WSOP Bracelet Winner Profile: Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst with her Poker Face on at the Final Table on Sunday

The gold bracelet victory of Vanessa Selbst in the $2,500 Six-Max Ten-Game Mixed event on Sunday night made for one of the most noteworthy gold bracelets of the 2012 World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas. Selbst won the first gold bracelet by a female in an open buy-in event since she won a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event in 2008. She also climbed the standings in the WSOP Player of the Year Race (fifth place) and BLUFF Player of the Year Race (sixth place) with the historic victory.

“I’m happy to be able to represent women a little bit. I think a lot of women see me as someone to look up to in terms of what I have accomplished. This year has been such an incredible year for women, in terms of seeing how much better women in poker are getting. We just keep getting better and I’m really proud to be one of many representatives of that group. So no it doesn’t get tiring,” said Selbst when she was asked if she gets tired of being thought of as a great female poker player as opposed to just a great poker player.

Selbst was also happy to have something to show for the efforts she has recently put into improving her play in mixed games: “Everyone can always improve and I definitely have a lot of improvement to make. I’ve spent the last three years splitting my time between law school and poker. In the past little while I have actually been working on my other games, like mixed games and things like that because I felt like that was something that was lacking in my repertoire. I’m really happy with this accomplishment to show what I have achieved in terms of making those strides. But also my No Limit game, my PLO game, all of it can always improve, and I’m just looking forward to putting in more hours and getting even better.”

It is no secret that Selbst champions putting her legal education to good use in support of justice and charitable causes in the future. She offered these thoughts after the final table about how her success affords her time to pursue these endeavors: “I think it makes it easier for me. I’m fortunate in that I’ve done well enough in my career that I can take time off when I want to, I don’t feel like I’m pressured to play every single tournament that comes up because maybe I’m in a tight money situation or something. That’s really fortunate that I have that time. I have a lot of goals of things to do with my money involving different charity work, so every time I win a tournament, I just think that is more money that I can put into that eventually, and that makes me really happy.”

 Name: Vanessa Selbst

Age: 27

Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada

Occupation: Professional Poker Player

Lifetime live tournament winnings: $5,406,403

Notable poker achievements: In addition to her gold bracelets, Selbst has won the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event in 2010 and the North American Poker Tour Main Event at Mohegan Sun in both 2010 and 2011.

Memorable Quotes: On the group of rail birds that sweated her at the final table “I feel so lucky to have the friends that I do, and we travel around the circuit together. We spend a lot of time together talking poker and having fun. It is a very individualistic sport, so it’s really important to have those relationships with people that you know are genuinely happy for you when you do well, and I just feel incredibly lucky to have the friends that I do.

On becoming just the sixth woman in history to win multiple gold bracelets at the WSOP, joining Barbara Enright, Nani Dollison, Jennifer Harman, Starla Brodie, and Susie Isaacs I feel really honored to be a part of that group of women that have won multiple bracelets, and obviously those are some of the best women that have ever played the game and I’m just really happy to be a part of that group.

On her domination at the final table In the beginning I was getting pretty fortunate to win a bunch of big pots and scoop a couple of big ones in Stud Hi-Lo. Once I got the big stack and the other stacks were shorter, in the blind games I could open up a little bit more, like No Limit, Limit, PLO and stuff like that, because they had to worry about the pay jumps and things like that. Honestly in the beginning it was just sort of playing my cards and after that … honestly I ran so good that, once I had the chips it was kind of easy.

On how many bracelets she might win in her career and her goals for the WSOP I haven’t really thought about how many bracelets. I was working on my second one, I feel like that was getting over a hump. I won my first one back in 2008, which was kind of a long time ago at this point. So now that I have my second we can start to plan future bracelets … My goal for the Series was to make two final tables and win at least one bracelet. Now I have accomplished those goals so I think it has been a successful summer.

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