Top Poker Girls: Celebrating the Leading Female Players of 2023

'Introduction to Female Pioneers in Poker'

Introduction to Female Pioneers in Poker

This is the first part, so it’s on me to set the deck right—pun intended. Now, if we were to shuffle through the pages of poker history, it'd be like staring into a fraternity yearbook. But hold on to your chips, because the winds are shifting. From the smoky back rooms of dusty saloons to the digital tables online, there's an unmistakable surge of femme formidable. Ladies are not just joining the table; they are changing the game.

But let's cut to the chase. Poker has long been a boys’ club, with old stereotypes faster to cling than a bad hand on a losing night. Yet today, we're not just talking about queens on the felt, but real-life queens shaking up the poker kingdom. Haven’t you noticed?

How, you ask? Well, potential lady legends are cropping up everywhere, from high-stakes cash games to major tournament victories. With each royal flush and full house, they are debunking myths and racking up prize money—and let me tell you, the pots are hefty.

Here's a kicker:

  • More women than ever are headlining final tables.
  • Female-focused poker leagues are flourishing.
  • Gender barriers are being bluffed away, one hand at a time.

But, and there's always a but, isn't there? Despite the progress, we're yet to cheer for a female World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion. It's like waiting for a royal flush; you know it’s in the deck, but when will it be dealt?

As we hop onto the next part, "Vanessa Selbst: A Trailblazing Figure", keep this in mind: the green felt is seeing a splash of pink. It's not just a nice touch—it's a bright, bold statement. Vanessa herself is like pocket aces in a world where some folks still can't fathom that women know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Do I hear a collective "about time" from the crowd, or is that just the echo of chips clattering with anticipation?

Now, button up and ante up, because we're heading straight into the heart of the game where Vanessa Selbst is rewriting the rulebook. And between us, it's about time, don’t you think?

'Vanessa Selbst: A Trailblazing Figure'

Vanessa Selbst: A Trailblazing Figure

So, following the tales of female poker trailblazers, how could I possibly forget about Vanessa Selbst? You know, the Yale Law graduate who turned the poker world upside down. Fancy that, a law student with a knack for cards. Just when you thought your law degree was the wildest card up your sleeve.

Vanessa started wielding her card-playing prowess as a teenager. Feels like just yesterday she was stepping into the poker scene, and suddenly, bam! She's stacking chips higher than my pile of unread poker books. By the age of 22, Selbst had already scored a World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table appearance. Not too shabby for a side hustle, right?

Her career reads like a poker fan's dream checklist:

  • First woman to top the Global Poker Index? Check.
  • Over $11 million in live tournament earnings? Oh, huge check.
  • Three WSOP bracelets clinking on her wrist? Triple check.

And it's not just about the wins; it's how she won. Aggressive plays? Mind-bending bluffs? Vanessa penned a whole new chapter on strategy. Ask any player on the circuit; they'll tell you facing her at the table was like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded. And with the cube constantly changing colors.

Retirement, though? Let’s talk about that. Grinds to a peak, conquers the poker summits, and then one day decides to fold her hand to return to a career in law. Who does that? I guess when you've got nothing left to prove at the felt, you chase the next challenge. Courtrooms over cardrooms — it’s got a ring to it, doesn't it?

It's almost comical. We're over here admiring the mountain of achievements, while Vanessa's probably cross-examining someone with the same intensity she once saved for the poker table. Wonder if she ever tosses in a poker face for good measure?

Piggybacking off this legendary narrative, our next piece dives into another awe-inspiring player. Kathy Liebert, a veteran in the world of poker, hasn't just watched the game evolve; she's been dealing the changes. But that's a story for another shuffle.

'Kathy Liebert: A Veteran's Journey'

Kathy Liebert: A Veteran's Journey

Following in the trailblazing steps of Vanessa Selbst, Kathy Liebert's saga at the felt is one for the ages—why, you ask? Well, she's been a fixture at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) since the 1990s, for starters. Imagine maintaining that level of skill and poise at the poker table for decades. Quite the marathon, isn't it?

Now, let's talk numbers. Kathy's racked up nearly $7 million in live tournament winnings. Think about that. That’s a couple of fancy sports cars, a mansion, and lifetime supply of avocados right there! Her resume sparkles with cashes that most of us poker dreamers scribble onto our bucket lists.

But it's not all about the moolah. In 2004, she didn't just play the WSOP, she claimed it. Snagging a WSOP bracelet is akin to getting a Hogwarts acceptance letter—only more exclusive. Kathy's moment came with a victory in the $1,500 Limit Texas Hold'em Shootout event. That shiny piece of poker jewelry earned her a spot in an elite club. How's that for a collection item?

