Vanessa Selbst in work mode and heads-up for victory in Las Vegas

The 2014 World Series of Poker just began in Las Vegas this week. And Vanessa Selbst is already heads-up for a gold bracelet.

Is anyone really surprised?

The first day of tournaments at the Rio offered a $25K buy-in NLHE Mixed Max event, one of the highest buy-ins of the series. It offered four days of action, starting at nine-handed on Day 1, then moving to six-handed on Day 2 and four-handed on Day 3. The final four players took to heads-up play.

After Day 1, Selbst was the overall chip leader. When players bagged chips at the end of Day 2, she was in third place on the leaderboard. When Day 3 played out, she made it to the final four and defeated Al Decarolis in that heads-up match to make it to the final against Jason Mo.

Selbst - WSOP 2014 Event 2.jpg

Photo courtesy of PokerNews

We caught up with Vanessa as she arrived in Vegas for the Series and asked about her plans:

PokerStars Women: What are your plans for a summer of tournaments in Las Vegas?

Vanessa Selbst: I plan on playing poker most days but realized how much having others around really improves my psyche and my game, so we've rented a house with some friends. It has all the makes of a good WSOP home: a short drive to the Rio, a pool with a view of the Strip, and a BBQ grill. My wife and pups will be here to cheer me on, too.

PSW: Do you have any specific goals for the Series?

Vanessa: My goal is to not have several tournaments where I bust out at 2am on the very last hand of the day.

PSW: You mentioned the importance of balance in your 2014 goals. How to you intend to achieve that amidst the madness that the World Series can be?

Vanessa: To be quite honest, it's really hard to have balance during the WSOP because this is when games are best, and the start of the WSOP is something I look forward to every year. It's easy to forget that everything else exists once I'm here; the energy can be intoxicating. This year, I've tried to switch up my approach by surveying the complete WSOP schedule and building in some days off ahead of time to hang out with friends, golf, or boat on Lake Mead. Of course, I am in word mode until the last day of the Main Event, and then after that, I'm taking a very long time off to unwind and recharge.

PSW: Do you have any advice for others who are excited or nervous about the long grind of the Series?

Vanessa: Remember that it's a long summer, and things can turn around in an instant. In 2012, I came super close to a bracelet in the first event I played, and by the end of the Series, I was getting discouraged. I went on to win a bracelet in one of the last events of the summer. Anything can happen!


It looks like Vanessa is starting super close to a bracelet again, but this time, she is the favorite to win despite the starting chip counts.

The action starts at 2pm PT in Las Vegas, and live updates on various sites will track the action. And if you're in Las Vegas, head over to the Rio to join what will undoubtedly be a fun and energetic rail for Vanessa.

Best of luck, Vanessa!

Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in Vanessa Selbst