WSOP Main Event 1D: The Selbst way

wsop2010_thn.jpgMadness. That's how some people have described it.

For generations, wide-eyed and uninspired populations of dullards have looked upon the greatest minds of their generation as, putting it nicely, positively mad. Goofy. Nutjobs.

For most poker players--even some very good ones--that's a category into which they can pigeonhole one of Team PokerStars' Pro's newest members, Vanessa Selbst. When she shows down a hand, most players' heads simply explode into a pink foam over their cards. The afflicted simply can't wrap their noodles around how Selbst even started playing the hand, let alone win with it.

"There is no mystery to Vanessa's game," said Peter Jetten at this year's NAPT Mohegan Sun event in Connecticut. "She just puts everybody on seven-high and proceeds from there."

Selbst went on to win that event for $750,000.

Earlier this week, Selbst proudly donned a Team PokerStars Pro patch. A longtime free agent, Selbst decided to settle down with an elite stable of pros that might understand her better (but likely not). Selbst is, for lack of a better term, a mad scientist of poker. If you don't understand her, just stand out of her way and make sure the explosion doesn't send you to the dry cleaners.

If somehow you have missed Selbst's rise from relative obscurity to poker genius, you were probably still spending too much time trying to figure out how to play pocket jacks. For the past five years, she's been dumbfounding opponents with style and success. She made her first WSOP final table in 2006. She came back the following year to place third in the $5,000 heads-up event. One year later, she became the latest woman to win a WSOP bracelet when she crushed the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event. As if that wasn't enough, she finished third in the $10K heads-up event. It was enough for folks to think, "Maybe this girl isn't just getting lucky."

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It might be easy to hate on Selbst if it weren't for the fact she's actually a good person to boot. A Yale grad (and current Yale law student) Selbst cares less about making money than she does fighting for social issues. When she finally passes the bar, she has no intention of going for high-dollar corporate law job. She will use her brain to fight for stuff that actually matters. All that and she'll check-raise you without blinking.

Known at onetime on PokerStars as suckoutqueen, Selbst will now be playing under the more recognizable screen name 'V. Selbst'. If anything, that will give her opponents a greater chance of getting out of her way at the tables.

Selbst is making her Team PokerStars Pro debut here at the 2010 WSOP Day 1D. Like everything in Selbst's arsenal, this event is volatile. It would surprise exactly zero members of this blog staff if Selbst finished Day 1D with the overall chip lead.

In the meantime, just remember: if you're playing against Selbst, she is putting you on seven-high and proceeding from there.

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TWEET OF THE HOUR

Vanessa Selbst: "Still card dead but I did manage to backraise Tom marchese. 30k"

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DEFINITION OF THE HOUR

You know how we know we're not as good a Vanessa Selbst? We'd never heard of a "backraise." We looked it up. Apparently a backraise is when you flat call a bet in position, and then re-raise when a later-position player raises you. In other words, it's a move we could only make if we were drunk.

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YOU DO THE MATH OF THE HOUR/PHONE CALL HOME OF THE HOUR

Player on cell-phone:

"I'm out."
Pause.
"We started with 30,000."
Pause.
"Er, none. That's what I said. I'm out."

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COMEDY GENIUSES OF THE HOUR

Not everyone can be a poker genius like Vanessa Selbst. However, we do have some comic geniuses in our midst.

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Hank Azaria


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Jason Alexander


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SECOND OVERHEARD TELEPHONE CONVERSATION QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"There's a guy at my table, I think I know him. Some second rate pro."

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PHOTO FINISH OF THE HOUR

Number of motor scooters charging up the corridor of the Amazon Room: 3
Winning the race of motor scooters charging up the corridor of the Amazon Room: Doyle Brunson

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BLOG POST THAT'S NOT POKERSTARS BLOG OF THE HOUR

Daniel Negreanu goes hand-by-hand through his day one.