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Vanessa Selbst


Vanessa Selbst is a professional poker player and the highest earning female poker player of all time, with over $9.5 million in total winnings. She is a member of Team Pokerstars Pro, where she plays under the username “V. Selbst.” A native of Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa has been playing poker for over 10 years, starting out in online and live NLHE and PLO cash games. In 2007, Vanessa hopped onto the live tournament scene and never looked back (apart from that two year hiatus she took to go to law school)!

Selbst has two WSOP bracelets–the first in 2008 in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event and the second in 2012 in a $2500 Mixed Game event. Selbst had the best year of her career in 2010, when she won the North American Poker Tour stop at Mohegan Sun for $750,000, finished 4th at the EPT London High Roller Event for over $200,000, and won the Partouche Poker Tour main event in Cannes for over $1.8M. She earned almost $3M in 2010, earning her 6th place on the 2010 money list, several high rankings in player of the year races, and the honor of being named the Wicked Chops player of the year. She once again made waves in 2011, finishing in the quarterfinals of the NBC Heads Up Championship for $75,000, third at the WPT Five Diamond for $338k, and pulling off an incredible back-to-back victory at the NAPT Mohegan Sun.  Her earnings in 2011 totaled just over $1M, meaning she finished two consecutive years with 7 figures in earnings.  In 2012, Selbst captured three titles, including her second WSOP bracelet. She joins an elite group of women to have won multiple bracelets in an open event. In January 2013, Selbst won the PCA High Roller Event, winning just over $1.4M and taking over the top spot on the Women’s All Time Earnings List. Selbst’s live tournament earnings now total over $8M.

In addition to being a successful poker player, Vanessa is also an executive producer and private poker coach at DeucesCracked. She has made dozens of instructional videos in various disciplines of poker. She has also coached over 70 students, and currently focuses on live tournament coaching.

In her time away from poker, Selbst managed to complete a law degree at Yale Law School.  She graduated in January 2012 and plans to use her law degree some time in the future to fight for racial justice and economic equality, and against police misconduct and government abuse of authority. Selbst hopes to earn enough money to eventually fund a foundation dedicated to the creation of national civil rights projects.

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As a live tourney pro, my poker life and my non-poker life are pretty distinct from one another. Either I’m on the road at a tournament series or I’m at home in my other life. If the whole thing were a venn diagram, there would only be the tiniest little overlapping part between these two giant circles. When I’m playing poker, I’m 100% playing poker, and when I’m at home, I try to stay busy and enjoy my not-on-the-road life by devoting time to a number of different pursuits. In order to provide a glimpse of what that looks like, I’ve constructed an overview of my activities on an average(ish) day at home.

Read more here.

Coaching Tip of The Month

Question (submitted by Rob): I play quite a lot of hold em playing once a week live in tournaments in a league over 13 weeks that rolls all through the year and then most nights online in sit n go's. I am reaching more and more final tables however seem to finish more often than not around 6th place. I was wondering if you have any advice on final tables as I seem to either get blinded out or have a strong hand and be beaten by a monster hand which I know is going to happen a fair bit but cant find a happy medium. So I guess my main question is what is the best way to stop bleeding chips rapidly on the final table and then be forced all in on an average hand. Answer: I think the key is to play more aggressively before you get to the point where you are short stacked at the final table.  If you find yourself with a big stack on the bubble, make sure to play very aggressively (3-betting preflop, firing multiple barrels) to put the short stacks in uncomfortable spots in order to chip up.  Take advantage of resteal situations (i.e. a very aggressive player raises and someone else calls, you have 17-20BB, you can shove a very wide range here) at the final table.  Don't be afraid of busting on an aggressive play.  As long as it makes sense and you can justify your reasoning, it usually is never really a bad thing. When you get under 20BB, don't open raise in early position with anything speculative (even KJ should be folded) because you can't stand any pressure, and it's an easy way to bleed chips.  A 15-20BB stack is best used as a weapon for successful resteals that can net you a lot of chips, and open-raising with speculative hands that you later will have to fold very often is a surefire way to bleed your chips down into the danger zone.