Fast forward to 2010, and what do we have? A well-deserved nod into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. One might say, "About time!" Inducted for her contributions to the game and her exceptional talent, Kathy's name was etched alongside poker's finest femme fatales. How could she not be? Her persistence and prowess have turned poker tables into her personal playground.

Let's roll out a few key points about our veteran poker diva:

  • 1 WSOP bracelet — obviously.
  • 20+ years at WSOP tables — experience that would rival Yoda’s knack for the Force.
  • Almost $7 million winnings —auditor's dream, eh?
  • Hall of Fame inductee — the cherry on top of a stellar career sundae.

As skeptical as we might be about long-term success in poker, Kathy Liebert’s journey is a testament to longevity in a game often defined by the here and now. So, who's next after this paragon of persistence? We have Kristen Bicknell, the embodiment of the modern poker prodigy. Stay tuned to see how the new school stacks up to the legacy left by players like Kathy. Will it be a case of 'out with the old, in with the new,’ or do the classics always have a hold on us?

'Kristen Bicknell: The Modern Era Prodigy'

Kristen Bicknell: The Modern Era Prodigy

Ah, following Kathy Liebert's enduring legacy, we land upon Kristen Bicknell. Ever heard the one about the political science student who turned her poker hobby into a multimillion-dollar career? No, it's not the setup for a joke but the real-life story of Kristen Bicknell, a force of nature on the felt.

So, how did this illustrious journey begin? Picture this: a college dorm room, late-night poker sessions, and the unassuming rise of a future champion. Bicknell'd cut her teeth in the online arenas of poker long before she was bluffing her way through live tournaments. It's like they always say, practice makes perfect, right?

Her transition from virtual chips to tangible stacks came seemingly natural. It wasn't long before Bicknell was nabbing titles like a pro shoplifter—except legally and way more impressively. Her accolades? Oh, just a couple of World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets to casually mention at dinner parties.

Here's a list that could turn even seasoned veterans green with envy:

  • 2013: A gold bracelet and over $173,000 in a WSOP No-Limit Hold'em event. No biggie.
  • 2016: Another bracelet and $290,768 to go with it. I mean, who's counting, right?

But why stop there? In 2017, as if the poker gods scripted it, Bicknell ascended to the rank of the top-ranked female for live tournaments. And for the cherry on top, the Global Poker Index (GPI) named her the Female Player of the Year. Once? Twice? Try three times. Show-off much?

Does all this success make the rest of us look bad? Maybe. Do we care? Of course not! We're too busy cheering on this modern era prodigy. And sure, we all wish we could turn our college night hobbies into award-winning careers. What's next, Kristen? Solving world peace with a royal flush?

With Bicknell's story bookending Kathy Liebert's seasoned narrative, it seems like a tough act to follow. But don't fret; up next in our poker maelstrom is Maria Ho. Talk about a diverse talent. Can she match the prodigious rise of Bicknell? Let's shuffle up and deal to find out.

'Maria Ho: A Diverse Talent in Poker'

Maria Ho: A Diverse Talent in Poker

Transitioning smoothly from the exploits and achievements of Kristen Bicknell, we land squarely in the realm of another female juggernaut of the felt, Maria Ho. Can we talk poker without the multi-talented Maria Ho? I think not.

Remember 2007? Some folks were busy watching "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" premiere for the first time, but we, poker enthusiasts, had our eyes glued to a rising star. Maria Ho burst onto the poker scene during the 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP). One, two, punch – suddenly, she wasn't just a participant; she was a force that commanded attention by finishing as the Last Woman Standing. Is that not the poker equivalent of a mic drop?

Her success wasn't just a singular affair; like a series of well-played hands, she raked in WSOP cashes over the years. Let's tally, shall we?

  • 2007: That spotlight moment at the WSOP.
  • Subsequent years: More WSOP cashes than you can shake a stick at.
  • And....: A World Poker Tour (WPT) title because, why not?

Stepping away from the tables, she didn't drop the ball. She caught it, signed it, and started a new game as a commendable poker commentator.

Have you ever watched poker broadcasts and felt like someone just whispered the secrets of the game in your ear? That was probably Maria Ho. Her commentary is like that friend who explains a joke so well, you almost forget they aren't the one who told it originally.

Now, with all these cards on the table, do you think Maria Ho could take on other talents? Spoiler alert: She did. Hosting duties, on-camera work...the list is likely a mile long by now. Multitasking in poker? Bold, effective, Maria Ho.

