In any given year, the people who make $1 million playing tournament poker is very small. If you look at live tournament results alone over the past couple of years, it's usually sixty or so people who crest that seven-figure mark in a calendar year. It's an elite group by almost any measure.
This year, Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst has once again (yes, again) earned more than $1 million playing tournament poker alone. This weekend's third place finish at the WPT Five Diamond in Las Vegas for $338,000 pushed her into seven figures. Almost all of that money comes from live play. Her 2011 live results account for $974,423 of the cash. One only needs to add the $53,964 she won last January playing the Sunday Million to take Selbst over the $1 million mark. Again.
One could easily argue that Selbst had a better 2010 than any poker player in the world. Sure, she finished sixth on the 2010 live money list, but if you look at the top five players you'll note one thing: they all made the WSOP final table. Selbst, meanwhile, just toured the globe and crushed souls wherever she went. It was the kind of year few people have, and one most people would be happy to have once in their lives. Selbst had that year last year, and then turned around and banked seven figures again in 2011.
Indeed, there are few people who can take a $2.86 million year and back it up with another $1 million year. Selbst is one of those people, one of those few who can claim back-to-back seven-figure years.
Here's how she did it:
This kind of poker earning comes from a women who has split her time between poker and finishing her law degree at Yale. She's soon to have that part of her education behind her, leaving her to focus on whatever she decides is the right thing.
It all comes from a woman who wrote earlier this year, "I'm excited for what the future holds, but of course, as always with us poker players, it can change any minute, so who really knows? That's why I'm constantly trying to live in the 'now' and not feel bound by future plans."
Selbst's current "now" is a million-dollar "now." As for the future? Whatever it is, it seems clear she can afford it.
Congrats, Vanessa, on another big finish and another seven-figure year.