Success means value and "wanting to be there" for Vanessa Selbst

Thumbnail image for PS Women logo.jpgTeam PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst didn't take long to rack up another live tournament victory in 2012. She took down a $5100 event at the LA Poker Classic (LAPC) for a $140,000 payday in what she called "one of the toughest fields I've ever played in." She followed that up with a 2nd place finish in the LAPC $5100 heads-up event. These top finishes added even more stellar performances to Selbst's resume and Hendon Mob profile, as well as propelling her to a top five ranking for the first time in the Global Poker Index (on the week of March 5).

But how does an elite player like Selbst, who has the bankroll and freedom to play in pretty much any event she would like to, choose between an ever-crowded tournament calendar that often pits one enticing event against another? Vanessa told Pokerstars Women that she plays "whatever I'm in the mood to play and makes sense geographically. I'm not a crazy grinder so I take a lot of time off for sightseeing and relaxing, and I just play when I feel like playing. I think that helps me stay sane and focused--if I come out to play it's because I want to be there. This year has been influenced by the fact that my girlfriend is traveling with me to see the world, so we're trying to go to the most interesting and fun places--hence the upcoming trip to Vienna, Berlin, and of course Monaco (for the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Finale)."
Selbst's fans often wonder if she'll pop up at high buy-in events such as this year's Super-High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, with its $100,000 entry fee. Selbst said she would rather play in a large field with more amateurs than a small, elite tournament: "I'm basically a bankroll nit, and I don't love variance. While the high rollers are fun because they're a much greater challenge and you can hit a big score, I think they're fun to play on occasion only. The key to a successful career is about finding the best value whenever I can."


The largest buy-in poker tournament of all-time is coming up at the 2012 World Series of Poker, the Million Dollar One Drop tournament. However, Vanessa is still weighing her options. "I'm still on the fence about playing it--it's really about whether I'm going to be able to raise the money, and I haven't actually started trying." Vanessa added that she was glad to be asked about it because of some controversy over her remarks. "I was misquoted and have been hearing a lot of backlash about how people thought I made disparaging comments about the event. Personally, I don't think it should be a regular bracelet event, but I think the event is a great idea in creating a lot of buzz and generating lots of money for a great charity."

Selbst's determination to play in events where she has the biggest edge possible is a good lesson for all grinders. We can be sure that whatever events she ends up playing, whether among thousands or an elite few tables at the One Drop, she'll be making a splash.

To join Vanessa in Monaco for the PokerStars Women Live event at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final (April 29-May 2), qualify via satellite for the €215 tournament (Sundays at 15:00) with a €2,500 package guaranteed. See the PokerStars Women site for all the details on the upcoming tournament.

Jennifer Shahade
@PokerStars in PS Women