Recreational poker used to be an overwhelmingly male-dominated pastime, though in recent years, an increasing number of women have taken to the game.
While the world of professional poker is still heavily dominated by men, some female players have started to make a name for themselves and have been putting up strong performances at major tournaments such as the World Series of Poker.
Recent research by an industry leader in the online poker space suggests that more women than ever are playing poker. As more female players try out the game and make appearances in professional tournaments, the more likely it is that the unequal ratio of male-to-female players will be consigned to history.
Based on how popular online casinos are becoming for both men and women, the female poker legends of tomorrow could just be getting started on the online casino games listed here. And with many professional poker players getting their start playing at online casinos, these new online casino games make for a great entry point!
With this in mind, here is a quick rundown of some of the women who have acted as pioneers when it comes to female representation in professional poker.
Vanessa Selbst is the only woman to have reached the top spot on the Global Poker Index. She has three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, eight final tables, 20 money finishes, and two World Poker Tour (WPT) final table finishes to her name. This is in addition to a 73rd-place WSOP main event money finish in 2012.
Selbst’s career earnings are reportedly $11.85 million, so she’ll probably never have to fall back on her law degree from Yale University.
Kathy Liebert is a familiar face on the professional poker circuit with an impressive resume. In her playing career so far, she has racked up six WPT final tables, including a third-place finish at the 2005 Borgota Poker Open.
Liebert’s best WSOP finish came in 2000 when she placed 17th. She has also earned a WSOP bracelet, in addition to a total of 47 WSOP money finishes. This has helped Liebert to accrue a reported career earnings total of just shy of $7 million.
Although Liebert no longer plays as regularly as she once did, she still takes part in local and national tournaments from her home base in Las Vegas.
Known as the Duchess of Poker, Annie Duke has had an illustrious playing career and was a familiar sight on the professional circuit for many years. Her older brother, Howard Lederer, is also a professional poker player.
After gaining some experience playing at a local bar in Montana, and with encouragement from her brother, Duke entered tournaments at the 1994 WSOP where she performed well, finishing 26th out of 268 entrants in the main event.
Following this early success, she moved out to Las Vegas to continue developing her professional career. Duke’s trajectory was very much upwards from there.
In addition to scoring a 2004 WSOP bracelet, Duke secured victories in the WSOP Tournament of Champions and the 2010 National Heads Up Poker Championship. In all, over the course of her career Duke achieved 38 WSOP and four WPT money finishes.
Duke was the leading female poker player for quite some time until Vanessa Selbst knocked her off the top spot. In total, Duke amassed reported career earnings of over $9 million. She claims to have now retired from competitive poker.
Duke has also enjoyed a successful career as a writer and has published a number of instructional books on poker strategy.
No list of the top female poker players would be complete without including Olivia “Liv” Boeree from England.
Boeree has an admirable resume, which includes being the only female to win major events on both the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour. This is in addition to holding a WSOP bracelet, which she won during the 2017 10K Tag Team event with Igor Kurganov.
Boeree is perfectly suited to the complex maths often at play in any poker game, having previously studied astrophysics.
She has also experienced considerable success off the poker table. In addition to a successful playing career, Boree has provided commentary on televised poker events, and has hosted TV shows for the Discovery Channel and Channel 4, amongst others.
In 2014, Boeree started an organization which focuses on effective altruism, where evidence and reason are used to identify charities where you get “the most bang for your donation”, as it were. Several professional poker players have signed up and committed to donating a percentage of their winnings to worthwhile causes.
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