Vanessa Selbst Makes The Advocate’s “40 Under 40” List



During the poker boom in the middle of last decade (was it really that long ago already?), a few poker players become minor crossover celebrities. Poker was hip, so the people who were seen winning on television found a modicum of notoriety in the non-poker world. To be truly recognized in other circles for more than just one’s poker playing ability, however, is rare. Such is the case right now for Vanessa Selbst, who was named this month as one of The Advocate magazine’s “40 Under 40.”

The Advocate is a 46-year old magazine focused on the interests of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community. It is the oldest and largest LGBT publication in the United States.

The article, which can also be found on The Advocate’s website, includes a sort of “colorized” photo of the 28-year old Selbst along with the following short blurb:

When Vanessa Selbst took home her biggest winnings at a French poker tournament, she and her friends paraded around the Cannes airport with the giant cardboard check for $1.8 million. Her sense of humor and emphasis on smart card playing have helped Selbst weather the pressure of professional poker to become the game’s top-earning woman, netting over $7 million so far.

Selbst is proud to be the first out LGBT poker player, but she says gender and sexuality matter little at the table. The Yale Law School grad began working with clinics devoted to LGBT rights, which she plans to soon take up full-time. @vanessaselbst

The “French poker tournament” referenced was the 2010 Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, which Selbst won for €1,300,000 ($1,823,430). 2010 could probably be considered her breakout year, as she also won the now defunct North American Poker Tour (NAPT) Mohegan Sun Main Event in April, good for $750,000. Prior to that, despite having won a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2008, she may have been best known to those not in online poker circles (where she had already established herself as one of the toughest players around) for her ill-timed bluff at the final table of the 2006 WSOP $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event.

Selbst continued rolling right along after the Partouche victory, placing fourth in the European Poker Tour (EPT) London High Roller event (£145,000/$226,910) and then winning another NAPT Main Event, again at Mohegan Sun, for $450,000 in 2011. At the end of that year, she finished third in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, good for $338,351.

In 2012, Selbst won a side event at the L.A. Poker Classic and placed second in another and then cashed six times at the WSOP, including once at WSOP Europe, and two final tables, one of which was her second bracelet.

This year, she has just one cash on her live tournament resume, but it’s a doozy: a $1,424,420 prize for winning the $25,000 High Roller event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Vanessa Selbst ranks 41st on the all-time live tournament money list (32nd if you don’t count invitationals and tournaments with buy-ins of $50,000 or more) with just over $7 million in career earnings. That also makes her the number one female money earner of all-time, more than $1 million ahead of Kathy Liebert.

Congratulations to Vanessa Selbst on this well-deserved accolade.

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