Vanessa Selbst

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa Selbst has gone on to establish herself as one of the world’s most formidable tournament players.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa Selbst has gone on to establish herself as one of the world’s most formidable tournament players. Selbst developed her competitive spirit from a young age, as she excelled both academically and on the sports field playing tennis, field hockey and rugby.

After achieving excellent results in school, Selbst attended MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for one year, before transferring to Yale. Although she began playing poker in home games in high school, Selbst has credited much of her poker education to her time at Yale, where she began to discuss the intricacies of the game, and became involved in the 2+2 forum.

While still a student, Selbst began to dedicate her summers away from study to play poker, participating in her first World Series of Poker in 2006. Her first WSOP could be considered a success, as she final-tabled the $2,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em event finishing 7th for $101,285. Selbst would continue her success at the WSOP in the following years as she finished in 3rd place in the 2007 $5,000 World Championship Heads-Up event for a $128,968 cash, before winning her first bracelet in the 2008 $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. In the heads-up section of the Pot-Limit Omaha event, Selbst’s opponent Jamie Pickering, who had been drinking alcohol throughout the tournament, was shoving all-in blind and Selbst survived the madness to pick up her first WSOP bracelet.

Selbst managed to win her 2nd WSOP bracelet in 2012 when she won the $2,500 10 Game Six Handed event for $244,259. Selbst’s biggest career win to date is her first place finish in the 2010 Main Event of the Partouche Poker Tour, as she took $1,800,000 for her win.

In January of 2013 Selbst took down the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller event for $1,424,402. Selbst had proposed to her partner the night before the event began, making the tournament an extra special win for her. Unlike many other professional players who drop out of education after realising they can make money playing poker, Selbst is unique in that she has continued on with her studies.

Selbst returned to Yale after graduation to pursue a law degree, graduating in 2012. She has since stated that she would like to pursue a career in civil rights: economic equality, racial justice and against the government’s abuse of authority.

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