Before we shuffle up and deal with the legacy of Annie Duke, The Influential Mentor, take a moment. Absorb the enigmatic energy Maria Ho embodies. Professional card shark, distinguished commentator, and the poker world’s own Swiss Army knife. Impressive...or should I say dealer-iously so?

'Annie Duke: The Influential Mentor'

Annie Duke: The Influential Mentor

Transitioning from the impressive strides of Maria Ho, we find another titan in the realm of poker—Annie Duke. What hasn't she done? From winning a coveted World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet in 2004 to schooling Hollywood elites in the art of the bluff, Duke has left an indelible mark on poker's tapestry. Her career earnings? A cool $4 million. Not too shabby, eh?

So, about that gold bracelet—every poker player's dream, right? Annie snatched hers with a victory in the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split event. A classic "drop the mic" moment in any pro's diary. But let's not stop at the cash and the bling. Annie's influence stretched far beyond the felt.

She shuffled into the limelight not just as a player but as a mentor too. And her students? None other than the glitterati of Tinseltown. Actors and moguls alike sought Duke's sage advice. I mean, who wouldn't want to say, "Annie Duke taught me how to go all-in"? It's like Yoda giving you lightsaber lessons, minus the green complexion and swampy digs.

But don't get it twisted, despite her retirement, the words "fold 'em" don’t quite apply to her legacy. Still skeptical about her influence? Consider this:

  • Authored multiple books on poker strategy. Check.
  • Co-founded a national poker league. Check.
  • Remains a sought-after speaker and decision strategist. Double-check.

Annie Duke has shown that poker smarts can indeed translate to the real-world hustle. And if you're wondering, her acumen is sharper than ever, with or without the chips on the table.

Now, don't you want to hurry up and add "expert bluff caller" to your résumé? Well, thanks to Annie, your odds are looking pretty good.

As we wrap up this segment with a smirk—because, come on, who would've thought poker could rub shoulders with Hollywood—let's prepare to dive into the story of Annette Obrestad: The Young Phenom. Her tale might just inspire you to chase those wild dreams, or at least bluff your way through them.

'Annette Obrestad: The Young Phenom'

Annette Obrestad: The Young Phenom

Coming off a segment about Annie Duke, you might think you've heard all there is about women crushing it in poker, right? Well, think again. Enter the Norwegian wonder, Annette Obrestad, who took the poker world by storm quite literally out of nowhere.

Imagine being 18 and winning a World Series of Poker bracelet. Now, stop imagining, because that's exactly what Annette did. She rocked up to the WSOP Europe in 2007 and snatched the title just a day shy of her 19th birthday. Making the rest of us question, "What were we doing at 18? Probably not rewriting the poker history books!" Right?

But wait — there's more. Not only did she win, she made her mark as the youngest person ever to win a WSOP bracelet. And she didn't stop there. This poker prodigy reportedly won an online tournament without looking at her cards. I mean, who needs to see their cards when intuition plays its hand? Am I right, or is that just showing off?

Here’s a fun list of "Annette-isms" that made her an icon:

  • Bluffing guys twice her age? Check.
  • Taking the poker face to a whole new level? Double-check.
  • Shuffling chips better than most can shuffle a playlist? You bet.

But don't be fooled; life's not all in for Annette anymore. She transitioned as smoothly from high-stakes poker to the shimmering world of makeup and beauty content as she did from PokerStars to YouTube stars. It's true; she's now more likely to go all-in on a smoky eye than a risky bluff.

Her digital platform transition is as seamless as a royal flush. From managing pot odds to mastering contouring techniques, Annette’s shuffle now includes makeup brushes, and her bets involve lipstick shades. A gamble? Maybe, but it seems to be paying off in spades.

So before we dive into the fascinating journey of Liv Boeree from reality TV to poker glory, let's take a moment. Can we make up any more puns about Annette's surprising career shift? Probably, but let's fold here and move on.

'Liv Boeree: From Reality Show to Poker Stardom'

Liv Boeree: From Reality Show to Poker Stardom

Following Annette Obrestad's tale of precocious brilliance, let's shift gears to another intriguing character in the poker world. Have you ever wondered if reality TV could actually be a launchpad for a serious career? Well, Liv Boeree is living proof. From a reality show contestant to a titan in the poker scene, her story is... let's just say, atypical.

So, what's the deal with Liv Boeree? She burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, not through grinding at cash games or small tournaments, but as a contestant on a UK reality show called Showdown. Who would've thought that a game show coach would spark the flame for a poker inferno? But it happened! Under the tutelage of poker pros on national television, Liv was not merely playing for cameras and lights; she was steadily crafting her art.

Fast-forward a few years, and the girl from the telly is now a force to be reckoned with. Boeree went from memorizing hands to dominating them. At the European Poker Tour in 2010, she didn't just participate, she owned it, winning the Main Event in San Remo. That's one way to make a splash, huh?

Apart from her undeniable success on the felt, Liv’s taken her skills beyond the shuffle and deal. She’s woven her path into content creation, using her platform to dissect poker strategy and decision-making. Her YouTube videos? Insightful. Her public speaking engagements? Mesmerizing. I mean, who combines quantum physics and poker metaphors? Only Liv.

But let’s be real for a second, we all know poker players have their quirks, their lucky charms, and superstitions. Boeree, on the other hand, attributes her success to science, logic, and a bit of heavy metal – a skeptically effective concoction? Perhaps.

Her top accomplishments? Let's lay 'em out:

  • Winning the EPT San Remo for a cool €1.25 million.
  • Co-founding Raising for Effective Giving, because who said poker players can't be philanthropists?
  • Speaking at TEDxManchester; it's not every day a poker player gets on that stage.

As we shuffle up and deal with Liv’s story, are you ready to call, raise or fold on this narrative? Stay tuned for the next segment on Vanessa Rousso, where the multifaceted nature of poker players continues. If Boeree's journey has taught us anything, it's that sometimes, the river card of life can turn a reality show seat into a poker empire throne. Who's bluffing now?

'Vanessa Rousso: A Multifaceted Poker Career'

Vanessa Rousso: A Multifaceted Poker Career

Just as we saw Liv Boeree's journey from the reality show limelight to poker stardom, Vanessa Rousso's story also takes twists that would make a royal flush blush. You thought transitioning from a game show to poker was a leap? Hold onto your chips, because Rousso's career is a high-stakes hopscotch across entertainment niches.

Now, what has she done, you ask? For starters, Rousso has locked down some serious poker hardware. Lady Maverick, as she's known, has raked in over $3.5 million in live tournament earnings. And that's not even her full-time gig anymore. Talk about playing the field, right?

But wait, this deck gets shuffled with more than just cards. Vanessa also hit the turntables with beats as heady as her bluffing game. DJing and music production became more than a hobby—they were her encore performance. The poker table, the DJ booth—where does the talent end?

Don't answer yet, because there’s more. Rousso ventured into reality TV, starring in CBS's "Big Brother 17". The crossover episode you didn't know you needed, am I right?

Here’s the quick rundown of her poker resumé—brace for achievements:

  • A bracelet that's still eluding her — the WSOP gold.
  • Three WPT Final Tables.
  • A sweet victory at the 2009 EPT High Roller Championship.
  • Ranked as one of the top female players in the game.

But the real kicker? Her split from poker to master the decks and dive into reality TV. Do you think she bluffs with her beats and reality TV plotlines? I wouldn't put it past her. The strategic mind games, the intense focus — sounds like a DJ set during a power outage, doesn't it?

As we consider Vanessa Rousso's multifaceted career, keep this in mind: It's not your typical "fold or hold" life story. It’s a shuffling deck of experiences, each card as interesting as the last. But you’ve got to wonder, between a flush and a beat drop, which gives her the bigger rush?

Transitioning to our next poker maverick, prepare to meet Joanne ‘JJ’ Liu. From the tech trenches of Silicon Valley to poker success, her story raises the stakes yet again. Can she out-flop the diverse escapades of Rousso? Stay tuned.

'Joanne ‘JJ’ Liu: Silicon Valley to Poker Success'

Joanne ‘JJ’ Liu: Silicon Valley to Poker Success

I mean, sure, software engineering is cool and all, but can it really compare to the rush of a high-stakes poker hand? Joanne ‘JJ’ Liu didn't think so. And who can blame her? Swapping out algorithms for bluffs and bad beats seems like a no-brainer to me.

Think about it: trading a comfy chair in Silicon Valley for a seat at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). That's like swapping a Tesla for a fighter jet—terrifying, but oh-so-thrilling. Liu made that shift look like a walk in the park. A high-tech park, but still.

Liu's transition wasn’t just a leap of faith; it was a calculated play. Career change, anyone? Her analytical skills from debugging software to reading poker faces proved to be more related than you'd think. And what's not to love about that?

