have a chance to bask in that golden glow that surrounds her a little bit. And while you're at it, you can see for yourself whether the lady is "ordinary," or maybe more appropriately extraordinary.