The organizers of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the world’s biggest live poker tournament series, sprang to action as soon as female poker pro Vanessa Selbst posted a tweet on the invasion of the women’s bathroom by male poker players. She tweeted: “First break: constant flow of men in women’s bathroom, and they don’t even have the decency to close the stall doors.” Since Selbst has thousands of followers on Twitter, WSOP organizers stepped in to address the issue immediately.
Vanessa Selbst is widely known for the aggressive style she adopts while playing poker. The 30-year-old professional poker player began playing poker at a very young age, but honed her skills while studying political science at Yale University. Unwilling to plunge into a poker profession, she went on to study law at New Haven in Connecticut. This, however, has not stopped the talented poker player from earning over $10.5 million playing tournament poker alone.
Speaking about how it all began, Selbst said that she tried her best not to become a poker pro. She thought that she would become a lawyer, but then decided to play poker professionally after she won big money in a couple of poker tournaments. Selbst also became the first female poker player to top the Global Poker Index (GPI) list.
According to Norman Chad, who analyzes poker games for ESPN, Selbst has succeeded because of an aggressive style that puts her opponents in a tough position. Stating that no poker player likes to play against Vanessa, Chad said, “It’s as if her cards don’t matter; she forces her opponent to make tough decisions for big chunks of their chips. And you never know what she has.”
Selbst was inspired to learn how to play poker in high school after she watched “Rounders.” While studying in Yale, she played home poker and online poker games while discussing poker strategy at various poker forums.
In May, she won her recent WSOP gold bracelet when she became the champion of the $25k buy-in NL Hold’em tournament and collected a first-place prize of $871,148.
Selbst is passionate about fighting against social injustice. In 2010, she launched a non-profit organization called Venture Justice, which funds projects to battle economic and racial inequality. She is absolutely sure that she doesn’t want to focus on poker alone as she feels that playing “a zero-sum game” one’s entire life is a waste of “potential, intelligence, and enthusiasm.”