Let's talk victories because JJ's got quite a few under her belt:

  • She's crushed it at the World Poker Tour (WPT), scooping up titles left and right.
  • Liu has also scored big at the European Poker Tour (EPT) and other major events, just to pepper her poker resume with international flair.

But hold on, her crowning achievement might just be that runner-up finish in a WSOP event. So close to that bracelet, yet so far. Can you imagine the dramatic tension? It's like biting into an apparently delicious chocolate chip cookie, only to realize it's oatmeal raisin.

Following in the wake of Vanessa Rousso's multifaceted poker career, Liu’s journey gives hope to us all—telling us that yes, we too could ditch our day jobs and chase that river card to glory. Metaphorically speaking. Or not.

But hey, don't worry. We won't all finish second in a WSOP event. It takes a certain... je ne sais quoi. A mix of fearlessness, finesse, and perhaps just a pinch of that Silicon Valley magic dust.

Up next, Victoria Coren Mitchell will show us yet another side of the poker spectrum, proving this game draws in the multi-talented crowd like moths to a flame. I wonder, does a knack for words help when you're down to the wire holding a pair of eights? Spoiler alert: it probably does. But let's shuffle up and deal with that in the next section, shall we?

'Victoria Coren Mitchell: A Multi-Talented Poker Player'

Victoria Coren Mitchell: A Multi-Talented Poker Player

So, you’ve heard about Joanne ‘JJ’ Liu and her leap from Silicon Valley to poker fame. Impressive, right? But if you're still not raising your eyebrows, allow me to nudge your poker face into a look of awe. Enter Victoria Coren Mitchell. She isn’t just a one-trick pony at the poker table; she literally rewrote the record books.

How, you ask? Well, she was the first woman to win a European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event. And as if she were casually collecting trophies while running errands, Coren Mitchell decided one EPT title wasn't enough. So, she went ahead and clinched a second, becoming the first player ever, regardless of gender, to win two EPT Main Event titles. Are you doubling down on disbelief yet?

Let’s not forget her other gigs. You see, Victoria isn't playing the poker face just across from the green felt. She's a writer. No, not the type that jots down a couple of poker hand odds on the back of a napkin. We’re talking columns for major publications, books, and TV scripts that coax out chuckles and knowing nods.

Oh, and broadcaster? She's got that in spades. You might catch her voice on the airwaves, dropping knowledge on various topics with the same ease she drops pocket aces. All while keeping that quintessentially British humor alive and kicking.

Let's bullet-point for drama:

  • First female EPT Main Event champ? Check.
  • First two-timer EPT Main Event winner? Double-check.
  • Writer and broadcaster? You've got it.

Not too shabby, huh? Is there anything Victoria Coren Mitchell can't do? (Whisper: I heard she can’t teleport, but don’t quote me on that).

Now, keep that stunned expression handy as we segue into something more thought-provoking: our next topic, The Influence of Top Female Poker Players. Because, who knows, maybe it’s not just about the wins but the legacy they leave at the table. And trust me, for someone like Victoria, that’s no bluff.

'The Influence of Top Female Poker Players'

The Influence of Top Female Poker Players

So, we've all heard of Victoria Coren Mitchell, right? A wizard with words and cards. But hold on, it's not just Vicky shaking up the tables.

The ladies are in the house, folks! And they're not just here for the free cocktails. Top female poker players have become undeniable forces within the felt universe. They've turned the tables, quite literally, on the old boys' club of poker. Are we witnessing a royal flush of gender stereotypes? You bet!

These players aren't just breaking the glass ceiling; they're smashing it with a royal flush. The likes of Vanessa Selbst, Kathy Liebert, and Kristen Bicknell aren’t just names you struggle to pronounce after one too many; they’re poker royalty. They've racked up bracelets, titles, and respect. Need evidence? Let's tally up their accomplishments:

  • Multiple World Series of Poker bracelets? Check.
  • Millions in winnings? Check.
  • Fearless at high-stakes tables against any gender? Double-check.

What's more, they're not hoarding all that wisdom. They're the trailblazers mentoring the next generation. Each queen of cards passing the torch, teaching bluffing skills beyond just pretending to like your mother-in-law. Is this just a stroke of luck or the start of a movement? Spoiler: It's the latter.

Poker's ladies are challenging the stereotypes that women can't bluff or handle pressure. Who would have thought that 'poker face' is not just a stoic dude thing? These women raise, call, and go all-in with the best of them. They're rewriting the narrative, showing that poker prowess isn’t tied to testosterone.

It's funny, though. Some still think women can't grasp the complex strategies of poker. As if juggling careers, families, and social lives were simple tasks that didn'