Vanessa Selbst wanted only one thing when she walked in the room today. She wanted to win the PCA $25,000 High Roller and take home its $1,424,420 first prize.
"I play for money," she said this morning. "I play for titles. I play for the fun of the game."
That may be true, but today she was also playing for something else. When Bryn Kenney busted in sixth place moments ago, Selbst became the all-time winningest female live tournament poker player. *
For years Kathy Liebert has held that position. Her $5,855,655 in winnings put her in 58th position overall on the all-time money-list. Selbst was just a few spots behind. Now she is guaranteed $289,880 in today's tournament and the distinction of having won more money in live tournaments than any other woman in history.
"It is a great honor. It's a great achievement and definitely something I can be proud of," she said.
But that statement came with a caveat.
"The stats are fun to look at, but it's definitely not what I'm playing for," she said.
As she says, Selbst plays for the money and the joy of of the game. But her achievement cannot be overlooked, and here is why: Liebert's winnings have come over the past two decades. Her first recorded cash came in 1994.
Selbst? She didn't start cashing in live events for another 12 years. That is to say, Selbst has done in less than seven years what it's taken Liebert some 19 years to do.
Now, however, Selbst has other things in mind. She wants to take this one down and pocket the $1.4 million first prize.
"There are no soft spots. Most of the players are really, really good," she said. "I think I thrive really well under tough final tables."
So, good luck to Selbst, and congratulations on an amazing achievement.
* Editor's note: Selbst went on to win the high roller event for $1,424,420
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging